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A walk in Paris in the sun

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After many years of living Paris the beauty of the city is often lost behind the cloudy grey weather and daily train-train*.  Often I find I must make a concerted effort to find the time to take advantage of this beautiful city.

Yesterday, a sunny day, I decided to steal a few hours in town. First stop: the Passerelle de Solferino, a small bridge across the Seine from Musee D’Orsay to the Tuilerie gardens, to admire the spectacular view up and down the river Seine. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 1 Comment »

Recession-Friendly Travel: Comparing Luxury Hotel Rates With Luxury Apartment Rates

Same services, same amenities, drastically different budgets

Haven in Paris luxury

Photo courtesy of Haven in Paris

When you think vacation, what first springs to mind? Finally getting a full night’s sleep in luxurious sheets, sleeping in ‘til noon, lifelong friendships that spring from random chance encounters in corner cafés, soaking in the sun without a care in the world… But as you surely well know, thanks to falling currencies and the pervasive doom-and-gloom attitude, everyone is being a little more careful about throwing money away for a little square of paradise. Staying in “budget” hotels, though, can often be worse than not getting away at all: questionable cleanliness, rude concierges, cigarette-tinged rooms, second-rate sheets and towels… you’d be better off at home.

We made a few calls, did a little research and put together a shortlist of the rates of some of Paris’ notable higher-end hotels, and compared them to how much you would spend for the same standards of luxury in a Haven in Paris property — to show you show you just how advantageous having your own home away from home can be. Click through for step-by-step price comparisons… Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | No Comments »

B&B – Chambres et table d’hotes – in the Creuse ‘les Puits’

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Photo Erica Berman
view from bedroom window

Feb 1, 2009 -  Tonight we head toward our B&B I found in La Creuse, a little known & lovely region of France. Orleans, to Vierzon to Le Chatre to Boussac..la Creuse. We arrive in fog and drizzle to a little village in the middle of nowhere welcomed warmly at our chambre et table d’hotes  by a lovely transplanted English couple…. Continue Reading »

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Domaine de la Piale – B&B in the Lot

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Photo Erica Berman

Many hours of driving on winding roads, a near collision with a large male deer, and poor directions later we arrived at our Chambre D’hotes – Bed & Breakfast – Domaine de la Piale in the tiny town of Fons in the heart of the Lot one of France’s undiscovered, and my favorite, regions. It was dark and the curvy narrow road earthen and muddy. We arrived to discover a charming 18th century stone farm compound converted to B&B. The reasonably priced suite we rented included a spacious living room, king bed in the large bedroom, bathroom with tub and separate toilets. Stone floors, wood beams, antiques, artwork and green plants completed the decor. Waking up to the lovely misty views of the forest and rolling hills from the windows enhanced the cozy interior and comfy bed. French owners  Adeline and Bertrand Spindler have restored this 18th century ‘demeure’ with love, style and excellent taste. Continue Reading »

Posted in Travel | 2 Comments »

Live like a Parisian for a week

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How would you like to walk in a Parisian’s shoes for a week and live the good life? Now with French Links Tours’s customized art de vivre experience you can. Not only does French Links assist you in renting a fabulous furnished, air-conditioned apartment in central Paris, but we also equip you with an expert on food and wine, who can show you the best food markets in Paris, introduce you to the best wine shops, and provide you with all the tops on becoming a Parisian cook. Continue Reading »

Posted in Tours and Classes | No Comments »

Exploring Paris’ Green Spaces

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Photo Erica Berman

Text Jen Holup
Open the infamous little red “Plan de Paris” to a map of any arrondissement, and you will be presented with pleasant green shapes on every page.  Full of green spaces to discover, Paris is a veritable urban jungle.

Many of Paris’ parks are well-tred territory, beloved by both locals and tourists alike. Luxembourg Gardens is a welcome rest-stop on a journey through the bustling Latin Quarter to Montparnasse. the Champs de Mars and Jardin des Tuileries offer grandiose promenades among the city’s most impressive monuments.  Yet, more than once, after packing a picnic and a book for an afternoon in the park, I have found one of the endearing “pelouse au repos” signs gracing the lawn, informing me (albeit in the charming French way) that the grass was “resting,” and thus unfit for human contact.  So, where does one retreat for a picnic in the City of Lights while our flora friends recuperate? Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Green | No Comments »

Les Trois Baudets, Valhere & Gluten Free Restautant ‘Des si et des Mets ‘

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Last night I attended the French rock concert of Valhere at the newly opened concert halle  ‘Les Trois Baudets’ in Montmartre – Serge Gainsbourg, George Brassens, Jacques Brel and Juliet Greco all had their start in this club that opened in 1947 & closed in 1967. Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe worked hard to reopen it and after years of construction, the inauguration took place last week. It will be a concert hall to help promote young French artists and ‘chanson française’. After the show, 3 friends and I went to dinner in Montmartre at ‘Des Si et des Mets’, the only completely gluten free restaurant in Paris.  Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Food | 1 Comment »

Atrabilaire

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Photo Erica Berman

Over a long Parisian lunch today, my friend Thomas mentioned that he was grumpy this morning and great food and excellent company had put him in a much better frame of mind. I said to to him, “tu étais d’humeur atrabilaire ce matin.” Of the three friends at the table, all French, no-one knew the definition of ‘atrabilaire’ which means irascible, grumpy & just plain bad humor. Donc, if you want to dazzle your friends, French and Anglophone alike… try to use this word in a phrase! Continue Reading »

Posted in French 'mot' du moment, Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

Americans in Paris

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This website, chock-full of interesting cultural tid-bits and recommendations, is like a crash course in life in France. Whether you’re looking to understand how French cell phone contracts work, trying to find American organizations in France, or simply want to figure out why it is the French are obsessed with McDonald’s, this site is brimming with resources for Anglophones in France.

Fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, Provence and Tuscany: haveninparis.com

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living | No Comments »

Gridskipper

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For incredibly useful, under-the-radar finds, be sure to check out Gridskipper. This well-curated blog features interactive maps spotlighting often obscure but always titillating gems, ranging from Paris’ best bespoke perfume shops to the best alternative birds-eye views of Paris, and even the best brunch spots for those feeling homesick for Sunday morning mimosas… A resource for Parisians and tourists alike!

Fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, Provence and Tuscany: haveninparis.com

Posted in Parisian Living | No Comments »