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Mellow Paris: Why We Love August in Paris

img_7447Sunbathers in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Photo by Tory Hoen

You may have heard rumors that Paris empties out in August. As it turns out, the rumors are largely true. But before you start envisioning a Parisian ghost town—tumbleweeds rolling down the Champs-Elysées—take it from us: August is a wonderful time to be in Paris. As many locals head to the coast and many businesses close up for the month, you can feel the city’s pulse slow down. Traffic decreases, picnickers multiply, people become friendlier, they linger in parks and enjoy balmy evenings on café terraces throughout the city. In August, Paris settles and simply enjoys itself.


In the past, many tourists have avoided the month of August, deterred by the fear that many restaurants and businesses might be closed, or that Paris in August is not the “real” Paris. Nowadays, there is no need to worry about such things. While the “August atmosphere” is more relaxed and unhurried, there is plenty to do during this wonderful month; and many locals believe it’s actually the best moment to take advantage of the city.  In addition, visitors can often find special deals and lower rates at this time of the year. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living, Travel | 1 Comment »

Best coffee in Italy – on the highway, at the Autogrill?


Today I learned an interesting coffee tidbit from a couple of Italian friends and coffee connoisseurs; the best coffee in Italy, can often be found in the rest stops on the highway  (Autogrill). In fact, some Autogrill/rest stop restaurants apparently even make it into Italian Guide Books! Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 3 Comments »

Rooftop Paris: Exploring the 5th Arrondissement

terrace-sitting-area-blue-skyTerrace and garden w/ stairs to upper level terrace.

Some visitors to Paris will scale any height—or endure waiting in any line—to achieve the ultimate view of the city. And while Sacré-Coeur and the Eiffel Tower certainly do not disappoint, many of Paris’ most unique and breathtaking views are afforded by private residences, discreetly tucked away in various parts of the city. During the summer, the lucky few with access to these hidden havens take advantage by soaking up the sun during the day, kicking back for cocktails in the evening, and taking in the view of Paris’ magical lights at night…

At Haven in Paris, our Left Bank Designer Penthouse is one of these unique residences, blending in with the surrounding neighborhood while still providing guests with a one-of-a-kind experience: a 360° panoramic view that encompasses the Eiffel Tower, the Panthéon, Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, and countless other sites and monuments throughout the city. The two-story apartment is encircled by wrap-around balconies on both floors, and the top floor opens onto a stunning terrace and roof garden that provide an amazing space to entertain friends or simply relax after a day in the city. The balconies and terrace provide a combined 300m2 of private outdoor space—nearly unheard of in Paris, where most apartments are much more confined. Now is the time to contact us about renting this apartment, as we are giving 10% off all rentals from now until August 29, 2009. Continue Reading »

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Tour de France in Paris: Sunday, July 26

img_0004The cyclists riding through Paris along the rue de Rivoli.

Maps courtesy of

The French are not known for their patience. They have a casual, challenging attitude towards lines, they push onto the Métro while passengers are struggling to exit, they squeeze into impossibly small spaces at the market to place their orders first. So, each year on a Sunday in late July, it is surprising to see the crowds of people collected along the streets of central Paris, prepared to wait hours for the arrival & finish of the Tour de France.

Fourteen years ago this coming weekend, my family made up a small part of that waiting mob. Continue Reading »

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Trains in Italy – no cars needed here


To get around the Ligurian Riviera without a car (Camoli, Cinque Terre, Santa Margherita, Finale Ligure, Varigotti, La Spezia, Portofino – you need to take a boat or bus from Santa Margherita) from Genoa on public transportation one may take the increasingly infamous Trenitalia. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions | 2 Comments »

Sun by the Seine: Paris Plages ’09

parisplage3Photo courtesy of

Visitors to Paris now have one more item to add to their agendas: the beach! Paris is primed for what is perhaps the least logical—but most fun—event of the summer: Paris Plages, which kicks off July 20th. For the 8th year in a row, the banks of the Seine have been converted into a veritable beach, complete with deckchairs, cabanas, “aqua-gyms,” pétanque courts, ping pong, fencing, picnic tables, canoes and paddle boats. The sand has arrived, the palm trees have been installed, the sun is shining, the Seine is sparkling, and all of Paris is ready for beach season to begin!  Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living, Travel | 1 Comment »

Wake Up! Paris Quartier d’été is back!


Twenty years ago, the first Paris Quarter d’été festival was held in order to “wake up the city” during the summer lull that tends to sweep Paris from late July through the end of August. Starting today, the festival is back for its 20th year, and this year’s Paris Quarter d’été promises to be the most dynamic to date. Continue Reading »

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VIP Paris: Let your private Concierge do the work


Time is precious, and time in Paris is even more precious. Whether you’ve been here a hundred times or are seeing the city with fresh eyes, there is always something new to discover—an unexplored neighborhood, a new restaurant, a little known boutique, a clandestine art gallery, a hidden wine bar. And whether you live here or are just passing through, it seems there is never enough time to uncover and take advantage of Paris’ numerous secrets. Until now.

I recently sat down with Didier, Parisian concierge extraordinaire, to discuss the role of the modern-day concierge. Didier defines his work in simple terms: “To be totally available to clients and to do everything I possibly can to satisfy their demands.” Whether it’s getting the city’s hottest restaurant reservation, planning a weekend getaway, finding the perfect wedding dress, seeking out antiques to furnish an apartment, or nabbing the Hermès bag that everyone wants now (despite a five year waiting list), Didier knows how to make it happen. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 3 Comments »

Genoa to Camogli, Punta Chiappa & back



July in Genoa and things are heating up. It is time to find ways to get out of the heat. Temperatures in the sun often surpass 90°F, even with low humidity, it is HOT.

One the best places to be is on my 100m² terrace, enjoying my panoramic view of the city and port. Continue Reading »

Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 1 Comment »

Cinema Under the Stars – Free Cinema at la Villette – en plein air


Now that summer is in full swing, Parisians will seek out any excuse to loiter outside for as long as possible. Luckily, the Cinéma en Plein Air festival at the Park de la Villette gives them an excuse to do just that! Back for its 19th year, the film series runs from July 15th-August 16th and features a different film every night (except Mondays) at approx. 9:00pm (or whenever night falls) on a large outdoor screen located in the Prairie du Triangle (Metro: Porte de Pantin, Line 5). The vast lawn provides ample space for film-goers to stake out a spot, throw down their picnic blankets, and spend the evening lounging beneath the glow of the silver screen. The theme for this year’s festival is traversées, or crossings, and each film in the series will explore the significance of a journey — literal, metaphorical, or otherwise — and the process of discovery. Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Parisian Living, Travel | 1 Comment »