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Our Ladies in Paris

Notre Dame, Paris, from Pont de Sully

The filming of our 54th House Hunters International episode began on Saturday and will continue through tomorrow in Paris—four days, 20-something hours of footage, to boil down to a half-hour show, including commercials.

Website USTVDB reported that House Hunters International is currently the eighth most popular show on HGTV and 194th overall on TV, watched by a total number of 760,000 people (0.24% rating, up +22% from Thursday) as of the daily audience measurement on March 12, 2024. (Source)

Graph showing the ratings for House Hunters International on HGTV

Parrot Analytics has found that the audience demand for House Hunters International is 15.8 times the demand of the average TV series in the United States in the last 30 days. 2.7% of all shows in this market have this level of demand. (Source)

Chart showing the audience demand for House Hunters International on HGTV

Our “contributor” is a young Bostonian woman, Lisa Radden, who has been hankering to live overseas for more than a decade. When she took her first solo trip to Paris, she fell in love with the city. (Doesn’t it happen to everyone?) Being a huge art history “nerd” (as she described herself), Lisa was enamored by the culture, architecture and museums around the city. She knew it was the perfect place for her, but wasn’t sure how to turn her dream into a reality.

Lisa is an education technology consultant who can work remotely. Still, a move like this has its risks—leaving her stable full-time position to start work as a freelance consultant in France without that steady income to fall back on is not an easy leap to make. Plus, she’s on her own and worried that she might feel lonely and unable to make friends.

Adrian Leeds and Lisa Radden on set for a filming of a House Hunters International episode in Paris

This is something almost everyone worries about when making the move to France—making friends. During the consultations I do (almost daily), I can confidently assure them that the North American community will embrace them fully and that newcomers will make more friends than they’ve ever had before for good reason. Americans who come to France are “birds of a feather.” Those who are willing to make this kind of a move are generally well educated, well traveled, open-minded, risk-takers, politically on the left and welcome adventurers, even if there is a bit of misadventure along the way. These are traits you don’t find in the average person with whom you meet living in the U.S. or Canada and therefore you won’t have as much success making friends as you will living in France…believe it or not!

I have often encouraged our clients NOT to invite their friends and family to come visit before they arrive, to quell their fears of not making friends once on the ground in France. . They will end up with very busy lives and having made lots of friends and acquaintances. The friends and relatives from their previous lives no doubt descend on them, even the ones they didn’t know existed, and will want to be led around by the hand, interrupting their new life in France. (How many times and how often can you ascend to the top of the Tour Eiffel without losing your cool?)

As I write this, we’re in very midst of filming the episode, much of which takes place in the 5th arrondissement, not far from the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Sunday afternoon, under a light drizzle and gray skies, so typical of Paris weather, we filmed a scene walking on the Pont de Sully with a beautiful view of the eastern and back end of the cathedral.

Filming an episode of House Hunters International in Paris in the rain

Since the fire on April 15, 2019, the cathedral has been closed, but the city is actively preparing for its reopening. Two days after the fire, President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild Notre-Dame “even more beautifully” within five years. Some experts said instead it would take decades. Meanwhile, a workforce comprising carpenters, stone masons, iron-workers, and artisans specializing in around 20 other fields has been diligently restoring the medieval structure.

Just this past December 16th, 2023, Manager Laurent Ulrich, Archbishop of Paris, blessed the golden rooster of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral and it was installed on the spire that had so violently gone up in flames in 2019. The archbishop deposited the relics of St. Denys, St. Geneviève, a fragment of Christ’s crown of thorns, the names of those involved in the reconstruction and a record of the ceremony. The rooster, redesigned as a phoenix with fiery plumage, was then lifted into the Paris sky and placed at the top of the spire, marking the cathedral’s triumphant resurgence from the ashes. The ceremony can be viewed on YouTube.

Over the past week, each time I passed the cathedral, more and more of the spire has been revealed, the scaffolding having been taken away bit by bit. Now, it’s there in all its glory, with the rooster proudly at the top as it had been before.

Posing the Golden Rooster on the spire of Notre Dame in Paris

During the Paris Olympics in July and August, when the city will welcome millions of visitors for the Summer Games, the cathedral will remain closed to the public. Significant portions of the cathedral are still enveloped in scaffolding, a process that may require weeks, if not months, to dismantle. Cathedral officials noted that the spire alone was shielded by approximately 70,000 pieces of scaffolding, totaling an impressive 600 tons.

In a powerful symbol of resilience and renewal, a new golden rooster, redesigned as a phoenix with fiery plumage, was installed atop the spire in December, marking the cathedral’s triumphant resurgence from the ashes. Additional restoration initiatives include the installation of an anti-fire misting system beneath the cathedral’s roof and the meticulous recreation of the original cross.

To follow the reconstruction of Notre-Dame, visit the official website.

The House Hunters International episode will take about four to six months before the network airs the finished product, and by then the scaffolding on Notre-Dame may be greatly reduced. Fingers crossed.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with Lisa Radden in the rain in ParisAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with Lisa in the rain

P.S. We have one House Hunters International episode “in the can,” that was filmed, but hasn’t’ yet aired, and I’m filming three episodes between now and April 25th—Paris, Bordeaux, Biot! So stay tuned for what’s to come! Visit our website page for more information.

North American Expats in France Financial Forum 2024 with Dunhill Financial and The Adrian Leeds GroupP.P.S. Be sure to register now for a very informative and important North American Expat Financial Forum with Brian Dunhill of Dunhill Financial and Jonathan Hadida of Hadida Tax Advisors, this Thursday, March 21st, on the topic of: What you Should Know About Taxes Before You Move to France!

The times are 7 p.m. France CET/CEST – 10 a.m. PST/PDT – 2 p.m. EST/EDT and note the current time difference as France has not yet gone to daylight saving time…so the east coast is only five hours different and the west coast is only eight hours different! For more information and to register, click here.


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