We hope you’ve enjoyed our series of blog posts about popular communities that serve Expats in Paris and the world in their own unique way.
Here, at Expats Paris, we love helping out expatriates in any way we can, and it is in this vein that we provide another article about a resource for intrepid travelers that has been around since the 1980s.
And yes, folks, this is before the internet. Grab the pearls and smelling salts!
At a time when print was still “king of the world,” John Vanden Bos decided to fill a niche.
In the 1980s, he was teaching English in Paris as a way to earn a living, and noted the need for proper advertising amongst fellow teachers and students.
So in 1988, he began to publish a black and white newsletter with classifieds and advertisements every two weeks, catering mostly to the English-speaking community in Paris.
A few years, later, however, the World Wide Web came into being, which meant that Vanden Bos now had another outlet for his newsletter.
The Internet was growing rapidly, and many companies were jumping on the bandwagon. It was the next stage in development, and John Vanden Bos took advantage of it.
In 1998, bowing to the sign of the times, FUSAC (France-USA Contacts) launched its very own website. After that, the newsletter grew and grew, with its biggest issue being published in 2000. It was 80 pages long. Issue number 500 was published in January 2012. You can still view back issues on the site and see history in the making.
The magazine is all web-based today and, while catering to its English-speaking niche, has both English and French content.
According to the site, “in 25 years FUSAC produced and distributed 523 issues for over 20 million copies. 40,000 readers come to our website each month and many more receive the newsletter called FUSAC Selections.”
It has become known for its quality ads for housing, childcare and employment, as well as articles on a variety of topics. Popular local events in Paris area advertised, and there’s even a category called “Becoming French.”
Basically, FUSAC found a way to still be viable in an age where the internet and electronic media reign supreme. Books, magazines and news media that were once only available in print are now online and accessible by pretty much everyone.
With such high level competition, printed media, along with the advertising that helped pay for their production, had to find a way to survive amidst all the constant technological change.
Also, it helped reduce cost to use these alternatives, and more and more people are using their phones and tablets to access news and entertainment, rather than going to the newsstand to buy the print version of same—though you can still do that, too; or even go to a kiosk that will print the article or magazine you want with the press of a button and charge to your credit card.
FUSAC did what it had to do to remain competitive.
One has to wonder, then, if the “print” model is dying. Perhaps one could say it is evolving to match technology as it changes, practically day to day, because it seems that eventually, there’ll be an iPhone 500, and then what would we do?
Today’s audience wants fast, instant access to everything. It isn’t about the hardcopy of your favorite magazine anymore. That’s clunky and soooo twenty years ago, say the millennials.
Today, it’s about pressing a button on your phone and having whatever you want, at that exact second.
FUSAC has its virtual finger on the pulse of all things French, but how does it compare to other expatriate resources for Paris that area available online?
Angloinfo has a worldwide presence and caters to English-speakers, hence the name. The community has a multitude of resources for Paris and Ile-de-France, and you can register to become a member, sign up for newsletters and search the website for everything French. You can even open a franchise, if you’d like, or contribute a blog post.
InterNations is a global expat network, with both free and premium memberships available. There is a plethora of information about Paris, with city guides and events to help you feel at home. The forum and classifieds help users find what they need and get answers to questions about living in Paris.
They also have a neat feature where “Ambassadors” and “Consuls” work directly with members, especially those new to the area, and make them feel welcome.
Expats-Paris is almost four years old and has jumped right into serving the expatriate community, providing guides and helpful literature for newcomers and veterans of Paris.
Our blog has up-to-date, informative articles, and they have strong ties with local residents and businesses. Members have access to the forums and classifieds, as well as e-Guides that come in handy for exploring the city. Events are many and varied and satisfy many tastes.
Expatriates Magazine exists to serve the international community.
All articles give insights into French culture and way of life. The topics are varied, and both print and e-versions are available. Expats living in France are interviewed to share their experience moving to and becoming acclimated to Paris. There are articles under a variety of categories, including workplace, family and health, and education.
Le petit journal is a free French-language site that focuses on news, both local and global, produced daily. They have around 125,000 subscribers, which shows the high level of interest in the content.
The website also features events and classified ads.
Expatriate issues dominate the content of the news presented, especially that which would pertain to anything French.
FUSAC is similar to the expat communities and magazines mentioned above, though its main focus is France, and Paris in particular, like Expatriates Magazine. Also, the information presented is often bilingual, whereas other communities choose mainly English, or French, as in Le petit journal.
Under “Practical Paris,” you can find information about things unique to Paris, including English-speaking tools, useful telephone numbers and FUSAC’s free Annual Guide for English-speaking resources. The guide covers employment, housing, childcare, meeting places, learning, health, services and practical information. The “Speak Easy Puzzles” are a fun way to learn French and add to your vocabulary. There are a variety of categories to keep things interesting.
There is also a boutique where browsers can buy merchandise, from baseball caps to Speak Easy puzzle books and other literature pertaining to Paris.
All in all, FUSAC is a force to reckon with in its own right, and is one of, if not the oldest resource for all things French, for expatriates living in Paris. It’s amazing how far it’s come, from a struggling English as a second language teacher wanting a better way for people to find information and advertise, to an online presence in two languages that can’t be beat.
Its longevity and loyal subscribers speak for its staying power, and it will continue to grow and evolve, just like all the other communities.
Can’t wait to see what’s next!
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this article. Have you used FUSAC? What are your thoughts on the site? Please leave a comment below.
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