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Expat Special: What To Do With One Month in Paris

Piyapat Ch

You’re about to realize your dream: living in Paris for a month. You found an apartment, booked your flight, and learned how to ask for les toilettes.

You imagine strolling through the city, taking in the sights, hanging out at cafés, and being…Parisian.  Of course, part of the fun of travel is making new friends. As much as we love French hospitality, local Parisians and expats aren’t always hanging out in cafés looking for tourists to befriend. If your plan was to strike up conversation with the local artists over espresso at your neighborhood bistrot, you might want to think up a slightly more elaborate back-up plan. Just in case.

Michel NGUYEN; Yuwen Teo

Plus, maybe your idea of Paris includes escaping the tourist traps and discovering truly local haunts – great live music at an otherwise unassuming dive bar, or a fantastic meal at your neighborhood restaurant. With a dash of creativity, there are plenty of original ways to meet people and experience a little of the true Paris. Here are a few ideas: Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Travel | 16 Comments »

Haven in Paris Goes to London!

David Jones

Pssst… Don’t tell anyone, but we’re making a move.

A move to London, our other favorite European city, just as full of great shopping, architecture, art, history, and (almost as much) great food. Francophiles need not fret, though — we’ll still cover Paris’ best hidden secrets, but with a little British flair thrown into the mix.

If you’re planning a trip to London, take a peek at our brand new Chelsea vacation rental flat, Brompton. With its private garden, two bedrooms and plenty of space to lounge and cook, it’s the perfect home base for exploring all that London has to offer.

We’re also still offering some fantastic last-minute discounts on February 2012 dates (for Paris and London), so contact us now and get up to 30% off your winter holiday!

`Javier Bouzas ; JM Rosenfeld

Written by Genevieve Sandifer for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Homes, London | 4 Comments »

Decoding The French Menu: The Truth About Steak à Cheval

A Paris chalkboard menu – appearances can be deceiving! (Daxis)

Years into my love affair with Paris, I’m still making ridiculous rookie mistakes. I suppose it’s time to accept that France will always have the upper hand, but it still stings.

My most recent humiliation is horse-related. Or at least, I thought it was.

Please note that I was a horse-obsessed child, so equine-related topics are particularly touchy for me. As a child, I would sometimes dress in riding garb for no reason at all. And while I was waiting for my parents to break down and buy me a real horse (never happened), I would drag garbage cans into the backyard and ride them, periodically switching from one member of the “herd” to the next. On any given afternoon, people in the house could gaze out and see me whipping a particularly stubborn garbage can with my riding crop.

Steak à Cheval (L. Richarz)

So when I first moved to Paris and started noticing “steak à cheval” on menus around town, I was wary. I knew there was a historical precedent of eating horse meat in France, but it seemed quite inhumane in this day and age. Nonetheless,  I assumed it was some kind of trendy gastronomic revival, and who was I to question the local gourmands? So I kept my mouth shut and simply avoided the dreaded horse steak when confronted with it.

Recently, I was visiting my boyfriend’s family in Brazil. One night, we sat down to dinner and I was presented with a traditional dish called bife a cavalo (in Portuguese), which translates to “horse-riding steak” or “steak à la horse.”

“Horse?” I asked, panic rapidly setting in.

“No, it’s like steak à cheval in France,” G explained.

“Sooo….. horse?” I wondered again.

It was at this point that I realized I’d been operating under a serious misapprehension, and it took the collision of three cultures for the truth to surface. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 23 Comments »

February in Paris: 25% Off Your Very Own Parisian Flat

Dave Bloom; Rafael Garcia-Suarez; Maggie Battista

Winter blues got you down? Nothing a quick trip to Paris can’t fix!

Seriously though. Winter is winter in Paris too, but when you can while away the days eating delicious pastries and drinking café crème or mulled wine in a cozy café, it’s easy to become fond of the rainy days too.

Haven in Paris is offering up to 25% off in most of our Paris and London apartments, so making the jaunt over doesn’t have to break the bank. Or just use the money you saved shopping the sales – after all, they run until February 14!

Check out all of our February special offers here, or contact us now to let us do the work for you.

PS: and wouldn’t this make the most darling Valentine’s day retreat…

Mauvais Garçons Marais 1-bedroom

Written by Genevieve Sandifer for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Posted in Homes, Travel | 1 Comment »

Paris Winter Fashion: Les Hommes Parisiens Are Seductive, Sexy, Cool

Christopher Hue

Paris is known for many things: its light, its bistros and, of course, its fashionably chic women. But what about its men? Do les hommes parisiens share that certain je ne sais quoi for which their female counterparts are so admired?

