How to find the almost-perfect Paris Airbnb rental

Bonjour,

Finding a perfectly charming Parisian rental can be headache-inducing but I’m here to give you tips and what to keep in mind when choosing an Airbnb rental in Paris.

Firstly, you need to think about the city of Paris like a snail’s shell. Each neighborhood is divided into 20 arrondissements in a clockwise spiral starting at the Louvre. Most of the major tourist attractions are located near the Seine river which splits the city in half. The southern side is known as
la rive gauche/the left bank which is home to intellectuals, jazz clubs and writers sipping espresso in cafes (Hemingway is a noteworthy resident). My side of the city, la rive droite/the right bank is considered the chic, party side. You will find the Moulin Rouge, high fashion boutiques on Champs-Élysées Boulevard and the bohemians of Montmartre. The further from the center you go, the less tourists (more quiet) and more working-class Parisians there are. This adorable map is helpful when deciding what area you want to stay in.

My first experience renting an Airbnb was our summer vacation in 2014. After giving up on finding a hotel that ticks all my boxes within our budget, I decided to look at rentals online. I liked how easy their website was to navigate and there is a wide selection of rentals. They have accurate photographs and honest reviews. I was able to save my favorite apartments to a wishlist and contact the owner to ask questions. I was a bit disappointed that the first three apartments I wanted weren’t available with kids but I was very happy with the one we ended up renting. Half of the time, it’s sheer luck that you find a nice place that has everything you want.

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On the Airbnb website you can search by location, price and availability. Let me tell you that most apartments in Paris will often come with some kind of trade-off. You will have to put up with something lame in order to get most of your wishlist. Usually a place with a nice view will mean a strenuous flights of stairs. Larger apartments are often found in a part of town that you may not feel comfortable out late at night. I’ve even had to turn down a beautiful two bedroom apartment simply because it was across the street from a sex club. It’s good to check the address or neighborhood on Google maps before you book. You may score a place close to popular landmarks which will certainly mean noisy, obnoxious tourists, possibly a higher crime area (terrorist threats and pickpockets) and lower quality of restaurants. Don’t be too discouraged, Paris has amazing security and a police and military presence is reassuring.

In our case, we didn’t find anything available for two weeks in our ideal location le Marais, (the 3rd/4th arrondissements) but our rental was in walking distance from the the upper 10th arrondissement which was super convenient to the Metro station and we had a lovely, quiet courtyard so we didn’t hear all the street noise.

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The courtyard was quiet and lovely

Here are my recommendations to keep in mind for your search for the almost-perfect Parisian rental:

Stick to your budget.

It’s easy to fall in love with an elaborate pied-à-terre with a sparkly chandelier, and there are plenty of luxury apartments listed on Airbnb but the reality is, besides sleeping, bathing and occasionally eating, you really won’t spend much time in the rental during your vacation. Unless you are staying long-term, I suggest you keep the cost of the rental lower than what it would cost for a hotel per night. In my case I would have paid $299 per night for a hotel and our rental was approx. $150 per night for two weeks. Plus, we saved money cooking our own delicious meals and not having to tip hotel staff. Take note, Airbnb may charge a cleaning fee and a fee for additional guests. I like to introduce myself via message to the host before booking so I can get a feel for how they manage the property.

Who could say no to these happy faces!

Keep in mind during your search to look for a place that is bright, has lots of windows, and preferably not on a ground floor. Most of the apartments are tiny in comparison to American homes, so white paint gives an illusion of a larger space with a sun-filled apartment. High ceiling also help you not feel too claustrophobic.

Renting in Paris, it’s all about trade-offs.

I really wanted classic apartment with herringbone hardwood floors, an elevator in a Haussmann style building but the apartment we chose didn’t have any of those things. However it did have an awesome swing for Olivia, had a modern design, I loved the high ceilings and charming skylights in the loft. Although our place was small, the layout felt spacious and everything was efficiently designed. We wanted a place with a modern kitchen but we didn’t have air conditioning (A/C is rare in Europe) and it was brutally hot during the summer. We ended up leaving our windows open at night for a breeze but Liv and I were bitten by mosquitos everyday. We were pleasantly surprised how much we liked the area we stayed in. Normally, I would have chosen a place near the center of Paris but staying further out allowed us to shop and dine where locals go and that is how we found the absolute best rotisserie chicken in Paris. Find a place that has something you love but be prepared to give up something else in exchange for it.

