Welcome to San Francisco




Have you ever dreamed of moving to a city and having some friends showing you the way?

Once upon a town is an independent boutique relocation company based in San Francisco and serving also Marin County (North Bay), Berkeley (East Bay) and the Silicon Valley (South Bay) areas. Our mission is to provide our clients a unique experience, guiding them from the moment they arrive to the moment they’re ready to call the Bay Area home.


Imagine how nice it would be to arrive somewhere without having to stress about choosing the right neighborhood, the best coffee shop, or even where to take a morning run. If you have questions about the school system in the Bay Area, where to buy your groceries, or how to meet your daily lifestyle needs, we have the answers and will help you make the right decisions for your family. We can even go as far as helping you organize a weekend away to explore the Bay Area and its surroundings. No matter where you are moving from or what your needs may be, we are here to make sure you have a smooth transition. As expatriates ourselves, who have been living in San Francisco for many years, we know what it takes to settle in the Bay Area.

Once Upon a Town goes beyond a typical relocation service. Any questions you might have, we’re here to answer!

Once Upon a Town is a San Francisco Independent Relocation Services company.


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We provide a wide range of personalized services, including pre-arrival assistance, and our team of experts is here to guide you through the relocation process. Our services are “a la carte” so we can tailor each package to fit your specific needs and budgets.





San Francisco is a very populated city with approximately 17,000 people per square mile. It is one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to live in, second only to New York City. The overall cost of living can be sky high, but it’s an incredibly vibrant city, where you’ll never be bored! There is a number of amazing museums, performing arts centers and always a fun event going on! From Outside Lands to Bay to Breakers, Fleet Week, or SantaCon, there is something for everyone. The sun seems to be always shining here (well, except for those foggy days!), but be prepared to carry a light jacket with you. Even if it’s 80 degrees outside! Working in Tech is the norm, not the exception, and if you are a foodie, welcome to heaven!

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Maria Chopskie

Maria Chopskie

Brazilian by birth, but after many years here learned to call America my second home. I always want to see a new place and try a new thing - perfect for SF!


By Michael & Marie-Laure

General Manager Americas at Parrot

Moved from England to San Francisco

Maria and Stéphanie couldn’t have found a better name for their company, like fairies they helped us in starting our new adventure in San Francisco.. Maria and Stéphanie have a very good capacity to listen to your needs and constraints.
Their town and housing market knowledge were appreciated to customise an objective advice.
Moving from the UK country side with 3 children the challenge was high! It was easy to work remotely with Maria and Stéphanie. They are connected and responsive. They were our eyes that we trusted from a distance. Once Uupon a Town SF found our Home Sweet Home efficiently, … administration was seem less. Highly recommended!

By Ambroise & Julia

Vice President, Strategic Marketing at Quantenna Communications

Moved from Paris, France to San Francisco

We had very specific constraints when moving to San Francisco, to combine proximity of schools with commute outside of the city, 4 rooms and a flexible lease. Also we were moving in the middle of the school year which made things more complicated. I had been looking on my own, but could not find something meeting all of our criteria. Stephanie and Maria found us the perfect place and this helped us greatly in settling in with the family. I found once upon a town to be very professional, taking time to understand our constraints and making valuable suggestions based on our lifestyle. I would highly recommend their services for anyone moving in to San Francisco.

By Sophie and Salah

CEO at Semarchy

Moved from Lyon, France to San Francisco

When we first decided to move to San Francisco with the kids, we thought we could make everything on our own without the help of anyone. Indeed, we had planned a first 10 day family visit to SF in April to prepare our move scheduled for the summer… After spending several days trying to find a new home that could match our needs, we finally realized that this was an almost impossible task to do on our own given the complexity of the estate market in the city. We then thought of getting the services of different home rental offices. That again was a total failure and we really started to freak out knowing how tight our schedule and budget were. Then we heard of Once upon a town and we decided to call Stephanie, Maria and Marguerite. They picked up the phone immediately and they were super reactive for a first appointment. The rest of the story sounds like a fairy tale. They instantly understood our needs and nailed down all the possible areas that correspond to our profile. When we got back to France after our first visit, they knew exactly what types of houses to search for. They sent us super targeted lists matching both our budget and taste. Their flexibility allowed us to have several Skype meetings despite the 9 hours time difference between France and California. Then they organized visits on their own followed by virtual visits by Skype. We were amazed by their courtesy, diligence, sympathy, and enthusiasm to ensure we would find our best new home. And guess what… after only 2 weeks they were able to find us a gorgeous affordable apartment in a great neighborhood. And that wasn’t the end of the story. They also helped us get the paperwork finalized for the lease, they took care of the delivery for the keys in good confidence, and most of all they made us feel comfortable, happy and in good hands. Not to mention all the great hints and tips they gave us along the way for furniture, kids care, schools, cars, shopping, and more… These girls know the city better than anyone else. Without them, we wouldn’t have made it on time and on budget. We only have one word to say: THANK YOU to the team of OUAT.

Consulate General of France

in San Francisco

Lancé en 2015 par deux Françaises et une Brésilienne, “Once upon a town” est un service de relocation, très personnalisé, visant à aider les expatriés français à s’installer à San Francisco. Stéphanie (ex-PR), Marguerite (ex-RH) et Maria (ex-avocate) connaissent la Bay Area comme leur poche. Elles vous font adorer le changement… Nous les avons rencontrées sur Divisadero street, dans un petit café tendance de San Francisco. Interview.

