July 8, 2014
You know the story. Disillusioned ad exec flees rainy London for the sunshine and lavender fields of Provence. Hilarity ensues in the shape of a dilapidated stone house, a village populated by idiosyncratic Frenchmen and lots of good food and wine.
Indeed, Peter Mayle’s Provence seduced many dreamers to set off in search of their own little piece of France.
And as it turns out, I’m one of them.
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.
January 28, 2014
When we decided to move to Paris, one of the things I was most excited about was decorating my own Parisian apartment. It would be classic Haussmannian with herringbone floors, marble mantels, high ceilings and moldings – the works.
Scrolled iron balconies and a rooftop view were also on the wanted list. After a few weeks of scouring (and drooling over) listings from afar, I fell hard for an appartement familial in the 7ème. We negotiated with the rental agent and sealed the deal even before laying eyes on our future home.
It was better than I’d imagined: a light-filled double salon and a killer view of the Dome des Invalides, even a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in all its iconic beauty. But the fun was just beginning. It was now time to decorate.
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.
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.
February 24, 2012
After many horrendously unsuccessful attempts at trying to find my first pied-à-terre in Paris, I had one last shot before I would literally be living in the metro. My lead was a long one — a friend of a very distant acquaintance who could show me her place on the very last day of my Paris apartment search trip. On my way over, I practiced feigning excitement over the minimalistic lifestyle I seemed destined for, as moving back home couldn’t win out over my storybook fantasy of living in Paris, no matter how bleak my accommodations might be.
I walked into the courtyard and started the 50-stair climb to the apartment up a narrow, twisting wooden staircase that leaned to one side. I was sure that after drinking enough wine, I would hardly notice the sideways slant.
January 26, 2012
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.
January 19, 2012
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!
PS: and wouldn’t this make the most darling Valentine’s day retreat…
January 10, 2012
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?
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.
December 16, 2011
As soon as our timetable lets us go, my husband and I move from our base in Amsterdam to our tiny apartment in Paris.
We’ve lived here in Paris part time for more than 4 years now, but I still discover new places, neighborhoods, and restaurants every single time we go on a stroll. Paris is inexhaustible when it comes to surprising me in any unexpected ways.
My dear friend, stylist, photographer and author Pia Jane Bijkerk, used to live here too, and she wrote a wonderful guide that everyone should have when they go to Paris. It’s a little book that takes you on a tour of Paris’ best shops and ateliers for handmade goods. So that’s right up my alley, of course.