A Camera Eye on the Hunt for a Paris Pied–Terre
In the chaotic midst of the annual “Brocante de Printemps de la rue de Bretagne” (Spring Rummage Sale on rue de Bretagne), the three-man Los Angeles-based crew landed Wednesday to film a new episode based in Paris for HGTV’s House Hunters International featuring American “pied-à-terre” buyers.
Three good-looking and personable guys (including one Frenchman who transplanted himself in Los Angeles many years ago to develop his videotography career) secured the ‘talent’ of Mary Schiller and her husband, Jeff Ballinger, New York residents who came for a whirlwind search (only six days) to find a pied-à-terre that would make the perfect ‘home-away-from-home’ and a profitable vacation rental on a small (by Paris standards) budget.
For three solid days from morning till early evening, with me wearing the ‘hat’ of “Property Finder Extraordinaire,” producer David Stein (whose enthusiasm and funny personality filled all the apartment rooms) recorded the true story – how “M” and “J” trekked from one apartment to another, some in total shambles and others renovated to perfection, to find the one that suited all their needs.
We visited apartments in Montmartre, home to “Amélie Poulain,” Toulouse Lautrec and others (18th Arrondissement), the “Haut Marais” (Upper Marais, 3rd Arrondissement where I live and love) and the well-touristed “Bas Marais” (Lower Marais, 4th Arrondissement). The camera followed us everywhere and passers-by gawked at the spectacle of the ‘Hollywood’ scene on the streets of Paris.
Maneuvering around the Brocante was no easy task, but photographer (and daughter) Erica Simone caught these funny moments in Paris time worth a chuckle or two. I had my own chuckles stopping at the end of one of the long days of filming to have a “Kir” at Place Colette with author of the new book, “Hungry for Paris,” Alexander Lobrano. While it might rival my own “Insider Paris Guide to Good Value Restaurants,” Alec has truly captured what he believes are the city’s 102 best restaurants, along with my sincere adoration and affection.
Then, all while the camera was rolling, I was also wearing the hat of ‘client,’ busy negotiating on a pied-à-terre in New York which my daughter could eventually call home, decorated in a style that amazingly resermbled our own Paris apartment. We offered well over asking price, but once the film crew had packed up and headed back to Los Angeles, we learned there had been 15 offers on the apartment, some of which were much higher than our own. (In France, an offer of ‘asking price’ must morally be accepted, so bidding wars rarely happen!)
So, here we go again flying back to New York to find for ourselves the perfect pied-à-terre in just six days, recreating what M and J experienced here in Paris with no time to lose and everything to gain. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch a few ‘zzz’s’ on the flight over and snag an apartment to call her own.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. I hope to see you tomorrow at Parler Paris Après Midi 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. We’ll have lots to talk about. See parlerparis.com/apresmidi.html for more details.
P.P.S. Mary Schiller attended a Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference before setting out on the apartment search. Nothing can better prepare you for concluding a successful endeavor. Don’t miss one of the upcoming conferences: London June 22nd, San Francisco July 26-27 and Paris October 11-12.