Beware of dated apartments.

I know it’s hard to resist the 19th century rustic charm of Parisian apartments but the older the rental, the less amenities you will have. Things we take for granted such as a microwave, a dryer (French people love to use hangers to dry clothes), decent water pressure in the shower, WC (water closets) which are tiny closets with a toilet inside. Those gorgeous herringbone wood floors you may covet may be creaky and noisy and may be annoying hearing your neighbors. I fell in love with a few chic, traditionally rustic Parisian apartments during my search but I had to face the reality that staying in a period apartment with a three year old would have been a headache when she couldn’t resist touching the fragile antiques. We knew we wouldn’t be comfortable lounging around on older furniture. Plus laundromats are expensive and a bummer.

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I almost rented this rustic apartment with the tiniest kitchen ever and five flights of stairs!

Renting a place with small children can be tricky. Some rentals have a strict no children under 12 policy while others may charge more for kids. Since Liv was three years old when were Airbnb hunting, we made a list of kid-friendly must-haves and list of would be lovely. I wouldn’t consider any places that didn’t have white painted walls, I also ruled out any rental with longer than a five minute walk to the Metro. I didn’t want too many stairs because we had so much luggage and I worried about our kid falling on the stairs. It turned out not to be a deal-breaker because Olivia loved the bath.

We showed Liv how to scoot down the steep loft stairs.

Be flexible about the location.

My favorite neighborhoods in Paris are le Marais 3rd and 4th arrondissement, and more recently, the 10th arrondissement near the beautiful Canal Saint Martin. It feels like a more authentic Paris with lots of cool boutiques, trendy restaurants and art galleries without the annoying tourists traps. Although just like LA, the cooler the location, the smaller and more expensive the rentals are (equivalent to Venice beach). There is also a pickpocketing issue throughout the city so always be aware of your bags. There really is no bad part of Paris, the further you are from the Seine the longer the walk, but you can always take the Metro or bus. Like any major city there is crime but it’s not as bad as big cities in the US, and I am a firm believer in not going out with my passport (unless I need it) or large amounts of cash. It’s also a good travel hack to keep a copy of your passport, drivers license on your cell phone and an emergency credit card hidden in your luggage (in your shoe) or somewhere safe.

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We loved buying fresh croissants every morning from the Patisserie on the corner.

If you don’t mind a smaller place, always choose the better location. Become friendly with your local baker, butcher, florist and fruit stand vendors. After a few days, we felt right at home in our Airbnb and even knew some people in our neighborhood by name. Liv made friend’s with our neighbor’s French bulldog.

Happy Airbnb hunting! I’m happy to answer any questions about the places we have rented. Do you have any Airbnb tips or hacks? Please share in the comments below!

Lizzie

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Places in Paris: Pink Mamma

You guys, I have been on a hunt for really good pizza in Paris. I know I won’t find any deep dish, extra cheesy and greasy pepperoni like my beloved Round Table Pizza so I needed to compromise with a decent Italian pizza. I heard about a beautiful restaurant called Pink Mamma in Pigalle, a popular spot on Instagram so we headed out on a late Saturday afternoon. We took the bus to Pigalle which took longer than we expected so we arrive a little after 7pm (just after opening). I was surprised to find a long line ahead of us. Then I realized there were no reservations so when we made it inside the hostess told us to return at dix, Liv translated to us that she meant come back at TEN PM!! Holy Cow, there was no way I was going to wait three hours to eat. We were starving. Since we were already there I decided to hang out and take photos of the four story gorgeous interior. The decor is different on every floor and I tried to capture what my eyes saw however, it was awkward taking photos of strangers eating so I had to be discreet about it. Luckily, the light was at golden hour so Antz took these incredible photos of me feeling like an Italian Goddess. I never looked so fancy riding a public bus before.

 

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The four story staircase was bananas. It was like being inside of an art gallery. We spent a lot of time checking out the paintings.

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Was hoping to snag this table on the top floor but it was reserved for a party of five.

 

I mean, could I ask for better light. My kind hubby was playing paparazzi while the diners were looking at me like I was an alien. Whatever, I was feeling myself!

 

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Liv and I headed to the loo, which was in the basement.

 

I have never seen a meatlocker look so chic. I mean, I was looking for a mirror and instead we got a view of all of the meat.

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Just as we were about to leave, the hostess saw we were still there and she said if we wanted to eat now, she could get us a table. I was disappointed that we couldn’t dine on the top floor (which looked like the best spot) however, we were so hungry we happily took whatever we could get.

 

I didn’t have any high expectations for the food (I have been so disappointed by food in Paris before) so I was pleasantly surprised by the menu. I hadn’t had any delicious bruschetta since our goodbye dinner with Leslie and Stephen last February at my favorite Colombo’s Italian restaurant in Eagle Rock. I do wish they used balsamic vinegar but I really liked the fresh apricot that was added in place of tomatos, very rustic. Antz ordered a steak and potatoes dish that he loved and Liv had kids pasta. I had pretty yummy pizza. I enjoyed it but I not a big fan of the burnt thin crust, Margherita style pizza. Sorry, I still miss American food terribly. The good news was our bill was reasonable for such a fancy place. Around €60 with wine.

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So, Pink Mamma definitely lived up to all the hype. Be sure to go well before they open to get a good table. We ended up walking around lower Pigalle neighborhood after our meal and popped into the trendy Hotel Amour for dessert on their patio. The weather was lovely, Antz and I shared a delightful strawberry tart. Liv had ice cream. Then we took an Uber home.

 

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Pink Mamma
6:45 – 11 pm
20bis Rue de Douai
75009 Paris

Hotel Amour
8 Rue de Navarin
75009 Paris

Road Trip: Cherbourg & Beaches of Normandy

June is always a busy but special month for me. Liv’s birthday is at the beginning of the month, then Father’s Day and ends with Antz birthday. I rented a car and we drove to Cherbourg for a weekend trip for Antz birthday. I have wanted to visit Cherbourg ever since I saw the French musical “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” Since Cherbourg is near the beaches of Normandy, we spent the day visiting Sainte-Mère-Église village, the Omaha Beach Memorial and the American Cemetery. The drive was over five hours and even though I normally would be able to drive longer than that in LA (I drove for eleven hours for our road trip to Portland) something about the French highways seems to lull me to sleep. I drove the first three hours and then Antz took over for the last two.

 

There were many tolls heading west towards Cherbourg. We also noticed livestock on the sides of the highway. At first we thought we were looking at sheep but with a closer look, they were golden cows! They were so pretty we pulled over and tried to snap a photo with some of the cows. The countryside is insanely pretty.

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I was surprised at how small Cherbourg was. Our hotel was just across the street from the harbor.

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We went for a walk around the town looking for a place to eat for lunch. Of course it was after 3 so we missed lunch and nothing was open until after 7pm.

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We found this gorgeous fish market but they didn’t cook the food. Liv bought a bag of apricots, Antz and I got crepes to tide us over.

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Les parapluies were everywhere. I only recently saw the French musical in the last few years although I have always been a big Catherine Deneuve fan. I also discovered that the guy who directed The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of Liv’s friend’s from school grandfather! How rad is that?!!

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We walked around for an hour then hung out in our hotel room. By 7pm, we were starving so we went to the first restaurant we found that was open. We ordered a plateau de fruits de mer for Antz birthday dinner. To our surprise, shellfish is served cold and there’s no melted butter to dip. Sadly, no matter how many times we have tried, we don’t like oysters. As fancy as the meal looked, we really missed our annual seafood meal from Duke’s in Malibu.

We drove around town looking for the Cherbourg sign. Oddly, we could find it’s location on Google Maps so I relied on photos from Pinterest and my intuition. Finally, just as I was about to give up I drove right past it on a steep hill! Since the sign was so big, one of us had to run into the street to get a photo. We waited forever for someone to get a photo of all of us but it’s an isolated area. This selfie has made me want to travel with a reliable tripod. I just don’t see where we could have set one up since there were cars passing in the street.

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The next day we grabbed breakfast at our hotel and headed out early.

