Embracing the Differences

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I am always surprised at the feedback we receive regarding the difference in apartment living in Paris in relation to a more modern city.  Almost exclusively, these comments relate to space and size.  Essentially, we travel to experience something different that we can experience at home.  Apartment rentals in Paris is a meaningful way to not only have convenience of a kitchen and a great location, it is the opportunity to experience the historic City as a local.

Space is at a premium.  I’ve highlighted some of the adjustments in expectations that travelers should consider when renting an apartment in Paris based on common questions from our guests.

 

 

Why is the elevator so small or why is there no elevator?  Elevators are fairly recent updates to almost all of our apartment buildings. Architects were forced to use any available common space for elevators so almost all are exceedingly small and in some apartment buildings impossible to add.

 

Why does the bed size seem different?  Because it is!  Keep in mind, US bed sizes slightly differ from European ones so pay close attention to the dimensions if you are a stickler about your mattress measurements.  European queen is 160cm x 200cm and a European double bed measures 140cm x 190cm.

 

The building has “1940” noted on the exterior of the building so why isn’t it more updated?  Façade imprints that have the architect’s name and date are misleading to a lot of us.  Remember, the date on the building exterior notes when the façade was added, not when the building was built.  Of course, all buildings predate the façade and often by many decades.

 

Why am I inconvenienced by maintenance on the exterior or interior of the building? The obvious answer is old buildings require up keep.  The more nuanced answer is that the French government is a huge fan of unfunded mandates to feed their economy. There target is almost exclusively property owners. For example, every year a new government mandate will be required of apartment owners such as mandatory updating of plumbing pipes in the buildings, restoration of all windows and encasing elevators in glass.  Scaffolding is assembled on the exterior of each building every 25 or 10 years for obligatory pressure washing depending on the location.  These are all government requirements that apartment owners must pay for personally and have no choice in scheduling or length of repair.

 

Why is there a delay in some appliances or my electronics?  Electricity is fragile and connectivity varies based on apartment building updates.  Some apartments are hindered by the electrical updates (or lack thereof) in the building itself.  An apartment owner can update his or her individual apartment however, the building itself may not have electrical or line updates.  This situation requires a deep breath, a possible modem reboot or a visit to an Internet café.

 

Why is there no clothes dryer?  It is very common in Paris for apartments to only have a washer and no dryer.  Dryers use a lot of electricity and take up a lot of space.  At times, there are 2 in 1 units that serve as both the washer and dryer.  When there is a dryer, it is a requirement to manually empty a drainage sleeve found even in the most up to date units.

 

Overall, it is such a privilege to enjoy the history of the City and the incredible architecture found there. By embracing the differences visitors can come to a better understanding of the beautiful culture of Paris!  Bon voyage!

5 reasons Paris is the capital of fashion

Versace-45-Avenue-Montaigne-Paris-new-store-concept-568x378

1.Natural style

It is no secret that the Parisians have mastered the art of subtle yet refined style. Whether their garde-robe is composed of a handful of basics or designer gowns the Parisians always look the part. It is that balance between simplicity and sophistication, how  to look classy in a pair of jeans and a simple back coat that grants them the title of best dressed.

2. History

Ever since the 17th century with the influence of King Louis XIV, the ‘Sun King’ France has stood out in terms of style and fashion. Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, the list of out sanding French designers is extensive. Between the 17th and the 19th century the finest luxury textiles could be found in France, so it comes with no surprise that a great deal of tailors took residency in Paris and the haute couture industry flourished upon the street of “Rue de la Paix”.

3. Fashion week

Although Fashion week divides its time between London, Milan, New York and Paris the later is and will always be the high light of them all, the grand final.

 4. Head Quarters

Couture houses such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Céline, Balenciaga,  Christian Dior, Chloé, Lanvin, Kenzo and Hermès have their headquarters in Paris, setting the level of style on out on the streets at its highest.

5. Shopping

Avenue Montaigne, Rue de la Paix, Place Vendome or Le Marais for a little lower key shopping, the streets of Paris hosts all the high end brands and designers you can think of in a unique and romantic setting that can not be seconded.

