If you’re anything like me, you crave new episodes of the original Escape to the Chateau series, as well as the DIY spinoff. (Maybe, like my parents, you’ve even watched from on repeat!) Don’t fret, because there are people out there who are making YouTube videos all about expat life in France who make amazing content, as well. According to the Expat Info Desk, there are 4.3 million expats currently living in France. So if you’re thinking about moving to France, you just might want to see what life is like for other English speakers.
YouTube Channels All About What Life in France is Really Like
Michael Petherick lives in his brother Billy and sister-and-law Gwendoline’s castle, the Chateau De La Basmaignee. Before moving to France, Michael was an artist living in England. He moved into the chateau to help his family restore the giant castle and transform it into a wedding business. After becoming friends with Stephanie Jarvis from The Chateau Diaries, Michael decided to make a channel of his own. He does stunning camera work around the castle grounds, and always manages to make each episode very cinematic. Since starting the channel, his popularity has grown, and he can now afford to restore the gardener’s cottage on the castle grounds.
In the previous entry, I mentioned how Michael Petherick is living in his sibling’s castle…In the summer of 2020, Billy and Gwendoline have decided to make their own channel! With loads of projects happening around the Chateau De La Basmaignee, there is always something new to see. They go over building toys for their son Ernest, taking a stroll through a French flea market, cooking, DIY projects, and more.
A married couple named Angelina and Philip moved from London to rural France in order to achieve their dream of owning a castle. The purchased The Chateau Du Bailleul with the plan to throw outdoor events for the local community. During the lockdown of 2020, they have been taking the time in isolation to do a lot of renovation projects that would be difficult to do if there was a crowd of people on the property. It’s a great look into gardening and taking care of a huge estate in France.
When he was young, Nathaniel Drew lived in Paris as a foreign exchange student. Since then, he has traveled the world. In 2020, he decided to move back to Paris again, just as the pandemic hit. So far on the list, I’ve talked a lot about people who have huge castles to live in, but he’s one of the very few English-speaking YouTubers I’ve found who talked about what it was like living in isolation while stuck inside of a small apartment in Paris. Aside from travel videos, Nathaniel does a lot of mini-documentaries on mental health, productivity, language-learning, and more. He’s inspirational to watch, and always keeps it real.
If you’re thinking about studying abroad in Paris, a great channel to watch is The Purple Palace. Shayna is an art student, so her YouTube channel features a lot of her artwork, as well as what her day-to-day life is like in France. She shows some cute aesthetic videos like going thrift shopping or having a picnic in the countryside, but she also keeps it real. Check out her video called “The Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to France”.
You may recognize Stephanie Jarvis from Chateau de Lalande on her episodes on “Escape to the Chateau DIY.” If you loved watching her bubbly personality, then you will simply adore her vlog channel, The Chateau Diaries. Stephanie shares videos of her family, friends, and the people who visit her chateau for weekend trips and various workshops. In the spring and summer of 2020, Stepahanie began ramping up how many videos she made per week. Some of the best content features the transformation of her walled garden. It was so good, in fact, that I’ve also included her channel on The Top 10 YouTube Channels for Gardening Inspiration.
Messy Nessy Chic is one of my favorite blogs of all time. I could spend hours combing through the articles it if I let myself. The owner of the brand, Vanessa Grall, also has a YouTube channel by the name name. On her YouTube channel, she gives cinema-quality tours of hidden gems around France that you may have never known before. She goes on adventures in museums, cabinets of curiosities, and even hidden underground bunkers! It’s seriously interesting stuff. Even if you are not planning on becoming an expat, it still gives you plenty of great ideas of where to visit next. She even wrote a book called Don’t Be a Tourist in Paris: The Messy Nessy Chic Guide.
Rosie is an expat from New Zealand who began a YouTube channel called Not Even French. In her videos, she goes over some essential advice on French etiquette, language, work visas, and so much more. If you are considering making the move to France, Rosie probably had a video covering your questions.
American writer Jay Swanson has a really unique journey. He moved to France thinking that he had a job waiting for him, only to find out it didn’t exist. Deciding to make the best of it, he began a life in France anyway. His YouTube channel, which is simply called Jay Swanson chronicles his daily life filming around Paris. He also tries to blend his own unique sense of humor, too.
Damon Dominique and Joanna Franco are American travel vloggers who film their adventures around the world. Both of them are fluent in multiple languages, including French. Damon recently moved to an apartment in Paris for his “forever home”, but the two of them spent years filming videos on French language and culture beforehand. They give French language lessons, tours of Paris, and so much more. They answer a lot of questions about fitting in to the French culture as an English speaker, and they give some great tips on how to become more proficient in the language. Check out their French playlist. Recently, Damon moved to France full-time, so there is a lot more content on their channel from Paris.
In the last entry, I mentioned the YouTube channel Damon and Jo. But the two of them have grown up, and went their separate ways. Damon has his own channel that’s simply his name- Damon Dominique. Since he lives full time in Paris, this vlog gives you a really good idea of what life in France is really like.
If you’re a fan of The Pethericks or Doing it Ourselves, you might recognize Ryan. He’s a friend of the Pethericks, and lives with his Aunt and Uncle at their manor house in France. They run a fishing vacation business out of their home, but times are tough during the pandemic when travelers can’t visit the property. Ryan shows you what it’s like to go antique shopping in France, and also dives into the many chores around the French manor house.
For those of you who watch The Cheateau Diaries, you’ll recognize Selmar, the dancing Dutch handyman. His channel is very small, and mainly features videos he takes on his phone of his daily adventures. What I like about Selmar’s channel is that he makes an effort to visit neighboring chateaus. So you get to see a lot of video footage of various parts of the French countryside, which gives you a very good idea of life in France.
The Bordeaux Life YouTube channel is all about a married couple Edd and Anna who live in Bordeaux, which is the heart of French wine country. They run a wedding business out of the castle called Château Lagorce, and are kept busy with their young children. Anna is a florist by trade, so she is able to use her skills to create gorgeous wedding bouquets for the guests. If you’re a fan of the TV series “Escape to the Chateau”, you’ll probably vibe with this YouTube channel.