I was recently featured in the March issue of Living France magazine!! Last month Alsace was featured, and I was interviewed about my local perspective on living in Strasbourg France. Living France Magazine is a U.K. magazine for anyone who dreams of living in France, including everything one needs to know about buying property, moving to France and either starting a successful business or enjoying a peaceful retirement!

I was approached by the editor after she found my blog on Google – yet another reason why blogging (and not Instagram) is so important in 2020! It was so surreal to receive it in the mail, to hold the printed copy in my hands, and to actually see my self-portraits and landscape photography in an actual magazine.

No lie: I actually asked the Universe for a magazine interview feature about 6 months prior! If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you know I’m all about manifesting my physical reality with my thoughts. I’ve been a big fan of studying manifestation since I was 15 (thanks, mom!) and I’ve shared more about the process here. ūüôā So cool!

As an American expat living in Strasbourg France for the last two years, I’ve shared my journey here on the blog (the hard experiences, the loneliness experienced as an expat wife, the practical lessons learned, and of course, all the joys of living in Strasbourg) and I’m excited to continue documenting our experience as we continue to live in France in the years to come. If you’re curious, you can read more of my expat life blog posts here!

Without further ado, here is my Strasbourg interview in Living France magazine 


What were you doing before you moved to France?

Before France, I was photographing families and newborns in New York City and Washington D.C. I was also dreaming and imagining of a move to Europe with my husband, but I never thought it would become a reality! It just goes to show how magical the Universe is at listening to our thoughts!

What attracted you to Alsace?

We had initially never heard of Strasbourg before moving to Alsace. My husband got a job offer teaching English at the University of Strasbourg, and as a freelance photographer and blogger, I am able to move to new places when my wanderlustin’ heart calls for it. Once we researched the beautiful city of Strasbourg and the surrounding area like the Vosges mountains, enchanting Colmar and the charming Christmas towns like Ribeauville, Riquewehr and Kaysersberg, we were instantly hooked and ready to commit to a life in France!

Did you know the area well already?

No, we had never heard of Alsace and Strasbourg, so it was all very new and exciting to us. 

Did you find it easy to find somewhere to live?

Surprisingly, yes! It was a fairly simple process. We searched for apartments a month prior to our move-in date on the website Leboncoin. Once we arrived in France, he needed to get a phone and a temporary French phone number so we could schedule appointments to visit apartments that he found listed. One thing we discovered is that the French prefer to respond by phone as opposed to email, so most of our emails went unanswered for months. He booked an Airbnb for us in Strasbourg, and we ended up taking one of the first apartments he saw Рwhich turned out to be perfect for us! It was affordable, fully-furnished and located near a leafy green park. After the apartment was secured, everything else was much easier and fell into place. 

How long have you lived in Strasbourg France now?

We moved to Strasbourg in September of 2018, so we’ve been here for a year and four months.¬†

What do you most enjoy about living in Strasbourg France?

I’ve traveled all across Europe, but Strasbourg is definitely the most visually stunning European city I’ve ever been to. It’s very pleasant and peaceful living in Strasbourg. It’s not a busy hustle-bustle city like Paris is, but it’s also not an incredibly slow city either. There is also much care and importance placed on community and city-held events in Strasbourg. The city truly caters to its residents and encourages people to come together to celebrate the seasons of the year with its many festivals like dancing in the streets in the summer months and Valentine’s Day “Strasbourg Monamour” in February. Plus, I just adore public transportation in Strasbourg. Biking is very popular here and the bike lanes make it a safe and effortless journey, while the tram glides quietly along the manicured grassy streets and is a clean, enjoyable commute.¬†

How long have you been a photographer?

4 years! I grew up in a family of photographers, surprisingly enough, but it was always just a side hobby for me. Prior to photography, I grew up a child actor and worked in the theatre in New York City. But I fatefully picked up a camera in the spring of 2016, and I’ve never looked back! It feels like destiny. It’s been an absolute dream documenting the joyful life milestones and real, emotive connections between families. It’s my dream job, and I’m so grateful to be able to connect with others and gift beautiful art to families and their children as my career.

What have been among your favourite shoots in France?

I am most drawn to photographing mothers, families and their children in soft, dreamy, magical natural light. As an expert in family and newborn photography, I’ve never photographed couples and engagement sessions before. But since moving to France I’ve been lucky to photograph so many engagement sessions in Strasbourg, Colmar and the surrounding vineyards. I have also been quite busy photographing surprise proposals at the Strasbourg Christmas market! My favorite sessions are when I emotionally tear up behind my camera lens, along with my clients, during surprise proposals or during those quiet moments when my subjects aren’t noticing me but simply being with one another. One of my all-time favorite sessions was a family session I photographed in Strasbourg’s Petite France. The fading golden sun rays were too magical for words and the lovingly, honest candid shots I photographed of the two siblings were so joyful and inspiring to photograph. The stunning natural backdrops in France have made for some of my most treasured portrait work.¬†

Where are your favourite locations in Strasbourg France for photos?

My favorite place to photograph portraits is Strasbourg’s Petite France. The historic half-timbered houses, cobblestoned streets and the canals are stunning backdrops for my subjects. I also love photographing family and maternity sessions in the natural fields and forests by Canal de la Bruche in Eckbolsheim.

Do you have a favourite market or shop in Strasbourg?

Strolling down marche de la Marne is a delightful Saturday outing. The market stretches down for blocks and the experience of navigating through the crowds of people with their assortments of flowers and fresh produce is a treat! 

Can you recommend a good restaurant?

For the best authentic Italian food (and a chance to speak Italian with the waiters!), Trattoria da Giovanni. For the best Flammkuchen (tarte Flambé) , Z brasserie is a great choice and for a historically French fine-dining experience, Floderer brasserie. Strasbourg is a haven for foodies.

Is there any aspect of living in Alsace that surprised you?

Also, after meeting and speaking with several Alsatians, I learned that Strasbourg is actually neither French nor German but Alsatian. I also discovered the nuanced origins of the inhabitants here, like how the people that lived here became French, and then German – due to the border moving throughout history – and then back to French again. Alsace is also right on the German border, so from Strasbourg, I can take the local public tram to the last stop which happens to be in Kehl Germany, and I don’t even need a passport!¬†

What advice would you give to expats thinking of moving to France?

If you use Facebook, join a few Facebook groups to begin networking, learning about the area and getting a taste for the neighborhoods. Some of my favorite groups are Expats Living in Paris, English Speaking People in Strasbourg, and Girl Gone International in Strasbourg.

I’ve learned so much about different cities, customs, and expectations in France by reading Facebook posts from local expats that have moved here. One might also consider investing in joining a membership community like I did with “Americans in Alsace.”¬†

I’ve even made several friendships with fellow photographers and entrepreneurs in the area by simply reaching out on social media and asking if they’d like to grab coffee!¬†

Lastly, try to learn a bit of French before moving to France. Understandably, most people in Alsace don’t speak English, so I experienced a bit of culture shock and loneliness during my first months living in France. I write a lot about my personal experience as an expat wife and entrepreneur, as well as moving tips and local guides on my blog if anyone would like to read more about my journey adapting to French life as an expat!

read the article here

Living in Strasbourg France

To read more about my journey and personal experience living in Strasbourg France as an expat, click here to read all the blog posts!

Subscribe to the Simple Joys Youtube Channel here!

If you’re interested in seeing what living in Strasbourg France is like in video format, be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel!¬† I share day-in-my-life vlogs and my favorite things to do while living (and visiting) Strasbourg France! New videos every Thursday!

Also, feel free to reach out and connect with me on Instagram here! 

Local’s Perspective on Living in Strasbourg, France – Magazine Interview

April 12, 2020


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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through my lens and my pen. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I'm inspired to share the light around me. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.