My name is Catherine Sanderson.
I dreamed about living in Paris from the moment my very first French lesson began at the age of eleven.
I’m pushing forty now, and Paris has been my home since 1995.
I set up this blog in July 2004. A year later, I left my partner, Mr Frog, the father of my daughter Tadpole, for a man I met in my comments box, documenting everything here.
In 2006 I got dumped, dooced and outed, but also landed a book deal.
In 2007 I won my case for unfair dismissal at a French employment tribunal against my ex-employer.
My first book, a memoir based on events covered in the blog, was published in several languages in 2008.
My second book, a novel – ‘French Kissing’ – was published in the UK in August 2009.
petite anglaise came into existence on a whim one day, after reading the guardian’s guide to weblogs and becoming engrossed in the adventures of Belle de Jour. A matter of minutes later, I created a site of my own using blogger. I came across the union jack eye image I used as my avatar quite by accident, but it summed up my perspective nicely: a Brit’s-eye view of life in Paris.
anglaise means, quite simply, English female, and petite means little. French people tend to refer to all English females, regardless of age or size, as petites anglaises so it seemed like the obvious choice for my nom de souris.
petite anglaise started out mainly as light hearted commentaries on aspects of life in France with some anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of raising a bilingual toddler thrown in. It evolved over time, becoming more personal, touching on adoption, the breakdown of my relationship with Tadpole’s father after “meeting” a man in my comments box, and our subsequent separation.
In April 2006, I got the sack from my secretarial job when my employer was alerted to the existence of this site and objected to the scant references I’d made to my workplace. I went offline for a month and had a bit of a meltdown, but I also consulted with lawyers and resolved to take my ex-employer to a tribunal for unfair dismissal. I also decided to give a single interview about what had happened to a fellow Paris blogger, Colin Randall, who also happened to be the Paris Bureau Chief for the Daily Telegraph (it’s amazing the contacts you end up making through a lowly blog…)
My life became surreal for a couple of months after that. My story went global, including a stint on the front page of CNN.com which caused my blog to crash for a while, and I found myself being interviewed for television and radio. I had to say goodbye (albeit reluctantly) to my anonymity at this point, although I still do everything I can to protect the identity of my daughter and her father.
Once the dust settled, several publishers manifested interest in my blog and my story, a bidding war ensued, and I was able to concentrate on writing full-time, after signing a two book deal with Penguin in the UK. Writing being a notoriously precarious profession, I don’t know what will happen after that. But whatever happens, I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given as a direct result of writing this blog.
I decided to stop updating this blog shortly after the birth of my second child, in November 2009.
You can email me here.
Photo © Laurent Attias