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Bonjour! I’m Erin.
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I could do this all day: find adorable, teeny apartments in Paris (and honestly, I mostly do, as evidenced by all these posts) and daydream about furnishing them and writing in them and swooning around pretending I’m French. Behold today’s find: this charming studio on the Rue Saint Gilles in the 3eme. People complain about the real estate market in Paris, and I can understand the financial side of their gripes (this apartment is 240ft² and is $400k!), but either I need to be a real estate agent because I have the magic touch when it comes to finding so many apartments, or there isn’t as dire a shortage of real estate as people make it out to seem. I love this one, even if I’m undecided when it comes to those ceiling beams. I love that they are historical and original to the space, but they make the room feel smaller somehow (an impossible feat, given that it’s a closet), don’t you think?
Unlike the last apartment I shared, this one is entirely unfurnished in the listing photos. A blank slate, if you will. I couldn’t resist mentally decorating it a bit. Small space decorating is infinitely more fun and challenging; everything has to be multi-use and thoughtfully arranged.
I’d stick a narrow wardrobe in the nook behind the bathroom, and keep things mostly neutral and bright, especially with that gorgeous Degas print. A desk in front of the window, and a comfy chair to mope in when writer’s block sets in, and we’re good to go. Now all I have to do is come up with $400k. Anyone feeling generous?
I really thought I’d written about this tiny Paris apartment before, given how frequently I pull it up in my bookmarks folder and sigh over it. Located on Rue Lambert in Montmartre, this 19m² (200ft²) studio is only €830 a month. It’s been entirely updated but is still absolutely charming.
The only thing I’d change is that awful desk chair by the window (though I am completely in love with the fact that it has a dedicated writing nook!) and maybe the duvet cover, for something more fluffy and white and neutral. And those walls are begging for some artwork, or maybe a old-school moodboard for writing inspiration. Paris apartments, even when this tiny, almost always have a washing machine. Isn’t that amazing and convenient? I’ve lived in five apartments in my lifetime between my childhood home and our current condo, and not one (NOT ONE!) had a washing machine. None of them were in Montmartre either, come to think of it…
This apartment, of an Art Director and her Architect husband, in Paris made me have little gasps of delight. The building is located in the 14eme arrondissement on Boulevard Raspail, and was home to the studio of Pablo Picasso between 1912 and 1913. The couple also use the apartment as an exhibition space for occasional art showings.
via Sarah Skinner for Freunde von Fruenden
A chic, artistic couple reminiscent of characters in my book (he’s even part Spanish just like the entirely fictional Andres). Windows for days. Artistic history. Be right back, dying.
Pardon my brevity today, but it’s been an emotionally draining few days. I almost wasn’t going to post anything today, but then I realized the antidote to how sad things have been off-line was most definitely this little bright spot of news: I finally found an apartment for my upcoming trip to Paris. After hours of searching every night for weeks, making spreadsheets and scouring AirBNB relentlessly for something in Montmartre, charming but not old, well-equipped, with original details, and under $150 a night, this amazing place turned up. We honestly must have looked at close to 500 apartments, maybe more, but nothing felt “right” until this one.
Come on with those chevron floors and all that gorgeous sunlight! Does it get more classically Parisian than this? It’s on Rue Caulaincourt, near Rue Lepic, and close to the Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro stop. It’s a quick 5 minute walk to Sacre Coeur, and close to all those tiny, windy side-streets Montmartre is famous for. It has a huge kitchen and a huge bathroom (I can’t tell you how many apartments we rejected because we’re snobby Americans and didn’t want a hand-held shower nozzle) and Boyfriend is really excited to make dinner (I don’t know, he’s weird. I’m happy to let Parisians cook for me). I loved the AirBNB experience we had in Bruges, so it was an obvious choice over a hotel this time in Paris.
As usual, Paris is getting me through.
January 10, 2013 / Travel /
Happy New Year! I ended up making it to midnight by some stroke of magic, though the half bottle of Moscato I had at dinner didn’t help. I slept for an obscene 10 and a half hours to make up for my raging debauchery (laying on the sofa), and I’m starting 2013 feeling refreshed and lazy. How was your NYE celebration? Tell me it was wild and that someone out there knows how to party.
I’ll be in Paris in a little over two months (!!!!), so there is a lot of apartment hunting going on. Last time, we stayed in two fabulous hotels in the 17eme, but since that wiped out all of Boyfriend’s hotel points, we’re doing what we did in Bruges on the same trip and renting a furnished apartment through AirBNB. Of course, this is inspiring tons of “What if I lived in Paris in a tiny apartment?” fantasies. I’m going to start a new series on the blog this year, wherein I find teeny tiny apartments and furnish them as a way to work out my intense desire to actually make it a reality (hopefully one day it will be).
