NY Post

NY Post

A few months ago, if you had gone to YouTube and selected the “KJ and Tony Move To France” channel, you would have seen a content American couple enjoying Paris’ bustling Latin Quarter while stopping for chouquettes and express at the Boulangerie close to her charming AirB&B Walkup on Rue de la Harpe.

Last year, KJ Foster, 58, and her husband Tony, 66, left their cozy life in Boca Raton, Florida, to chase their dream of living in Paris. They sold or gave away almost all of their possessions and left behind their family members.

They started filming theirs life is pink fantasy and upload it to YouTube.

In the first month their channel became a hit and they quickly gained thousands of followers.

But behind the camera, the Parisian idyll had turned into a nightmare – thanks to French arrogance, language difficulties, homesickness, the challenges of living in walk-in apartments and a bad French onion soup.

The Fosters found that being an American in Paris wasn’t their dream. The Fosters, 58 and 66, turned their move into a successful YouTube channel, inviting followers to follow their adventure. But, they tell The Post, the reality has been far from la vie en rose.

Now, just months after landing in the City of Light, with its charming cafes, sweeping boulevards and world-famous cuisine, they have reluctantly returned home to start all over again, moving into a rented apartment and new furniture buy, hoping to be able to move back to Paris, maybe part-time, in a year or two.

In preparation for the move last November, Tony told the Post: “We’ve sold our four cars, given away our furniture, our five big-screen TVs, most of our belongings.”

They even sold their house about a year before they left, taking advantage of the booming Florida real estate market and knowing that one day they would live in Paris.

Packing their lives into just three suitcases each, the Fosters set off for Paris last November. They became a YouTube hit because they showed life in Paris, like the scenes in Montmartre.KJ and Tony Foster

The only warning they received before their big move came from KJ’s octogenarian mother.

“My mom said to me, ‘Are you sure you want to do this because what if you come back?’” KJ said.

“I said, ‘We’re NOT coming back, except for visits.’ But mother always knows best.”

KJ and Tony made the final decision to move to Paris full-time when they flew there last May “for the weekend — Thursday through Monday — which is a bit extreme,” he admits. It wasn’t her first visit. “But we had such a wonderful time, basically falling in love with Paris, that it trumped everything else.”

When they arrived with some belongings in suitcases, no one spoke French, and KJ now admits that was a big mistake, as Parisians have an icy attitude towards non-French speakers.

On their YouTube channel, the Fosters showcased the attractions of the City of Lights, including a chance to visit Versailles. The couple’s YouTube channel became a hit when they showed off their 4,500-square-foot Airbnb, whose beamed ceilings were one of the attractions when they agreed to rent it. The couple showed off the view from their 4th floor on Rue de la Harpe in the Latin Quarter, but in reality the lack of a lift became tiresome.

“We’ve had the experience of people saying they didn’t understand us, but they understood a lot more than they wanted to admit,” KJ, who is from Sayville, Long Island, told The Post. “One says soonwhich means ‘a little’ if they’re really fluent in English.”

Another problem they faced was Parisian haughtiness. “If they weren’t merciful,” Tony remarked, “I left that to them.”

A former manager of a restaurant chain, he later earned his PhD and worked in addiction treatment before retiring.

KJ is a counselor and psychotherapist. Both recovering addicts, he’s been sober for 20 years, she’s 14.

They met at an AA meeting, they say proudly, and have been married for 13 years.

According to Tony, it was a “confluence of events and a couple of mishaps along the way that created a perfect storm — six or seven things that all came together” that led them to abandon their Parisian dream, at least for now, and return home.

When they agreed to rent their quaint, 431-square-foot, two-bedroom, 4th-floor beamed unit — “smaller than what we were used to” — they both “assumed” it was in an elevator building.

But when they got there, they found depressingly that they had to climb four stories, a total of 59 steps, “several times a day.”

The lack of elevators in Paris was both an issue for the Fosters and a feature of their YouTube content — including this trip to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Climbing those four flights of stairs every day, many times a day, began as “workout” and became one of the factors that prompted the couple to return to Boca Raton.

Her temporary spot was “literally around the corner from Notre-Dame,” and Tony visited the Gothic cathedral as often as “twice a day.”

In their premiere video, they filmed themselves huffing and puffing up the stairs, with Tony candidly telling viewers, “It’s definitely a workout.”

But it was KJ who would suffer the most. She had been a runner when she was younger and had developed a bad knee.

Those long stairs became hell for her.

Their tiny apartment featured an even smaller kitchen, but the Fosters enjoyed the Parisian food scene — down to a renegade French onion soup.

“With the up and down of the stairs, it got to the point,” she says, “where the pain would wake me up at night, it was just so much more than what I was used to.

“But it wasn’t like I wanted to go back to the US because of my knee. It was a combination of many things.”

These included sudden depression and severe homesickness, she says, “with everything happening at once. I guess I just wasn’t expecting the heaviness.”

While her YouTube channel KJ And Tony Move To Paris wasn’t Emily In Paris — the popular Netflix rom-com about an American girl who works for a French social media company — KJ’s channel and Tony suddenly with new viewers.

One hit video was the discovery of a Parisian gastronomic phenomenon: the hit hole-in-the-wall US hot dog stand.

“There was sauerkraut with the dog, and as an Easterner, a hot dog must have sauerkraut,” Tony fondly recalls. “We made a video about it and once we found the place we went like we do every weekend.”

But interest in life in Paris was so great, says KJ, that making more and more videos caused her enormous stress and anxiety.

“As we started this journey, I was like, ‘Oh, let’s do some videos. It was very relaxed,” she says. “We made the first video, which was our Paris apartment tour, and it exploded, monetized, and started generating ad revenue in less than a month, and we had eight thousand subscribers in less than a month… and I was focused on time and paying attention to the videos, it just got too overwhelming.”

Demand for content about life in the City of Light proved overwhelming for KJ FosterShutterstock

She feels like she’s gotten hooked again – this time to making more videos.

“Tony said, ‘Slow down. We don’t have to do that much, like don’t put so much pressure on you,’ and I think all of that contributed to my depression. It absolutely played a significant role. It was an addiction, that’s absolutely true.

“We got positive feedback from the videos and people enjoyed them and I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t have to let people down. You will be disappointed if I don’t post a video every week.’”

Tony believes the channel has been successful because of “our personalities and especially KJ’s personality, because the camera loves her.”

She says it was the subject – Paris and moving there – that caught the audience’s interest.

In addition to her knee issues that could lead to replacement surgery, her depression, homesickness and the stress of feeding the YouTube machine, KJ suffered a “violent” case of food poisoning, possibly from French onion soup.

Back to Florida: The Fosters are now back in Boca Raton, in a rented apartment, after their dream of living in Paris fell through. Shutterstock

“It’s hard to tell where I picked it up,” she says.

But wherever the place was, she became violently ill.

“I was getting worse and that’s when I started to think I just wanted to go home. I couldn’t think of anything else but to go home and be comfortable. It was really a dark time.”

KJ and Tony had planned to drive to Nice in the south of France, but she concluded: “I thought it would be better to fly home than sit in a car all day and not know if and when I would have access to one.” would get toilet. I insisted Tony go to Nice without me because I was in such a negative mood and knew it wouldn’t help if he came with me.

“I was really relieved knowing that I was going home and that I would be following Tony soon,” she says.

“I felt that Boca is exactly where we need to be now. Next time, our journey back to Paris won’t necessarily be, ‘Oh, we’re up and moving all the time.’ I think there will be more of that – back and forth.”