Hunting for Houses, Beds and Photos
I can’t give too much away about the House Hunters International episode taping we did last week in Nice, but I will admit that it was one of the most fun and zaniest productions ever! “Contributor” John Garland Jones is not only a big bear of a guy, but he fills any room he’s in (as well as the camera lens) with a big, charming and endearing personality.
Most episodes have two people visiting properties with me — a couple, or two friends, or two family members, but in this case, John easily carried the load for both. This meant that it was just him and me and because of that, I had to participate in the “decision scene” to help John decide which of the three apartments he would rent — this is a highly unusual situation.
All three apartments were one-bedroom apartments located in central Nice, were under $1,000 a month rent, and give or take and about 40 square meters (430 square feet). By comparison, apartments of this kind in central Paris rent for about $1,800 a month. In Nice, they are more-likely-than-not air-conditioned, while in Paris they are more-likely-than-not NOT air-conditioned. The reason for this is because the buildings in Paris are generally older and the restrictions for what one can do on the exterior of a building, e.g. put a compressor outside, are much stricter. In addition, Nice is warmer than Paris by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit and needs AC more days a year. The funny thing is that I find Nice cooler in the summer than Paris on its hot days, because of the the sea breezes that land-locked Paris doesn’t have.
We will be taping again this week, this time in Paris. It’s a similar search for one-bedroom apartments and once again, the contributor will not have a side-kick — just little ol’ me. Again, it’s highly unusual and is now only the third instance like this of the 35 episodes in which I will have participated.
John’s episode you will find is full of surprises. We taped scenes I’d certainly never done before, so it’s sure to be loads of fun…just like John is fun to be with. Don’t ask me when it will be aired — I have no way of knowing. Once the production goes to the editing and completion process, it then has to be scheduled by the network (HGTV), and it’s all up to them. But, no worries. We’ll for sure let you know when it airs.
While I was in Nice last week, I made a special effort to get into the bed of two gentlemen…but, not at the same time as they were in it! Just to clarify, Stephen and Drew, newly-planted Niçois, expounded on the virtues of their own mattress topper with great enthusiasm after reading my stories about buying new mattresses, new toppers and new pillows, still never to have achieved a peaceful and painless night’s sleep. They claim to have gone through a similar process before finding the one that seriously made a difference and couldn’t wait to tell me about it.
They live in a magnificent duplex apartment north of the Nice Gare in a brand new building that they purchased as a shell, then renovated and decorated with impeccable taste. I felt like an intruder in their private lives by getting onto their bed, but at this stage, I will do just about anything to get a good night’s sleep without feeling like a Mack truck hit me the next morning. They didn’t seem to be bothered by my being on it and in fact, were just as anxious to show it off as I was to try it.
After lying on my back, my side and then belly, the sheer cloud-like sensation left me wanting to stay there forever. Stephen and Drew didn’t seem worried that I might never leave, but I was! Sadly, after a few minutes, I retreated and vowed to find a way to get the mattress topper to Paris. Made by Sleep Innovations, it’s a 2.5-inch gel memory foam slab and even though they purchased it at Home Depot in the U.S., the good news is that Amazon.com will ship it to France for not quite the cost of the mattress! After all I’ve spent to get a good night’s sleep, this is a small price to pay. New mattress topper, here it comes! BTW, this will make the third topper I’ve purchased, but Who’s counting? “C’est la vie,” or should I say “c’est le sommeil?”
Thursday of this week, the annual Paris Photo fair opens to the public at the Grand Palais, this one being the 22nd edition. With 168 Galleries and 31 international publishers, it’s one of the annual events I try never to miss. My obsession with collecting fine art photography began in the late ’80s in Los Angeles, when I acquired a few pieces. When we moved to France, we had the works shipped to Paris so that any furnished apartment we rented would feel more like home. That turned out to be a good idea as there were no customs charges on these personal items. One good thing to note for art collectors, or collectors of any items considered “collectibles” in the U.S., is that when they are sold, if having been owned more than 12 years, no capital gains tax is paid on the sale. In the U.S. net capital gains from selling collectibles are taxed at a maximum 28% rate!
Every year when perusing the amazing photographic works displayed at the galleries’ stands, I have an opportunity to “schmooze” with old friends from the industry I have come to know over the years who have stands at the fair or others who are collectors and just come to Paris for the pleasure of the show. It’s like “old home week” in some ways. Lots of artists will be signing their books, too. Renée Jacobs, contributor in the “Living Large in Languedoc” – Season 119, Episode 2 of House Hunters International, will be signing hers — published by Éditions Bessard — on Thursday, November 8th at Les Yeux Ouverts, stand SE20. Be sure to stop by and let her know “I sent you.”
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. To all you Americans, I beg of you to get out and vote tomorrow in the U.S. mid-term elections! We need all the help we can get to take back the America we all used to know and love. If you heard Barack Obama’s speech this past week, I think my favorite line was this: “They are telling us that the single greatest threat to America is a bunch of poor, impoverished, broken, hungry refugees 1000 miles away,” as his voice rose “incredulously, drawing scattered laughter from the crowd.” (Source: news.com.au/) And I thought about how I am also an immigrant in a foreign land. Thank goodness, France doesn’t have the same kind of close-minded view point on immigration or I’d be shaking in my boots.
P.P.S. I am offering personal one-on-one two-hour consultations in the central Los Angeles area November 20th, 21st, 23rd and 24th at a dollar rate (a 15% savings from the normal euro fee). If you are interested in booking one, please email [email protected]