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Images & posts from Liguria


Photo : Erica Berman

To find out more about Liguria, Finale Ligure, Cinque Terre, Valleponci, Bocca di Magra, Forte dei Marmi and many other wonderful, and off the beaten track, places, please click on the following links:

Fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, Provence and Tuscany:

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | No Comments »

Desbina Collins: Massage from the Comfort of your Paris flat

picture-10-225x3001I recently met Desbina Collins, an intriguing Australian masseuse who lives in Paris, for a chat and a massage. One-time fashion designer and favorite of Paris’ 5 star hotels (and their well-known guests), Desbina offers her skills to the travel-worn bodies of privileged HIP clients (and Haven in Paris owner Erica) from the comfort of their Parisian flats. Her blissful whole-body rubdowns combine acupressure (also known as Shiatsu), deep tissue techniques and essential oils to relax, unblock energy channels and restore balance to stressed and fatigued travelers.

Aware at a very young age of the relationship between bodies and selves, Desbina initially pursued a successful career as a fashion designer in Australia. Eager to find out more about how one transitions from fashion to massage, Desbina and I sat down to chat over a cup of tea before she gave me an hour of pure massage bliss. Continue Reading »

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My Ligurian Villa vacation (on Tuscan border – by Cinque Terre)


One of our views & rose bushes by the villa
Photos: Erica Berman

For some reason, one I am not sure of, most Americans (and the majority of tourists in general) come to Italy for Tuscany, Rome and Venice. Don’t get me wrong, these are all beautiful places, and definitely merit a visit, or many, but there are oodles of other places in Italy worthy of discovery.

picture-3The Villa

Liguria is a small region of Italy nestled between the French border and Tuscany, and covers a long coastline bordered by mountains. Genova is the capital and Portofino its most known city, followed closely by the spectacular Cinque Terre. Luckily for those who care to sojourn within, few have heard of Liguria – not even most French, whose border touches it. Miles of unspoiled mountainous coastline and sandy beaches, kilometers and kilometers of hiking, excellent food and friendly hosts – this is right up our vacation alley. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 6 Comments »

Spotlight Tuscany: Haybarn 2 Bedroom Villa in Monteriggioni


Text Sarah Raymond & Kim Matland

We at Haven in Paris have had a busy few months. With bookings picking up in the first half of 2009, we have added several new properties to our website – three in Paris and one in Tuscany. Recently, the first group came to stay at our new Haybarn villa in Monteriggioni, Italy – located just minutes from our Poggio 5 Bedroom property and a short drive from Siena. Kim Matland, one of the guests, gave us a lovely commentary about the home and their stay, and has been so kind as to allow us to share it here. Grazie, Kim! Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | No Comments »

Erica’s Escapades


Erica’s daily discoveries, wanderings and original tips and insights into Paris, France and Italy. The goal: to help you experience a more authentic and individual travel experience. I am pleased to share these findings, and my escapades with you – I hope you will enjoy!

Fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, Provence and Tuscany:

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Conceptual Retail: A Tour of Paris’ Concept Stores


Courtesy of and Freedomrecord

How many times have you wandered around a department store, and with every identical rack and bored attendant felt your eyes glaze over and the thrill of shopping fade perceptibly? In my earlier post I wrote about the annoying pretense of many so-called concept stores; that post withstanding, this type of boutique does offer a refreshing alternative to mass-market retail when you’re looking for something a little more… creative.

On a recent afternoon I had the privilege of wandering through Paris with the grandiose objective of visiting and analyzing The Concept Store. As my esteemed colleague Tory had already entertained this blog with her witty rendition of Merci, I was left with a couple must-sees, Colette and Kiliwatch, and the new kid on the block, Suite 114. Continue Reading »

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

Richard Nahem’s Paris


Photos Erica Berman

Like many American ex-pats, Richard Nahem came to Paris to pursue a dream. Upon seeing the city for the first time twenty-five years earlier, he had vowed to live here someday. And after spending twenty years as a chef/caterer in NYC, Richard finally did what many Americans only dream of doing—he packed his bags and hopped a flight.

Since doing so four years ago, he has slowly built the “Eye Prefer Paris” brand, Continue Reading »

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Cocktails in Paris: Curio Parlor

photo courtesy of

At first you thought you’d never tire of your pre-dinner kirs or pastis on traditional café terraces. But after one-too-many botched martinis, you’re willing to start considering alternatives. And if those alternatives happen to come courtesy of a group of fresh-faced Parisians enamored with New York cocktail culture, so be it.

Determined to bring Parisians around to the idea of “real” cocktails, drawing on only the finest spirits and fresh-squeezed fruit, the team behind the Curio Parlor first landed on the Paris scene a couple years ago with the Experimental Cocktail Club, an aptly named velour-lined drinking den in the 2nd arrondissement.

Although the two bars share their inclination towards taxidermy, designer’s guild prints, Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 5 Comments »

Pozzetto – finally, fabulous coffee & gelato in Paris


Photo Erica Berman

Despite my recent tirade and blog post ranting about the poor quality of coffee in France, I am pleased to announce that I recently had a fabulous cup of coffee in Paris. It was a coffee surprisingly worthy of any I have had in Italy, right in the heart of the Marais! Last Saturday after being jostled about in the Merci boutique (had to check it out – and found it overrated, overpriced, and overcrowded even if for a good cause, but lovely!) my friend Francoise and I made our way to the Marais and ended up at Pozzetto gelateria on rue du Roi de Sicile.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 5 Comments »