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FRENCH WOMEN WRITE HELPFUL GUIDE FOR BRATISLAVA'S NEWCOMERS AND OLD-TIMERS

Bratislava? Easy!

IT IS not unusual to look for a guidebook about a city you plan to visit or even move to. Most people browse bookstores or search for information online. They do not often write their own guidebook. But that is exactly what two French women living in Bratislava have done.
Easy Bratislava (also published in French as Bratislava Facile, both by Ikar Press, Sk699) is the brainchild and labour of love of Florence Nys and Christine Franz.


The face of your new friend.
photo: Courtesy of Christine Franz

IT IS not unusual to look for a guidebook about a city you plan to visit or even move to. Most people browse bookstores or search for information online. They do not often write their own guidebook. But that is exactly what two French women living in Bratislava have done.

Easy Bratislava (also published in French as Bratislava Facile, both by Ikar Press, Sk699) is the brainchild and labour of love of Florence Nys and Christine Franz. They have devoted most of the past year to developing, researching, and writing an extensive guide to Bratislava. With nearly 300 pages of useful information, maps, and Slovak vocabulary, the guide emphasises what foreigners really need to know when they move to Bratislava, including how to settle into a home (with information about leases, utilities, and residence permits), child-related issues (including schools, activities, and shopping), health care (covering not only doctors and hospitals, but private medical centres and 24-hour pharmacies), and once you have dealt with all those topics, how to have some fun here.


FRANZ and Nys exercise their brains for our benefit.
photo: Courtesy of Florence Nys

Nys describes what makes her book unique: "First, Christine and I are both personally experienced expatriates. I can say we know what questions foreigners are going to have when they come here."

Franz adds: "We went out and found for ourselves all Bratislava has to offer, what's good and what's difficult, what's fun and what disappointed us. And we tried to write about it in a friendly way. So when you read the guide, you feel like you are talking about Bratislava with a good friend."

Why would expatriates, who in this case were accompanying their spouses, want to devote themselves to such a big project, practically as volunteers?

"I found a way to exercise my brain a little," confesses Nys. "My husband goes to work every day. Why shouldn't I do something creative that I can show potential employers when I return home and venture onto the job market?"


FRANZ and Nys exercise their brains for our benefit.
photo: Courtesy of Christine Franz

Franz concurs. "Our friends and families think we are a little crazy for working so hard for so long on this project," she says with a laugh. "It was a lot of hard work, but in the end I am very happy to have done it. The guide is like our 'baby'. We are very proud of it, and hope it will be very useful."

And now that they have this extensive list of businesses and other venues, and the guide is done, Franz and Nys can take a copy of their guide and explore Bratislava. Easy!

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