 

The Fooding guide 2015

The French gastronomical guide Le Fooding has just published its annual list of best restaurants 2015. Amongst them you will find “Trois fois plus de Piment” ( Three times more chili ), a noodle joint where you can chose how hot you want your dish to be on a scale of 1 to 5 or HERO that boast one of the best fried chicken and Kimchi in Paris.
The guide was founded in 2000, the name “Fooding” comes from the contraction of the words Food and Feeling. According to Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker, the Fooding is to cuisine what the French New Wave was to French Cinema. The hidden goal was to Americanize French food without becoming American, just as the New Wave, back in the fifties and sixties, was about taking in Hollywood virtues without being Hollywoodized—taking in some of the energy and optimism and informality that the French still associate with American movies while re-imagining them as something distinctly French.
Here are six places to be discovered with an eager appetite!
Trois fois plus de piment  >>> http://goo.gl/E15vWm
Le Clarence >>> http://goo.gl/yqA5RO
Le bon Saint Pourcain >>>http://goo.gl/5bqgca
Fooding

Christmas bells are ringing!

Christmas is coming!  And with it all those warm & cosy things that make this season so special.
During this magical time the Avenue des Champs Élysées is shimmering with a thousand lights and the Grand Boulevards boutique fronts will hypnotise you with their stunning installations. Its the time of year to go and sip a spiced wine at the café Saint Regis on L’île Saint Louis and take a stroll through the Christmas market of Notre Dame. And for those excitedly awaiting Santa’s arrival, 15 old fashioned merry-go-rounds have been installed throughout the city and are free for all children.

In December The city of lights has never shone so bright, we hope you have a magical time!

A few links:

List of Christmas markets in Paris: http://goo.gl/ImdPt9

List of Christmas Carrousels ( Merry-go-rounds): http://goo.gl/F3q1Fw

The Café Saint Regis : http://www.cafesaintregisparis.com/

The Davis Moon Project

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As you may already know, Take me to Paris fully supports The Davis Moon Project, in fact ten percent of all profits go Directly to the Davis moon’s primary school and literacy efforts in Ethiopia.

That is why this week part of the Take me to Paris team is in Ethiopia, where they are currently doing some amazing work bringing basic medical supplies for the school including a new stethoscope, thermometer, antiseptic materials, eye drops, ear drops, ibuprofen, and antibiotics as well as school materials for the orphans, new uniforms for the eight new teachers, and four new blackboards for the classrooms. During this mission they also brought shoes for all the children of the school. This may sound quite basic yet it truly means the world to these kids who, for the most of them would be out on the streets with no further hope of education if it weren’t for this school. 

 

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So we really want to thank the owners, guests and donors who make this project possible and help us bring health and literacy to these amazing students.

The children and teachers here are so grateful and it is immensely touching to see the direct impact this project brings to all of them. 

 

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If you would like to learn more about the Davis Moon Project or make a donation please visit the links bellow:

http://davismoonproject.org/

https://www.gofundme.com/cs8h4ufe

 

Thanks to all of you!

Take That, Terrorism! 7 Ways to Travel Without Fear

We wanted to share this great article published on www.wendyperrin.com, that really deals with the anxieties we all have about the terrorist attacks these days. 

 

The terrorist attacks in Paris underscore that we’re living in a world where anything can happen anywhere at any time, in a Paris theater, in a Madrid train station, in a hotel in Mumbai, at a shrine in Bangkok, in the London Tube, in a nightclub in Bali, at a running race in Boston, in a skyscraper in Manhattan…. The answer is not to stop traveling or to avoid huge swaths of the globe out of a misperception that your risk is greater there than anyplace else. The answer is to keep traveling, to make friends around the world, and to be a thoughtful ambassador for your country.

Of course, while your head may be telling you that, your gut may be apprehensive. You may be making travel plans, or trying to, and you can’t help but wonder: If I go, what is the risk that I will get caught in a terrorist incident? How do I minimize that risk? If I can’t minimize it, how do I get over my fear?

I believe the solution is to put your risk in perspective. Here’s how:

1. Grasp how miniscule the statistical probability is of getting caught in a terrorist attack abroad.

According to the U.S. State Department, the number of U.S. citizens killed overseas by incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013 was 350.  If you’re thinking home is safer, compare that number with the 3,030 killed in the U.S. by terrorism during the same period.  In terms of street crime and gun violence, most of the U.S. cities we live in are statistically more dangerous than the places we visit abroad.  Your risk of being killed in a car crash (one in 19,000), drowning in your bathtub (one in 800,000), or being struck by lightning (one in 5.5 million) far exceed your risk of dying from terrorism (one in 20 million).