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I had to take a photo with my umbrella by the harbor before we left. Our first stop was Sainte-Mere-Eglise. We learned the heroic story of Private John Marvin Steele. As the 82nd Airborne soldiers parachuted into the village, they were under heavy attack by Germans. John survived the jump but his parachute got caught in the spinnet of the church. He hung there limp, playing dead for two hours before he was taken prisoner. He later escaped and captured 30 Germans. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his valor. He is featured in the classic film The Longest Day.

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Miraculously, it didn’t rain. The sun actually came out as we headed towards the American cemetery. I spent hours explaining the D-day invasion to Liv and she listened intently. I was surprised to see how interested in history an eight year old was. I think it hit her the most when I told her how many men were drafted into the war and how her Dad would have most likely been sent to fight if we were alive during that time. During the summer of 1944 over 100,000 total men died.

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This was the most incredible experience for our family. France has always been a romantic place for us but visiting these sites where close to 10,000 people lost their lives felt very somber. We visited the memorial and watched a short film about World War II.
Below is Omaha beach.

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Our last stop wasn’t planned but Liv was asking what happened to the German soldiers so we stopped at La Cambe German war cemetery. It definitely had a different vibe to it. There were very few people there. Over 21,000 German soldiers are buried there. The cemetery has 1,200 maple trees as a gift of peace.

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If you are a history buff, I strongly recommend making this trip. Normandy Discovery Tours offers a tour by French locals. We saw a group of school children at the Omaha beach memorial. I really think that the difference between American children and European is our approach to the past. I feel like Americans shield their kids from the dark side of history but I believe that is doing them a disservice. They lack empathy and may grow up to make the same mistakes of bigotry and complacency. I talk to Olivia about everything, not to frighten her but to open her eyes to the world she lives in. She is a multiracial child so she doesn’t have the privilege to ignore the past suffering of her ancestors. Every accomplishment she makes in her life, she has many generations of proud Mexican and Black people cheering her on.

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Moving Abroad: Month Four

Well, as you can see I just skipped right over June into July for our monthly update. I can’t tell you how much we love living here, but nowhere is perfect so I will also let you know what isn’t working for me. We are finally settled into our apartment here in the lovely Marais. We live in the upper part of the 3rd arrondissement and feel like we are in a prime location. We have this beautiful view and it’s still unbelievable that we live here.

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Now that summer is here we have been enjoying longer days. It’s weird to us Americans that the sun doesn’t begin to set until after 10 pm at night! Liv usually goes to bed at 9:30 pm and it’s still bright and lively outside. Liv’s last day of school was Friday and these three extra weeks of school have been killing me. I have so many trips planned and guests coming to visit that I couldn’t wait for her to be done with school. She started second grade in Los Angeles during the last week of August 2017 and she finished the first week of July 2018! I would say that’s too long but she missed almost three weeks in March so I’m happy for was able to make up the missed time.

I’m super bummed because her school director is retiring this year and we have already established a rapport with him. I am skeptical to meet his replacement. No one will replace my sweet Harry Potter looking Monsieur W. I have met several parents of Liv’s classmates and even volunteered for a school fête. Even though I didn’t understand anyone I was very popular because I was serving the rosé.

What you don’t see in this photo is when I ran out of “blue” juice for the kids and I already pre-poured Rosé for the parents, someone brought out “pink” juice for the kids and it was identical in color so I had to keep track of which cup had juice for kids and which had wine for adults. I mean, it is France so no one seemed to care if a kid had a sip of rosé. Much less uptight people.

Liv invited us to the most adorable recital. Her Grandmother would be so proud of her xylophone timing. How adorable is her music teacher?!

Liv has a close friend in her class who speaks English but she is moving to Canada. Her parents invited us to their Farewell picnic at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

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We have met such fascinating people (many are journalists and writers) and most of them are expats! Our new friends have lived in Paris for more than ten years so they gave us invaluable advice for living abroad. We were welcomed into their group and we are looking forward to getting together with them soon for happy hour!

We are fortunate to live on a lively street and we’ve become accustomed to the late night noise (reminds me of late-night parties in Highland Park minus the ranchero music) however the cigarette smoke from the bar seems to rise up to our third floor and destroy my eyes. I know I am hyper sensitive but I can smell a cigarette a mile away and it’s sometimes hard to sleep! We don’t have a TV in our apartment so we watch Netflix and Hulu (Handmaids Tale is getting too close to reality!) on our iMac computer but we have been keeping up with this silly little thing called the World Cup by the cheering from the two restaurants on our street! ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!

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We know absolutely nothing about soccer (or any sports) but I love supporting France.

So this is the longest I’ve gone without having an actual television with cable in my forty-one years and I must admit, I like not being a slave to the boob tube. It’s nice to not get caught up in the 24 hour CNN drama or spending idle hours watching reality/trash. The only reason we don’t have telly here is our apartment manager promised to hook up new cords for the tv but never sent a guy. We have learned to pick our battles with this apartment management. When we first moved in, I was livid that we didn’t have wifi for almost two weeks. Like, I was ready to sue these people and I raised the loudest, most obnoxious stink about it. I demanded compensation for the days without wifi and they laughed at me and were like “Who’s gonna check me, Boo?” Then finally, they sent a dude over and he set up the router in Liv’s room right on the lovely fireplace mantle.

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He told me there was nowhere else he could hook it up in the apartment. The French have a way about making you feel grateful for when they do the bare minimum. I mean by the time the kid installed the wifi, I didn’t care if the modem it was in the middle of the bathroom. I just was desperate to get back onto Instagram and check my emails. Then there was a list of repairs we needed in the apartment. We were told the handyman would come on the first day we moved in, and he did…but instead of the list of things I wanted fixed, he was only there to fix a broken lock on a window. That he didn’t even fix! So days passed and we went out and bought a new shower head and lamp for Liv’s room but Antz could only halfway install them without his tools. He rigged the showered to work with a hair scrunchie but it took days to get the repair guy back to install it correctly. He halfassed installed the lamp (notice how crooked it is in the photo) and sort of ignored the rest of my list so c’est ce que c’est. After a month of waiting for the TV cord, we decided to let it go. There so many great elements of living here to complain.

The good news is the rude, noisy pigeon I told you about either moved or is dead and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve grown accustomed to the loud, rowdy bar downstairs (they seriously sing Queen songs all night long) however it’s the morning after that bugs me. On our walk to school in the morning Liv and I play a game called don’t step on the broken glass bottles or dog shit. It’s not a fun game. I suppose I didn’t spend close to the same time walking the streets of LA, so I wasn’t aware if there was a people not cleaning up after their dog problem but here, it’s ridiculous. Like mountains of poop and evidence of many unfortunate people slipping in it. Now that there was been less rain (to wash the shit away) and scorching hot weather, along with the daily garbage on the street, you could just imagine the smell. On the brighter side, the boulangeries tend to overpower the stench with the smell of fresh baked bread and I hear the streets are filthier in New York.

I was lucky to get to celebrate two Mother’s day (American and French) so I was treated by my loves to brunch at my favorite place, named after my favorite flowers Peonies. It’s a tiny, cute cafe that also has flower workshops downstairs. We have been a few times and it’s our favorite place to get carrot cake.

I have been forced into eating healthier against my will because the food here has less chemicals and preservatives and I find the fast food is pretty gross. I still miss In & Out and fried chicken desperately. However I have been fine with eating rotisserie chicken and buttery croissants. When we were in Nantes waiting forever for the delayed train, I bought a bag of cheetos from a vending machine. The bag looked identical to the ones in LA but I’ll never forget the taste of stale cardboard and dust. Nothing remotely like good ole’ American cheesy cheetos. That awful taste will follow me to my end of days. I even craved a salad for the first time in years a few days ago. We found a salad bar place near our apartment that makes custom salads.

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Father’s Day was the same date in France as the Us so we took Antz for Fête des Pères to a space I heard about on the ‘Gram. I didn’t know what to expect when we trekked out to the boonies (13th arrondissement) across the river. Station F is an old train station turned into a massive co-work space and restaurant called La Felicità which reminds me of Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market.

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You can see it’s pretty rad. Most of the restaurants are Italian. Italy happened to be playing in the World Cup semi-finals during our dinner so the staff was singing songs in Italian.

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The food was really good! I had truffle pasta and Antz had smoked salmon. Of course Liv had pizza. We definitely will go back again.

