FOR SALE: 11-13 rue François Miron, 4th Arrondissement
Inside these famous 15th-century half-timbered houses (which were two combined to make one apartment building), the hallways have been modernized and an elevator added. The apartment, a studio of a mere 15 square meters (161.5 square feet) on the second floor (European, therefore two flights up), has exposed beams and half-timbered walls.
Completely transformed only three years ago by Interior Architect Martine di Mattéo, this "bijou" lacks nothing and while furnished contemporary in style, is still oozing with old-world charm. Located on the second floor of this centuries-old building (yes, with an elevator!) just steps from the Hôtel de Ville and the River Seine, it has one big window overlooking the courtyard (quiet and peaceful), beautiful exposed beams and every amenity you would need or want for a few days, weeks, months or a lifetime.
We suspected we should allow for a big turn-out at yesterday's Après Midi, and it was. It was the second time I've presented myself since we began the networking gatherings in 2003. The event is designed for our readers to meet each other as well as to entertain and inform. It manages to accomplish that as we've had many fascinating speakers over the years and lots of fun conversation. Many friends have been made at "Après Midi" -- a great way to meet members of the North American community who are lovers of Paris and France, whether they live here or just visiting. Put it on your calendar for the second Tuesday every month except August, from 3 to 5 p.m.
1. "Finding Happiness in Paris" - Season 68, Episode 2
"For Lisa Anselmo, visiting Paris has always felt like home away from home. So when her mother passed away she looked to France for rejuvenation. Now, she's convinced that finding the perfect apartment in her favorite arrondissement could bring her some needed joy. She's seeking la vie en rose but Parisian prices could put a damper on her dream. With space coming at a premium price, Lisa will have to find the sweet spot between size and location when House Hunters International goes to Paris, France."
Lisa Anselmo herself was there and both of us were crying at the end of the show when she cries on camera about the pain and grief of losing her mother to cancer. I couldn't help, but get choked up, and then glanced over at Lisa who was teary eyed, too.
2. "Becoming a Buyer in Nice, France" - Season 55, Episode 1
"Scott Baker always wanted to live in France. When he discovered a job opening in Nice, he leapt at the chance to fulfill his French fantasy. But the apartment he rents has been falling apart around him. Not ready to give up on his dream, Scott's decided to purchase his own home in Nice and is leaning on Nice-native and close friend Clara for advice and assistance from Adrian Leeds to find just the right place. Clara's eagle eyes are spotting potential pitfalls in every home, and Scott will have to decide if he's willing to renovate or spend to get the perfect property when House Hunters International goes to Nice."
This episode got a lot of laughs, because Scott's French friend, Clara, never stops finding fault with everything while I, as the agent, am pointing out the positive and letting Clara know how difficult she is making my job! Since Americans, more than most, see the positive side before the negative, eyes were rolling as Clara points out how the sea view from the balcony just isn't perfect enough or how fixing a light fixture could turn into a disaster. Poor adorable Clara hadn't even realized herself how critical was her eye!
3. Perturbed in Paris - Season 2, Episode 11
"After years of visiting and falling in love with Paris, Daryl and Angie are finally taking the plunge and purchasing their Paris dream home. But while they share a love of the City of Lights, they don't share similar tastes. With Daryl wanting old Bohemian charm and Angie pushing for modern and airy, they clash from the start of their search. After finally picking a house, they entrust a local contractor to oversee the renovations while they attend to business matters in the United States. A series of unexpected issues mar the renovation, but the biggest challenge comes in attempting to reconcile their vastly different styles."
This episode was one of very few "renovation" shows HGTV produced, and airs for one hour (with commercials). The "local contractor" in the show is our own Martine di Mattéo who has turned many a "sow's ear into a silk purse" for our clients...taking property that has been neglected for more than 50 years and reconstructing and decorating them into a palace...as she did for Daryl and Angie. She has a large role in this episode, and we wish she would be able to do more, but the network stopped producing the "renovation" shows, for what reason, we don't know. This show is really fun watching how Daryl, who is so averse to doing the renovation, ends up in the middle of its demolition busting down walls himself, then revels in the magnificent home that was created for him by Ms. di Mattéo.
After the shows aired, and we laughed and cried a lot, the audience asked a few questions. It was surprising that most of the questions were not about the taping of the show, but about real estate in general. I did, however, explain how the taping is done: that it's a recreation of what happened in reality; that it's staged, but not scripted and that the "contributors" and the agents are real -- as real as I am.
NY Times Article Illustration by Juliette Borda
In a recent New York Times article, "Who Doesn’t Love to Hate-Watch HGTV?" by Ronda Kaysen, it touts HGTV as the fourth rated "in prime time viewership among basic cable channels in February, meaning if you weren’t watching Fox News, MSNBC or maybe 'Suits' on USA, there was a good chance you were tuned to HGTV." Over 250 comments were posted to that article, including one from "Miriam," who wrote: "Second, has anyone noticed that the so called real estate agent in Paris, Adria Leeds, recently showed property to a couple near Montpelier, 300 miles away. How likely is that? Is she someone’s aunt or something?"
Well, Miriam, guess you're wrong! We do work with property all over France. And I'm not anyone's aunt...or something! I got a good laugh at all the misconceptions people have about the show, but they keep watching, don't they? Kaysen's article title is so true...it's the show everyone either loves to hate or hates to love, but either way, they're tuned in and the audience is getting bigger all the time.
I'm filming another show in May, this time in Bordeaux...and there are more on the horizon! If you want to be a "contributor" -- a star of your own episode, and recently rented or purchased a home in France, do let me know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, don't forget that our true vocation in life is to help people realize their dream to live and invest in France, not star in reality TV shows!
P.S. For those of you in Southern California, I'll be in Los Angeles and open to meeting with clients for two-hour property consultations in person between April 30th and May 4th. Special rate $350. To book your consultation, please email me.
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