A Little Piece of Paris – One Year On

We bought our little piece of Paris in April 2015. We got the keys in June and spent our first night there on a blow-up mattress on the floor. In November we finished the renovation and were able to start using it properly. That is what I consider to be our real anniversary. One year on and there are no regrets. There…

Paris Picks – Cafe Philippe

If you find yourself on Rue de Bretagne, looking for something a bit more tranquil, cross through Square du Temple and onto Rue Duepetit-Thouars where a string of restaurants crowd the pavement of an almost traffic-free street. Tempted by the small menu of inventive sounding homemade dishes, we chose Café Philippe as our lunch spot…

The Furnishing Touches

Once the renovation of our Paris studio was complete, the fun part began – making it our own. When an apartment is only 18 square metres, everything in it has to be perfect (well, as perfect as your budget allows). In a tiny space, there is nowhere to stash plastic storage boxes, no space for…

Food, Glorious Food in Place d’Aligre

Place d’Aligre is a food-lover’s paradise where lively vendors tout fragrant fruits, glorious greens and cheery flowers. The square is filled with the perfume of whatever is in season. During our recent visit, the sweet scent of the first strawberries, the zingy tang of asparagus and the earthy aroma of morilles, fresh from the ground,…

First Time Airbnb Host

From the Understanding Complainer to the Perfect Guest, meet some of the characters who have come to stay in my Little Piece of Paris.

Parlez-Vous Français?

Do I speak French? Well I ought to. I studied it for ten years, clocked up a year in the South of France and am a regular visitor to Paris. But can I say with honesty, “oui, je parle français“? Not really. When people learn that you studied languages, or lived in another country, they typically ask,…

Why Paris?

Paris has been seducing visitors and dreamers for centuries. It has a timeless elegance, a frenetic energy. Importantly, it has a stable real estate market and an insatiable demand for central accommodation. What is it about Paris that captures so many hearts? There is the obvious: the iconic architecture; the cloud-scraping Eiffel Tower; the leafy…

Renovating a Paris Studio

Reality TV and a couple of bestselling books have given French builders a bad rep. The internet is alive with tales of renovating property in France. Some are comical – cavalier carpenters who disappear for a three hour, boozy lunch – some are horror stories of mould, rot and soaring, unbudgeted expense. My own experience was a good one. We…

Buying an Apartment in Paris

What does 100,000 euros get you on the Paris real estate market? A dark, ten square metre hovel with leaky taps and suspect neighbours, that’s what. But for 200,000 and a little more? A beautiful, beamed ceilinged studio in the heart of the historic centre. It was Ernest Hemingway who convinced me to buy something in Paris. His beautifully…