May 29, 2014
It started on a whim. We were vacationing in the South of France near the idyllic medieval town of Roquebrun, about an hour’s drive from Montpellier. Its sun-baked stone facades are built up into a cascading hillside; a smattering of cafes and merchants dot its central tree-lined street. At the foot of the village, the Orb River meanders through the densely green valley, inviting swimmers, fishermen and kayakers to partake.
It’s a hidden gem in the Herault region of Languedoc-Roussillon, affectionately known to locals as Le Petit Nice.
Glancing up the hillside at Rocquebrun’s ancient buildings — from my perch on a sunny cafe terrace — it was impossible to miss the sign hanging on a nearby iron balcony: A Vendre. The house faced the river offering what appeared to be an unbroken view of its lazy waters, arched stone bridge and the rugged valley beyond. It looked too good to be true. I had to see inside.
April 29, 2014
Cristina Otel (Casey Hatfield)
Although the world of wine has long been a men’s game (with a couple notable exceptions), women are increasingly playing greater roles in winemaking around the world.
Perhaps nowhere are they having more of an impact than in the Burgundy region of France, where it seems women own many of the best and most prestigious domaines. The region, whose wines are often described as elegant and subtle, seems well suited to a woman’s touch. Here are some of the women who are making Burgundy tick. Just don’t call their wines feminine.
The female winemakers association of Burgundy, Femmes & Vins De Bourgogne, is about 40 members strong. For the first time, the Director of the Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne is a woman; but to the women of Burgundy, this is not really news. “I don’t think you make a better wine if you are a man or a woman, “ said Caroline Parent-Gros, the daughter of winery owner Anne-Francois Gros “you have to understand it.”
April 11, 2014
Williamsburg & Île Saint Louis (The All-Nite Images & Brandie)
Of all the things to do in Paris, taking a stroll on the Ile St. Louis on a sunny day and grabbing a cone of Bertillion ice cream is on just about everyone’s favorites list, whether they be a tourist, expat or long time Parisian. Personally, I’m a devout fan of their chocolate noir.
Île Saint Louis (Ana Luiza Oliveira)
The Ile St. Louis, smack dab in the center of Paris, is full of old Parisian families, award-winning butchers, and beautiful limestone buildings from the 1630s. It’s clean, peaceful, and just a bit removed from the whirr of Paris proper.
Williamsburg (Jo Morcom)
I like it even more than ever before because I somewhat miraculously found a flat here to rent last summer. Now that we are fully ensconced on the Ile as official residents, I’ve fallen in love with my little island in the way that almost everyone does with their own little corner of Paris.
August 15, 2013
Every time I take my first stroll along the terracotta colored and ivy-clad streets in Rome I fall in love all over again. Despite the smoldering heat (you can’t expect much else if you’re going to the Italian capital in the middle of the summer, I know) and the never-ending groups of tourists, I always manage to enjoy the city when I visit.
My trick? Waking up early and strolling around before 10am. In the early morning hours, you can discover the city and the monuments almost tourist-free.
I found myself nearly alone in front of the beautiful Trevi fountain one morning! I also wake up at this time to get some good photographs of the city before the harsh light starts casting shadows over the streets (which is any photographer’s nightmare).
August 12, 2013
“Do you want help with that?” and Italian man asked me when I was trying to push three suitcases at the same time over a threshold at the airport. “Non, merci” I said and smiled. “I mean no, thank you. Or no, I mean no, grazie!”.
I don’t know if it was adjusting to people actually asking me if I wanted help or if it was the language that confused me the most when I arrived in Italy from Paris. But let’s just say that I adapted to both the language and the kindness quite quickly.
Almost every summer since I have been old enough to stand (and even before that) my family travels to Italy — to Terracina to be a little bit more precise. We go for the warm weather, the delicious food and the laid-back lifestyle. Terracina is located about an hour and a half south of Rome, which makes this little town a perfect escape for many Romans during summertime as well.
January 15, 2013
This year, you could spend Valentine’s day the way you usually do. Or you could go to Europe. No, really.
If you were thinking of surprising a certain special someone this Valentine’s Day (yes, even if that special someone is you), we would love to help. Book any Haven in Paris apartment over Valentine’s day and enjoy our special Valentine’s Day Romantic Getaway Package:
- Up to 40% off your Paris or London apartment rental
- Complimentary champagne & chocolates waiting for you in your very own Paris or London apartment
- 10% off massages by HiP approved massage therapists Beatrice Marzana and Desbina Collins
- 10% off on airport transfers from our recommended private drivers
- 10% off concierge services from Complete Paris for the duration of your stay
- 15-20% off cooking classes at La Cuisine Paris and Cook’n With Class
- Discounts on personalized Paris walking tours from Context Travel
An added bonus? Come a few days early and take advantage of les soldes, the twice annual city-wide fashion sale (running until February 12).
These discounts aren’t reserved exclusively for couples. Take a group of friends and make it the trip of a lifetime! Contact us today to start planning your trip.
December 18, 2012
Some people love stationery. A lot. These are the people who browse stationery stores like others do cheese shops, picking up notebooks and greeting cards, smelling, weighing, pressing the pages between their fingers, thrilled by the possibilities within. These people are often diligent list makers, brainstormers, budgeters and recorders of funny expressions overheard in the subway.
I am one of those people. I carry around a total of four notebooks with me at all times: the day planner for appointments (never, ever trust your iphone to keep up with time-zone hopping), the list journal, the ideas journal, and the diary. I have slimmed down over the years, shedding the fuzzy-heart adorned secret-keepers of my youth in favor of lighter, more “mature“ versions. Ahem. I swear.
November 14, 2012
The Dordogne river (Doni Belau)
I’m often asked why we bought the house (in France) that we did, in this tiny town whose name we can barely pronounce and that’s even harder to find on a map. What about your first love, Paris? People ask.
Well, I was fortunate enough to have a deliciously beautiful apartment in Paris for six years from which one could hear the bells of St. Sulpice. We eventually had to sell it because the value had gone up considerably and we used what we made to help pay for our children’s college educations.
October 25, 2012
Beer, frites, comics. Blah, blah, blah. No disrespect to lovers of ambers and ales, salty, fried foods, or Tintin, but there’s so much more to Brussels, capital of Belgium—capital of all of Europe—than these perennially touted attractions. Here are three lesser-celebrated reasons to hop on a train and make the 80-minute trip from Paris.
Chocolate boutique in Brussels (flavijus)
September 24, 2012
Paris (Haven in Paris)
The idea seemed too good to pass up. I’d exchange my Paris flat for a place in San Francisco for two weeks to visit family. Two whole weeks! Rent-and-hotel bill free! And we’d do it in August when no one really wants to be in Paris, anyway. I’d heard stories about fabulous swaps that didn’t end in identity or home accessories theft. With a little luck and a few well-lit interior pics, I was sure it could work for us, too. And so my search was on.
After several near-commitments that folded at the eleventh hour (“I had no idea airfare would be that expensive…” and “Off to Rome instead. Sorry!”), we swapped for a sweet little house just over the Golden Gate Bridge. It sounded perfect: Three-bedrooms with a view of Mt. Tamalpais complete with a private dock on a small saltwater lagoon.