While the myth can be true that the French can be the best lovers, it’s not always that simple having a successful cross-cultural relationship. In time for Valentine’s Day, Canadian author and romantic expert Lily Heise will share some of her most entertaining dating stories, chronicled in her two books.
Lily is a Canadian freelance writer and romantic expert who has been living in Paris in 2000. She is the author of two books on looking for romance in Paris and her articles and travel writing have been featured in the Huffington Post, CondéNastTraveler.com, Business Insider, Playboy.com and many others.
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The second Tuesday of every month 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
It's no secret that I love Le Marais. But, it didn't start out that way for me.Like most Americans, when we first traveled to Paris we stayed in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area where the American literary history had taken root. That was "home" in the same hotel every visit to the city until we moved here and landed in a rental apartment far from there in the 17th arrondissement.
Place Sainte Catherine, in the Marais
The apartment building on rues POITOU & SAINTONGE
Layout of the Knights Templar Temple 1734
Tour du Temple, circa 1795 (Ecole Francaise 18th century)
TWO PROTECTED SECTORS of the MARAIS
MAP by BRAUN, 1605/1607
At the time, we didn't mind the 17th. It was filled with beautiful Haussmmannian architecture and very "bourgeois," but lacked the energy and vibe of more central Paris. I found myself spending a lot of time in Le Marais where time seemed to stand still. Even on the coldest of winter days, I'd sit in the park of the Place des Vosges, reading or writing in a journal, gazing up at the brick buildings that surround the square. I would dream about how much it reminded me of Jackson Square in New Orleans, feeling very much like home.
Little did I know then that I'd end up living not too far away in the "Haut Marais" (3rd arrondissement) in a 17th-century building that had a formidable history of its own. And I've never looked back. Now, after living among architecture that has seen centuries of lives for more than 20 years, every other part of Paris feels "new" or "young" by comparison and lacks the "je ne sais quoi" of Le Marais.
Knowing how I feel about this tiny corner of Paris, Oliver Gee of The Earful Tower podcasts, has asked me to do a live walking architectural/property tour of my immediate vicinity around rue de Bretagne next Thursday on Valentine's Day. Of course, I was delighted to do so and look forward to sharing my love of my own "hood" with his audience. It's here where the oldest covered market still operates dating back to 1615 — "Les Enfants Rouge" — along rue de Bretagne (that almost got turned into a parking lot about 20 years ago..."quelle horreur!") It's here where the Knight Templars' temple was, but is today the Mairie of the 3ème, the Square du Temple and the Carreau du Temple.
We have clients who are in the midst of purchasing an apartment just a block away from me on the corner of rue Poitou and rue de Saintonge. When we all first walked into the apartment, the charm hit us in the face like a sweet cream pie. There's not a right angle in the apartment (much like my own), the floor slopes so dramatically that we felt drunk or like rolling on a sailing ship. The windows are huge and the views of the old narrow streets lined in elegant "hôtel particuliers" (townhouses) are stunning. The ceilings are well over three meters high, close to four and it's quirky as hell. The 36 square meters feels more like double that thanks to the high ceilings. We all loved it instantly.
Our Interior Architect, Martine di Mattéo, will be turning the apartment (that hasn't been touched in too many years to count) into a jewel. She knows just how to do that, without losing the integrity of the age of the building, like too many of the young designers in France tend to do. Too often, I see their quest for something contemporary, sick of feeling stuck in a time long ago, overlook the elements that give the property its true character. Oak beams get painted, parquet floors get replaced by concrete, ceilings get dropped and filled with spotlights, fireplaces are taken out and replaced with electric radiators, etc., etc., etc. It offends my very core when I see their total lack of respect of the artisans and lives that came before them.
The history of this building and many others can be found in lots of books written about Le Marais. Dating back to 1610, this particular building was constructed by Hugues Clément and Pierre Sellier, master carpenters. Certain areas of the city, such as Le Marais and the 7th arrondissement, are not governed by the Plan Local d’Urbanisme (Local Urban Planning) like the rest of the municipality, but by the PSMV, or "Les Plans de Sauvegarde et de Mise en Valeur." These sectors were cited as part of the Malraux Laws of 1962, aimed at protecting the historical inheritance and favoring its restoration and enhancement (while allowing its evolution).
The protected sector of the Marais was created in 1964. It covers 126 hectares of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements and features the exceptional architectural heritage of the aristocratic Paris of the 17th- and 18th-centuries, but also architecturally represents of the industrial activities of the 19th- and 20-centuries.
The PSMV publishes a long list of documents you might find fascinating (but I warn you, they are all in French!):
The Marais in maps: from Antiquity to the present day
During the walking tour podcast of Le Marais with Oliver Gee, and particularly of my little corner of it, we'll be talking about the differences in the architecture over the centuries: the "hôtel particuliers," the "petites maisons," and the newer "Haussmannians" and what that means to today's lifestyle. Why do some make better modern homes than others? Won't you want to know? Do join us! Click here to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jr9sX8AIzk
P.S. We have two excellent properties for sale on our listings. Visit adrianleeds.com/for-sale/ for more information. Or, if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of home ownership in France, let me know more about your needs and desires by completing this online form.
APARTMENT FOR SALE: 26 rue des Francs Bourgeois, Paris 3rd Arrondissement
The 88 square-meter apartment is in a portion of the building that was once the carriage-house of a 17th-century “Hôtel Particulier” and was designed and decorated by our illustrious interior architect, Martine di Mattéo.
The apartment is situated on three levels:
1) a ground level living room/dining room with fully-equipped kitchen with laundry/utility area,
2) a master suite on the upper level including an arched window that spans the entire length of one wall with a separate toilet, full bathroom with claw-foot tub, shower and sink and
3) a second bedroom and bath on the lower level, all which provide its occupants with a real sense of privacy.
The main entry is on the beautiful courtyard and two large mirrored windows face the street providing complete privacy.
The apartment is being sold with all the furnishings valued at 35,000€.
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