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This month there has been lots of people selling antiques on the street of our neighborhood. I have been browsing all the magnificent wicker baskets but I haven’t committed to buying anything just yet. I would have taken more photos but I was yelled at by a guy when I took a photo of his dinosaurs. I don’t understand the no photos stance here at all.

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I wanted to buy a bouquet for our apartment so I mustered the courage to visit the lovely flower shop by our apartment and I made the transaction without speaking any English! The owner, Julie, barely spoke English as well so we used a lot of sign language. We put together this pretty bouquet and I made a new friend.

The end of May and early June we saw a surge of art take over the city. Aimee told me to get my ass over to the Palais du Tokyo to see the dollhouse exhibit that looked exactly like Olivia’s Calico Critter dollhouse. Liv damn near lost her mind when she saw the exact same rabbit family she has living on the top floor.

This cute little place emerged from Gare Nord.

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A new rad mural popped up around the corner from our place.

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So just as I was sad about missing the Los Angeles Invasion by one of my favorite street artists, Space Invader, I was shook to see that my hero BANKSY hit up Paris with new art! I happened to be driving a rental car when I found out he put up a piece in the Porte la Chappelle area. We found it very quickly based on his Instagram posts and just my luck…we found this.

Just a few hours in daylight and someone already destroyed it. I understand why Banksy installed it in this neighborhood. It’s a migrant area in a rough part of the 18th arrondissement. I guess they didn’t like the attention the art piece was creating when they are suffering there. I hate to say it, but the migrants here in Paris are still treated better than in America. PATHETIC!

On the drive home, we found this Banksy a few blocks from our apartment next to the Georges Pompidou Center in le Marais.

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Early morning the next day, I stopped at Bataclan before returning the rental car and found this shrouded angel Banksy. Have you seen the Netflix documentary about the November 13th attack? I have watched it several times and it’s heartbreaking to hear the events of that night directly from the survivors.

Antz and I spent an early morning Banksy hunting while Liv was still in school and we found a few. The Napoleon one is also in the 18th near the Stalingrad Metro. The poor doggy is located in the 5th near La Sorbonne.

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There are a couple more I didn’t see in person but I haven’t been anywhere near the Eiffel Tower (tourist trap) or Montmartre (I don’t go there because it’s all hills). Also, I heard someone carved out the mouse on the champagne cork. I didn’t hear about his last piece which is about the student uprising that took place at the Sorbonne in May 1968 until a few weeks later. I also found a recent Invader in the area that also commemorates the May 1968 student protests.

These are from his website.

On Liv’s last week of school we had an after school snack (known as the goûter) at the Hello Kitty Pop Up Matcha Cafe. The matcha donuts were yummy but we didn’t like the matcha iced lattes.

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So all is well so far. We have found the cutest laundromat near our place however, it’s pricey to me (I usually do three loads for €40!) but I rather have nice fluffy dry towels which makes doing laundry there bearable. Liv has been a wonderful laundry helper.

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I’m sorry I’ve taken forever to post lately but I gave my blog theme a makeover and it took my old lady brain ages to figure it out and I’ve been super busy with all the many trips we’ve taken in the last few months. I promise to post about them soon.

Bonne journée mes amis!

Peonies

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Le Dîner en Blanc Paris 2018

Our fifth Dîner en Blanc was extra special because it was the 30th anniversary and Olivia joined us this year!

I was fortunate to have Antz craft these gorgeous crepe paper peonies for my headpiece. We found his Venetian mask for less than €7 at an art supply store near our apartment. I bought a huge, beautiful bouquet of white peonies for our table the day before but sadly they opened too soon so the day of the event, they were starting to whilt. I bought a bunch of babies breath (Les gypsophiles) and stuck them in Liv’s hair. We took an Uber to the Air France Museum. We arrived almost an hour early but I didn’t want to risk being late.

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After checking in my group and waiting forever for the departure time, we walked a few blocks to Esplanade des Invalides. I was certain it would be further at the Jardin de Tuileries but this location was large enough to accommodate 13,000+ guests from all over the world!