Alas, in a word, non.

Parisian men do, however, have distinctive style that manages to marry the rakish allure of Vincent Cassel or Olivier Martinez with the more bourgeois appeal of, say, Francois Cluzet. In short, his cool charm derives from an unstudied, imperfect look that works without looking overworked. Matchy-matchy, perfectly pressed and impeccably coordinated is just un-Parisian.

Annelie Willemijn

Here are some hallmarks of Parisian style pour homme, as seen on the city’s streets this chilly season.

Le foulard: There may be no look more “French” than an artfully tied scarf. Men are rarely seen in Paris without stylish neck wear — rain or shine. From the classic Burberry check to sumptuous cashmere or printed cotton, a casually wrapped neck is simply a must.

Les chaussures: Men’s shoes have gone narrow and pointy; classics like leather oxfords and sporty suede bucks have seemingly been stretched. A gently pointed toe is the only shoe shape that looks right right now. For weekends en ville, swap out the dress shoes for a well-worn pair of tennis — Puma or Adidas, please.

Annelie Willemijn

Les pantalons: Athletes with ample quads, beware: Modern Parisian trousers are très slim cut. Like those spotted on fashionable Parisiennes, slim-cut dark wash jeans for men can go almost anywhere in Paris these days. Worn with a tailored blazer or fine-knit sweater (think body-hugging), un jean works just as well for a stroll through the Centre Pompidou as it does for a dinner at a swank bistro. Whether it’s jeans, chinos or wool trousers, keep the cut close; a flared leg or tailored cuff is a definite style don’t. Continue Reading »

Posted in Design, Parisian Living, Shopping | 7 Comments »

A Leap of Faith: Finding the Perfect Paris Apartment

Chris Waits; David L.

After having made the huge, scary, glorious decision to quit my plum entertainment job of 14 years to move to Paris, all I could picture was drinking rosé in fabulous cafes in St. Germain and strolling with my soon-to-be-named French lover along the Seine.  It was going to be all storybook romance and Parisian perfection, right?  What could possibly go wrong?

Finding an Apartment

The first big task on moving to Paris was finding an apartment.  I felt like a Parisian kid in a confiserie as I set out to look through all the online listings.  I was picturing my new, highbrow, literary friends meeting in my salon and debating whether Anna Karenina was due society’s scorn or the victim of a double standard.  And then there would be the lavish, multi-course creations that would appear out of my kitchen and people would say, are you sure she’s not French-trained or a descendant of Julia Child?

Mollie C.; Chris Waits

As I dug into the apartment search further and started to learn the meter to square feet conversion, a rosé hangover started to kick in.  How was I supposed to entertain the French literati in a space the size of a parking spot? Would my culinary creations have to come from a hot plate in my Betty Crocker play kitchen?  Oh, no, this wouldn’t do.  I decided an in-person visit would be best because I was sure there were some things that weren’t translating on the web page. Continue Reading »

Posted in Homes, Travel | 9 Comments »

The Art of the Parisian Soiree

To do une soirée or not to do une soirée?

What exactly is this rather elegant and mysterious sounding soirée? And, how should it be approached by mere Anglophone mortals?

Definition

Noun: soirée: party or gathering, with a sophisticated name to impress  the uninitiated, taking place in apartments across the glimmering city of lights (usually accompanied by beaucoup de alcohol,  yummy food and much merriment).

Still all rather vague? I’ve tried to break down the process into nice easy steps and here’s what I came up with…

Step 1: Getting there

There are several key points to bear in mind. Under no circumstances should you arrive on time – keep it carefree by arriving fashionably late.

Watch out for complex digicode systems designed to keep guests out and lift-less 6th floor apartments in distant Parisian destinations.

Step 2: La Bise

Remember the essentials:

  • Smile (not too much in order to remain mysterious)
  • Perch two dainty kisses one on each cheek
  • Compliment the host (it always goes down a treat)

I recommend arriving bearing wine. Don’t worry about breaking the bank – surprisingly, even inexpensive supermarket plonk is still very drinkable.

Step 3:  Chit Chat

Eek! Now that the introductions are out of the way, it’s time to mingle! Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »