Ok, but first Apero…
Started in 2015 as a small community for French people in Frankfurt, today Apéros Frenchies is one of the biggest afterwork events for international expats in 6 cities around the world.
Recently we had a pleasure of talking with Marie Anne, Co-Founder & CEO of Apéros Frenchies, about her inspiration, expat experience and life in Frankfurt.
Hi Marie Anne, why and when you moved to Frankfurt?
Hi! I am Marie Anne I am French and I moved to Frankfurt almost 5 years ago – wow, time is flying! I was living in New Zealand before and I had to go back to Europe because my visa expired. I didn’t want to go back to France, because I really loved living abroad. At that time my sister was already a resident of Frankfurt for few years and she encouraged me to come over. I found a job opportunity in a consulting company as communication and event manager and this is how everything started…
What was your first impression about Frankfurt?
To be honest, I was not really happy to move to Frankfurt. From the outside, there was nothing about my dream city. I lived in Paris, then moved to Auckland (NZ) and Frankfurt was probably the last city where I pictured myself! For me it was “somewhere I would stay just for few months “.
But once I arrived I have been really impressed about the mix of culture – Frankfurt is a such an international city! Moreover, the mix of traditional and modern architecture (Frankfurt’s old city, skyscrapers, Opernplatz and Hauptbahnhof) makes an interesting pattern and this is the beauty of this city.
What inspired you to launch Aperos Frenchies?
Well, long story short: as I mentioned before, I used to live in New Zealand for a year. I moved there after my studies to practice English, discover a new country but most of all find myself. I am usually such a social person and I love meeting new people. But, after the excitement of moving in the other side of the world, being independent, and leaving everything behind, I finally got home sick. After few months, I missed my friends & family and I was craving for new friendships but it was a struggle to meet people and make new friends.
I realised that making new friends and finding people with same hobbies or same values was not that easy. Of course, I have met amazing people but I needed a crew, and especially a Girl gang. So this experience in NZ, was one of the best of my life but also one of the worst. Because deep down , I never felt that lonely & insecure, and, unfortunately, it took me a while to realise it and admit it.
When I finally arrived in Frankfurt, my sister Eliz started to organise some events to “gather French people or French lovers in Frankfurt”. I immediately jumped in. It was an hobby until it became our full time job few years later.
I think I feel really concerned about it, because I know it can change lives of those coming alone in the new countries. Now, every time people tell me: “Oh , I met all my friends at your events” or “I met my boyfriend / girlfriend”, – it makes me so happy and proud of what we do.
Describe your perfect day in Frankfurt:
A mix of work out and social interactions. Waking up on Saturday morning, going for run along the Main River or in Grüneburgpark. Meeting my friends for brunch at Walden, for example, then meeting other friends at the Kleinmarkthalle until late…
What do you love / hate about Frankfurt?
I love the “international vibes” of Frankfurt, that you easily meet English speakers and people from all over the world. I love the possibility of riding a bike everywhere as it’s so much better than in a big city where you need at least half an hour to go from point A to B. And the summer festivals, the ones at the Opernplatz and Bahnhofsviertel are my favorite.
I hate when most of the time I want to pay by card because I don’t have cash and they say “SORRY KEIN KARTE ” … I think it’s a very typical thing here and that’s quite annoying for expat like me 😉
What are your favourite places in Frankfurt?
- For coffee: Kukuvaia or Mathilda’s Kitchen.
- For cocktails: Rot & Vogel, Vaivai or Chinaski.
- For wine & cheese: Die Fromagerie (sorry, I am French)
- For dinner: Bergerstreet food, or Ciro.
- For date with a view: Lili’s Roof Garden Bar (Sofitel Frankfurt Opera), rooftop ( lilly) , LungInsLand – Main Skyline Restaurant & Bar (Fleming’s Hotel), Gerbermühle and Blaues Wasser.
What are your tips / recommendations for the new expats in Frankfurt?