Air dates: Tuesday, October 22 11:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, October 23 2:30 a.m. ET
A wine connoisseur (Christine Campbell) moves with her family (Dave Small and their daughter, McKenzie) to Epernay, France, in the heart of the Champagne region. They consider the options between the sprawling vineyard countryside and the bustling town center, but there's no easy answer as they decide what's best for their 8-year-old daughter.
Adrian on House Hunters International, on Instagram
I'm in Nice taping our first episode of Mediterranean Life, a spin-off of HGTV's House Hunters International. The "contributor" is one of our clients, Donna K., who purchased a one-bedroom apartment a block from the beach that needed complete renovation. Working with our associate designer and her contractor, the apartment has been transformed into an absolute jewel — a really stunning job to combine classic appointments such as molding and antique furnishings with contemporary features, such as a large walk-in glass shower with rain-head and a fully equipped kitchen open to the living area.
The storyline of the show is how our client, with her sister Deb, to help her make decisions, is seeking an apartment with a sea view that screams of "France" and the "French Riviera." We will visit three properties, as is the usual format of the show: hers, one overlooking the Old Port and a third one in the neighboring enclave of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Yes, I hate to burst your bubble, but the show is not taped in "real time." In fact, that's impossible because permissions to film must be achieved all along the way — a feat not easy in France where the French treasure their privacy. (They are loathe to give permission to invade their space and publicize their lives.)
Every "reality" show you see is really "fiction based on reality" for this reason, so just know that TV is entertainment and there's a price to pay for that privilege. That doesn't change anything about the story. It's as real as it gets every single time, even if we're recreating what happened a bit in the past.
House Hunters is 20 years old and ranks among the top 10 of all cable TV shows. My first taping of the international version, now in its 147th season, was in 2006. At the end of this month, I'll be taping my 40th episode, again here in Nice. The statistics seem nuts in looking back at it. Audiences love it because it highlights Americans living the dream of moving abroad, leaving the Trump administration behind. Those are the kinds of clients we have.
In a recent article in the Washington Post about the show, I learned that two friends who grew up obsessing over it have created an Instagram account, dedicated entirely to showcasing closed-captioned screen shots from the show which has nearly 12,000 followers. I found a few from our shows in their gallery.
Nice Old Port
Ferry in the Harbor
Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat
Mediterranean Life follows a slightly different format than House Hunters...the agent allows the contributors to visit the properties on their own without the agent to guide them through the property, pointing out the plusses and minuses. This threw me for a loop when they first asked me to do the show, because it's what I think I do best! But, how could I say no when I hadn't even tried it out?
So, as I write this, Donna and Deb are visiting an apartment at the Old Port, the cameras are following them around as they discover it on their own. It has a view on the port, but it's not a typical view. I won't spoil it by giving away what that is, so you will just have to watch it when it airs! Before I left them, I had a chance at least to point out a few things, such as..."Remember, this apartment is under your budget and so you have money to 'schmaltz it up," and..."What you're buying is what you can't change, not what you can change," etc., etc.
The third property located in Villefranche-sur-Mer, just a few minutes drive east of Nice, is set for taping tomorrow. It will have a really beautiful view of the port there (one of the deepest natural harbors along the Riviera) and Cap-Ferrat. Villefranche-sur-Mer is one of the coast's most beautiful enclaves, so it is sure to be seductive...but, it's not Nice where there is more activity for the expat on a daily basis.
I believe in living dead center, unless you wish to be a hermit with little social life! There is so much to be had by living in the heart of Nice, that it's hard to imagine being dependent on public transport or even a car to enjoy it all as easily. The benefit of being central is to be able to walk in minutes to meet up with your friends or cross them on your path.
The article in the Washington Post fascinated me because it quotes Time Magazine for blaming Burton Jablin, head of HGTV’s then-parent company Scripps Networks, as one of its “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis," helping "inflate the real estate bubble by teaching viewers how to extract value from their homes,” while shows like “House Hunters” gave “the housing game glamour and gusto.” Home ownership has always been an American dream, but it should be everyone's dream. Home ownership is an investment in your future, that provides security of always having a roof over your head, and in most circumstances, leads to asset growth. I am the first to encourage a renter to stop paying someone else's mortgage, if they can! The show offers insights into the process and incentive to those who think they can't accomplish that to make an effort and prove they can.
In reality, when working with a client to find a property, we go through a very similar process as the TV show mirrors. We might visit many more than three properties...sometimes as many as 25 or 30 if we have to...but the decision making still comes down to the basics process of elimination as well as what might be "love at first sight":
1. Does the property fit your budget and financing plans? 2. How does the location suit you, for now and for the future? 3. Can you live with the things you can't change? 4. Will you be able to resell it as easily and quickly as you bought it? 5. Will it appreciate in value?
After all that, when we've answered all these questions, then I want to know if the property is "sexy?" What that means is if there is something about it that trumps everything else...that which makes it a jewel in your life. It could be the view, it could be the big terrace, it could be the centuries-old building oozing with charm...it could be just about anything that makes it special for you. Don't forget this aspect as it's the heart that counts. That's what life is all about anyway. It's not about how much money you have, or elaborate it is, but how it makes you feel. If you lose sight of that, you lose sight of the value of living.
Of course, that's my point of view. Take it to heart or not!
P.S. We have a special Facebook page where you can express yourself and keep up on our latest episodes of House Hunters International...so please do! Be sure to LIKE the page and share it with your friends.
One-Bedroom Apartment on Avenue Gambetta in Nice!
Just at the corner of avenue Victor Hugo and avenue Gambetta in Nice, where the new East-West Tramway will have a station, in a beautiful Art Deco building, is this superb 48.11 m2 two-room one-bedroom apartment with a west-facing balcony in perfect condition, fully renovated with high-quality amenities. It is composed of an entrance hall with an independent toilet, living room, fully equipped kitchen, and a large bedroom with bathroom.
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