A quoi sert un service de relocation ?

Marguerite : Un service de relocation est destiné à faciliter la relocalisation de familles (ou de personnes célibataires). La plupart de nos clients sont ici pour commencer une nouvelle vie. Vivre une belle aventure. Nous les accompagnons presque de manière amicale, comme tu aimerais toi être accueillie par la cousine d’une copine que tu ne connais pas, qui te prendrait par le bras et t’emmènerait en ville pour te faire découvrir les multiples facettes de ces rues, te donnerait pleins de tips. A “Once upon a town”, nous essayons de rentrer dans l’intimité de la personne pour mieux la connaître, et du coup mieux la satisfaire. 

Concrètement, comment ca marche ?

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Lost in SF

We encourage you to discover Once Upon a Town, that offers a wide range of personalized services to help you make San Francisco your new home. You just moved to San Francisco, you are new in town, it’s your first expatriation or you have already experienced a couple of them…Anyhow, it does not matter. A new move kind of always follows the same patterns: the stress or even the anxiety facing an unknown environment, the vertigo (to use a local term) when one thinks of the task to carry out, an uncomfortable moment of loneliness, this awkward feeling of vulnerability in a place you have not made your own yet.

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You don’t have any point of reference yet in the city, You can’t precisely anticipate the future, especially the nearest one. So many criteria have to be taken into consideration: your job, your partner’s one, the kids’ school, daycare, soccer here, tae kwon do there, car or no car, condo or house, the City, in or out? So many things are at stake, and they are still changing and progressively taking shape. It is a work in progress situation where you have to make potentially long-term decisions.

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We met recently with Stéphanie and Maria, and we were talking about different anecdotes and situations they had to experience. And we felt like it would be a great idea to share them with you in photos and words. We asked them to tell us…a good laugh, a huge disappointment, a love at the first sight, things they ignored so far and learned, and of course, we asked them to share with us some good addresses discovered throughout their city investigation.

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On recommande !

Un déménagement peut être source de stress et d’incertitudes. Once upon a town a pour but d’offrir à ses clients un service haut de gamme, très personnalisé,  leur permettant  de déménager à San Francisco dans des conditions optimales.

Trouver un nouvel appartement, comprendre et faire toutes les démarches administratives, inscrire les enfants à l’école ou simplement apprendre à connaitre la ville et ses quartiers ; suivez le guide Once upon a town !

Canal Califórnia



































Hotel California Blog

O que é Once Upon a Town SF?

Muita gente chega aqui no blog procurando respostas para perguntas que parecem simples como, qual é a melhor escola para meu filho? Qual o melhor bairro para eu morar com criança? Qual o melhor bairro para alugar apartamento sozinha? E como funcionam os planos de saúde na California? E por aí vai. Quando estamos de mudança para uma nova cidade tudo é novo e complicado. Mas, a verdade, é que tudo é muito diferente do que estamos acostumados.

Não seria ideal termos um  “amigo” pra nos  apresentar a cidade, dar dicas, mostrar como tudo funciona e ainda ajudar a encontrar o lugar ideal para sua família?  Pois é, esse sonho já é possível. E esse amigo, nesse caso, é uma amiga brasileira, que conhece bem nosso jeito e nossos gostos.

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Acontece no Vale

Muitas empresas de tecnologia contratam profissionais de outros países e auxiliam seus novos funcionários com o processo de relocação. Geralmente as companhias têm um orçamento para este fim e outras tem até uma equipe para dar suporte com a busca de apartamentos e a mudança das famílias. No entanto, o que muitas oferecem geralmente é algo meio genérico, temos parceria com o lugar x, y, z e fica a critério dos profissionais o local a ser escolhido. Outras famílias fazem uma pesquisa pela internet e optam por fazer tudo por conta própria. Mas em ambos os casos somente depois de se estabelecer é que as pessoas começam a perceber que existiam opções de condomínios melhores, que seria mais cômodo morar próximo do supermercado “tal”, que utilizar o transporte público para ir para o trabalho seria mais conveniente, que é preciso morar em determinado bairro para ter vaga nas melhores escolas e por aí vai.

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Se loger à San Francisco n’est pas toujours chose facile. Cette ville est une des plus chères des USA. Aussi faudra t-il vous armer de patience …et d’un peu de chance :
San Francisco est une ville qui se divise en quartiers, 40 environ. Avant de vous y installer, renseignez-vous sur la situation géographique et les caractéristiques propres de chaque quartier. Le prix de l’immobilier varie sensiblement d’un quartier à un autre, et selon la réputation de ses écoles publiques.
Agence de relocalisation, agents immobiliers sont là pour vous aider mais il vous faudra surtout préparer vos documents et multiplier les visites. Vous pouvez également compter sur le site de CraigList, incontournable quand on vit à San Francisco !

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Expat Arrivals

Emmanuelle Joachim is a French expat and mother of two who has lived in eight cities and five countries and speaks four languages. Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Miami are all places she has called home, each unique culture enriching her life and representing chapters in her story. Emmanuelle considers herself a French citizen by birth, but a global citizen by heart.

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