2. Don’t confuse the probability of a terrorist attack with the probability of becoming the victim of a terrorist attack.  

Is it virtually certain that there will be another terrorist attack in Europe in the next 12 months? Yes. Does that translate into a high degree of risk for the individual traveler to Europe? No.

3. Know where the real dangers lie.

When planning a vacation, we tend to worry more about spectacular risks whether a terrorist attack or an epidemic of norovirus on a cruise ship than about boring risks like, say, overexposure to the sun, even though one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Remember that the single biggest cause of death for Americans traveling overseas is motor vehicle accidents.

4. Understand the reasons why your fear of a terrorist attack is out of proportion to the risk.

There are psychological reasons why we are more afraid of terrorist attacks than logic would dictate. We’re more afraid of risks that are new and unfamiliar than of those we’ve lived with for a long time (e.g., heart disease, which kills one in 467 Americans annually).  We’re more afraid of risks that kill us in particularly gruesome ways say, a plane crash, a shark attack, or the Ebola virus than in mundane ways. We’re less afraid of risks we feel we have some control over, such as skiing and driving, even if it’s only the illusion of control. (Most people think their driving is safer than it actually is. We’re all one text away from death on the road.)  We’re more afraid of human-made dangers than of those with natural causes, such as solar radiation or earthquakes. We’re more afraid of risks that are highly publicized, especially on television, and those that involve spectacular events. One incident with multiple deaths has a much greater impact than many incidents each involving a single death. That is one reason why we fear plane crashes more than car crashes (even though the latter are far more likely).

5. Don’t focus so much on unlikely risks that you ignore common risks that are far more likely to hurt you.

Frightened people make dangerous choices. As an example, after 9-11, people chose to drive rather than to fly.  As another example, cruisegoers may be so focused on washing their hands frequently in order to avoid norovirus that they forget to reapply their sunscreen.  Or, here’s a personal example: When I was in Istanbul shortly after 9-11, I opted for a small, locally owned hotel in a quiet part of town far from the U.S. Consulate. I figured a Western chain near the main square, or a hotel next to the Consulate, was more likely to be a terrorist target. But every night I kept having to hail a taxi to that small hotel, and the drivers kept getting lost en route–one even got a flat tire and left me on the side of the road and it was dark on that inconspicuous street in a quiet part of town. My point is: The miles it took to reach my hotel every night raised my risk more than the likelihood of a terrorist attack at a Western chain near the Consulate would have.

6. Appreciate that what’s bothering you is not risk itself but your uncertainty as to the degree of it.

The problem you face as you try to plan a vacation is that you don’t know what your risk is or how safe one country is versus another. We try to weigh the risk of one destination over another by looking at the historical record of violent incidents there. What’s tricky right now is that we don’t know how relevant the historical record is. Will the future be different than the past?  We don’t know.  Even when you can’t know the degree of risk, though, you can…

7. Lessen those risks you do have some control over.

You can say to yourself: “What is the likelihood of the situation affecting my trip? Pretty tiny.” And you can lessen those risks you do have some control over.  You can drive very carefully on your way to the airport.

 

You can follow Wendy Perrin on Facebook and Twitter @wendyperrin and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

 

Weekend Five

Le très particulier
Le très particulier

 

Paris is slowly coming back to life, along with all its amazing venues.

Here are a few great spots to have a good coffee, a cocktail or a Sunday Brunch.

Le très particulier

Paris’s best kept secret garden, great for it’s Sunday brunch and good cocktails (please note you need to book in advance)

http://hotel-particulier-montmartre.com/#!/restaurant-bar

La Tarte

For a real French quiche, pies and more!

http://latarte.fr/

La Fidélité

For a great meal, good wine and a superb decor

http://lafidelite.paris/

Gravity bar

The new up and coming Cocktail bar in town

https://www.facebook.com/gavitybar/

Holybelly

For amazing coffee and equally amazing seasonal food

https://www.facebook.com/holybellycafe/?fref=ts