Today, we’re looking at this tiny apartment in the 17eme on Rue Des Acacias. It’s a 6th floor studio, taking up all of 13m², or 139ft². I adore small spaces; I think they are cosy and romantic and way more fun to decorate because of their size constraints than something, say, bigger than a closet. Let’s take a look:
Typical Parisian window, check. Wood floors, check. Bathroom with a toilet and shower that aren’t out in the hallway? Check. Hideous kitchen tile I would paint over or slap some white contact paper on? Check. But the apartment is perfect. Or it could be perfect, if I could get my hands on it. It’s enough room for me to eat, sleep, and write comfortably. And the piece de resistance? It’s only $643 a month!
Here’s how I would decorate:
That ugly sofa bed needs some new sheets and a crisp white duvet set. I’d swap out that sad tv stand by the window and postage-stamp-sized television for a vintage-y dresser for added storage, and I’d take out the paper lantern on the ceiling and hang a glamourous chandelier instead. Same goes for the mismatched folding chairs and table. A bistro-esque table and chairs would be much more charming in that corner. On that window sill I’d place a small radio and a set of bud vases. While I love the wood floors, a big cream colored rug would add more light and softness to the space. All that’s left to do is acquire some sweet artwork (pastel, watercolors) from the many vendors along the Seine or at Les Puces to hang on the wall and really personalize the space. Otherwise, for under $1000 in stuff that can mostly be purchased at IKEA, the studio would get an entire makeover.
What do you think? Could you see yourself living in a space so small? This is totally a starving-artist dream of mine, I have to admit.
I’ve always said I’d be a really good rich person. When the Powerball lottery was over $700 million this past weekend, I (like everyone else, I’m sure) considered all the things I would spend the winnings on–roughly $400 million after taxes, assuming you took the lump sum, which you absolutely should because the annuity option is a scam. I don’t consider myself an overly greedy person, despite the name (and, well, overall tone) of this blog, and my wishlist isn’t huge. I wouldn’t buy cars, or fancy clothes, or multiple McMansions. I would immediately purchase a reasonably sized apartment in Paris, and roll the rest of the money into savings. It doesn’t even have to be an ~especially luxurious~ apartment in Paris, though I’ve done plenty of drooling over those around here. No, I wouldn’t buy a huge mansion with Eiffel Tower views, that would be wasteful. (Never mind the fact that I can’t fathom how you even keep a place with 20 rooms clean all the time, I can barely manage in my current two bedroom. How do you even know how much toilet paper to buy for 10 bathrooms?) Just something modest but not a hole. It wouldn’t even have to have a hidden bookshelf door into a secret room, the ultimate Rich Person House Accessory and something I used to fantasize about as a kid. Maybe it’s the maturity that comes with old age (I am just five months away from 31, after all), but the idea of suddenly having $400 million dollars didn’t fill my eyes with dollar signs a la Scrooge McDuck. I don’t want or need things to fill a space so obscenely large I could leave multiple rooms empty forever. I’d just like to be able to buy a place to rest my head in my favorite city in the world, and enough money to go back and forth six or seven times a year, IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?
Alas, I didn’t even play the lottery. And the woman that won took the annuity option and promptly quit her job, two decisions I find both stupid and stereotypical. Ugh. She doesn’t even deserve it. I love my job, and I wouldn’t quit just because overnight I became a multimultimulti-millionaire, but you can bet I’d at least stop packing a lunch for myself in an effort to be financially savvy. Give me ALL the avocado toast!
But of course, I couldn’t resist looking at apartments I would’ve snapped up. And, surprisingly, most of them seemed too big or too lavish. Out of the options I settled on, the most expensive one is just over a million euros. I don’t even know who I am anymore!
Herewith, a few contenders. Half are two bedrooms, so I could have guests stay with me. I told you, I’d be a really thoughtful millionaire.
Option 1: Modern Neutrals in the 6eme
A two bedroom duplex in the heart of Saint-Germain, with a small balcony and interesting architectural details. Price: 780,000€
Option 2: Chic Classical near the Luxembourg Gardens
A two bedroom stunner near Boulevard Raspail, with herringbone parquet and tons of natural light. Price: 877,000€
Option 3: Quirky and Artsy near Rue Saint-Honoré
If my dad were ever to have an apartment in Paris, this is it. Filled with books and sunlight, this one bedroom has a lofted area (can you say ‘writing nook’?) and a terrace with a view of the Eiffel tower across the rooftops and Tuileries. Price: 630,000€
Option 4: Updated Character on the Île Saint-Louis
Another one bedroom, this one on the tiny island behind Notre Dame, but there’s plenty of space in the living room to inflate an air mattress. Those beams! That light! Price: 1,150,000€
August 30, 2017 / Travel /
We spent the last half of one waning afternoon in the 13eme, the southeastern arrondissement settled high on a hill. The architecture is different, there are so many charming, non-Haussmann houses lining twisting, cobbled streets, and there’s a feeling there that you’re not even in Paris anymore, that you’ve left the map and the century. Location aside, that sounds a lot like Montmartre, doesn’t it? Or, Montmartre five years ago, anyway. While you’ll never hear me speak ill of mon quartrier, the authentic, non-touristy pockets of the 18eme are harder to eke out these days, as people seem to have gotten the memo that Montmartre is amazing. The 13eme feels distinctly local, given that there are virtually no tourist attractions (no major museums or shops or destinations). People live there. It’s wildly affordable (We know because we stop at every real estate office we pass, regardless of what city we’re in) and after just an afternoon, spent wandering and gazing and stopping for tea, we were settled: next time we’re staying there. (I like to think further ahead, and couldn’t help but daydream about how much apartment I could get for my money, long term).
