We met Sébastien Iwanski at Jean-Jacques, a chain of French cafés in Russia. Appropriate choice to meet a French guy, right ? We ordered drinks and the conversation began… Sébastien has been living in Moscow for 7 years, with his Russian wife he met in France. When he first arrived in Moscow, he quickly found a job. And that's, for him, a big difference between his native country and his new one. "There are jobs in Russia, a lot more than in France. Russia's where the money is. They're actually helping people wanting to create business."
After his first job, he worked for the "Courrier de Russie", a French newspaper in Russia, then for the Chamber of Commerce, and finally he decided to launch his own business.
Back in 2013, with pal François, they organized big parties in the city center, with mainly French people. The popularity of these parties grew so fast that they quickly realized that they needed to find a place to host them and a space to share with the french community. François's flat became too small and the morning-after cleaning, tiring. They decided to create a Facebook group and a website called "Alexandre, francophone de Russie
", an alias with a universal name. "So, when we write an article on Alexandre, it's on his behalf. Especially when there's criticism, our names are kind of protected. "
At their finest, Sébastien and François threw parties with more than 200 people, "French men and Russian women, mostly"
. Now, the Facebook group has more than 3300 members. It's used as a space to share events within the community, tips to facilitate your everyday life as an expat, places to eat, to visit.
Something is clearly coming out off Sébastien: his love for the nightlife. "Moscow is the best place to party and I've been partying a lot… If the weather were more clement, I'm sure that more people would come here. It's cheap and safe."
Alexandre was also created for that, so his founders could share the good spots to spend an evening out. "People tend to think that the city is dangerous, but I've never seen any fight occur in a bar. Women are not afraid to wear light clothes when they go out. I like that feeling. Of course there are some heated areas in the city, but that's more in the suburb."