The next day, my friend John’s urging, we visited the Musée Jacquemart-André. To say it’s beautiful would be an understatement. An old hotel particulier turned museum to We walked over to Ternes and had lunch at an Italian restaurant, before splitting up and heading our separate ways for the afternoon: Jamal back to Martyrs to shop for dinner, and me to Louis Vuitton & Ladurée, two tasks I didn’t mind undertaking on my own. I’ve always been comfortable on my own, but there’s something about this city that encourages it, how the tables upstairs at the Laudrée on Rue Royale are just big enough for two people, but don’t make a solo diner look alone. I got caught in a rainstorm on my way home, and stopped for cover in the two bookstores on Rue de Rivoli before heading to the metro at Concorde. I walked into our apartment in the 9eme to a tiny Parisian kitchen overflowing with scents and steaming pans; Jamal made chicken and shallots, with lentils and roasted potatoes. Not a bad way to end the day.
The Île Saint-Louis, that quaint little jewel box of an island, still retains some of the ancient, original charm of old Paris before Haussmann bulldozed his way through: smaller, shorter stone buildings, narrow streets where there were once fields for grazing cattle (and, of course, Berthillon and Le Saint Régis). Whenever I picture living on this thin strip of land on the Seine, my mind immediately conjures up images of apartments with dark wood beams running across the length of the ceiling, burnt sienna tile floors, rough, cave-like walls leading along the passageways to the tiny courtyards. Entirely lovely, more authentic, even, but different than the classically Parisian Paris apartments, with their herringbone floors and decorative moldings, and large rooms.
So imagine my surprise when I found the listing for this apartment. “But, but, but! That’s simply too big to be an apartment on the Île Saint-Louis!” (The listing agent seems to agree, as they’ve listed the ceiling height as being 55ft. Pretty sure they meant 15?) And indeed, the wood-paneled bedroom, the black & white patterned floor, and the gorgeous stairwell are, to my mind, something out of a grand Haussmann building on the other side of the river, which makes them all the more spectacular here in this apartment. I know that there is no “perfect place” to write, but I have a feeling I would write like the wind at that desk with the view of the Seine out the window.
Do you think I’ll ever have ceilings high enough to warrant such extravagantly long curtains? Oh, but to dream!
Price Upon Request, bien sûr, but based on Sotheby’s search listings it’s somewhere around $3m.
August 23, 2016 / design /
A few Christmases ago, Jamal bought me a bottle of Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Toit perfume, which translates to “A Rooftop Garden.” It was a spicy, strong scent, with notes of apple, pear, and magnolia. The description from Hermès: “This perfume describes a secret garden, nestled in the heart of the city in Paris. A hanging garden, perched on the roof of the house of Hermès, at 24 faubourg Saint-Honoré.” I loved it. And I imagine this apartment smells exactly like it, despite the noticeable lack of greenery or plants, and the fact that it’s located on the Île Saint-Louis (I’ve recently become obsessed with the tiny island), and not along the famous shopping street in the 1er arrondissement.
The lofted bedroom upstairs may not be tall enough to stand up in, but would make a perfect writing nook. I love the casement windows into the bedroom off the living room, as well as how much gorgeous natural light this place gets. The light! That liiiight. A rooftop apartment usually implies a dingy studette with no private bathroom, and this apartment blows that expectation out of the water. It’s a sign of how desensitized I’ve become to Parisian real estate that I’m totally at ease with the fact that the living room is so small that you can’t walk around the sofa without turning sideways. Yours for just $700k/€635k!
When my book becomes a bestseller (obvs), this place is at the top of my wishlist. For reference, here’s all of the great apartments in Paris I’ve found so far.
March 11, 2016 / Travel /
Now that we’re under 40 days away from my upcoming (second-time-this-year-but-who’s-keeping-track) trip to Paris, I thought I’d share where I’ll be staying. If you guessed Montmartre, you were right! I can’t shake this neighborhood, no matter how much time I spend there, and it’s where I’ve stayed on every trip going back to 2013 (here’s 2014 and 2015). This adorable little nest charmed me from its original floors, to its large, airy windows, and bright, white decor. And did I mention I love Montmartre?
(I’m renting through Airbnb again, and I’ll be happy to share a link to the rental after I get back; since I’m going alone I don’t want to broadcast my exact location in advance. Safety first!)