We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. This year was the 30th anniversary of the DEB and as fickle as French weather can be, not once has it been canceled due to rain. We didn’t bring our roll-up table this year but we bought a patio table from Monoprix and borrowed two chairs from our friends in Nation. We used a grocery cart to wheel them around and put the tableware and food in my wicker cart. I bought our white plates, a white serving tray and our gold flatware from Ikea. You may remember from our last Dîner en Blanc Paris, our lovely desserts were smashed in my bag during the transport, so I made extra special care to have them wrapped and put in a smash-proof box. Wouldn’t you know it, the warm weather melted the white meringue! I am cursed when it comes to our desserts, only one barely survived.

I love how Liv is eyeing the only dessert that survived.

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After I passed out sparklers to my table of guests and the official napkin twirl, Antz popped our champagne and we took a few sips before heading off to find our friends.

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The coolest thing happened when we were wandering around admiring all the creative outfits and table settings. A woman ran up to me and excitedly told me she follows my blog! I was stunned by her kindness and enthusiasm. I totally love meeting new people at this event and finding out that someone is genuinely entertained by my blog made my night. Enchanté LaToya, you were a delight to meet!

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We had to say Bonsoir to the founder of Dîner en Blanc, François Pasquier and his lovely wife. The genie guy was a bonus I suppose, I was sad that I forgot to take a photo with Antz in the picture, LAME! I did have a moment to exclaim my love for the dinner and babble about our move to Paris to his wife as I was a bit tipsy from the champagne.

Technically, the event is for ages 18 and over but everyone welcomed Liv with hugs and were impressed by her level of French fluency. Everyone wanted to take a photo with her and were blown away by her maturity. I had to convince them that she just turned eight!

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We finally found my friend Aymeric and he introduced us to his stunning girlfriend!

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The Eiffel Tower was sparkling in the background.

We were exhausted and Liv had school the next day so around midnight, we packed up and called an Uber.

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I am so happy we brought Olivia to experience her first Dîner en Blanc. Paris is always a magical place but this dinner has an extra special place in my heart for the past five years. This photo was taken by the press and it shows the 13,000 attendees.

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If you may be interested in attending, you must be invited through a member. Let me know, I get a few invites per year around April/May. I just may be retiring from the event with exception to attending the DEB in Iceland!

Here’s previous Dîner en Blanc  2013, 2014, 2015

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Joyeux Anniversaire Olivia!

Every year I am aghast by how fast our kid is growing up. This is her eighth year and she is lovely, polite, smart, kind, funny, clever, creative, sometimes annoying but overall rad.

I can’t believe she is so big now. Liv wears size 10/12 in clothes and size 4 in shoes. I bought her a pair of New Balance sneakers in size 3.5 when we first arrived in Paris and she already outgrew them! She definitely takes after me and is part giant. She’s the tallest kid in her class and one of three kids who speak English. She is stoked that during English class she is the teacher’s assistant and she helps her classmates with their pronunciation. Liv has made quite a few friends here in Paris so I asked her what did she want to do for her birthday. She wanted her closest friend (our former neighbor) Alix to come for a sleepover at our apartment. Antz and I secretly ordered a rad unicorn cake from our neighbor who is an amazing wedding cake artist/baker. I didn’t find out until after we demolished the cake, it was completely sugar-free!! I honestly couldn’t tell.

We also collaborated on designing a custom Merrilee Liddard doll for her birthday gift. I was super worried it wouldn’t arrive on time from Utah but luckily we were home when le Poste rang our door buzzer. We have had terrible luck with mail coming from the US through the post office. Her Godparents sent her a birthday package and we tried to hunt it down everyday for two weeks but it’s lost. We were heartbroken we couldn’t track it down.

This is Lulu (named after my Grandma Louise which is my middle name). She only speaks French and she is an avid traveler. She will join us on our travels and can be followed on Instagram using the hashtag #voyagesdepoupéeLulu

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When we left LA, I couldn’t fit Liv’s dress-up clothes in our luggage so I promised I’d find her a Marie Antoinette style dress. She asked me when I would get her a gown almost everyday since we landed. Luckily, the Versailles gift shop had the perfect one in her size.

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I invited her other good friend (she is also named Alix) from school to come over for cake and we went for tea and snacks at the Cat Cafe. We began her birthday weekend celebration by taking Friday off school since Antz is getting every other Friday off work for summer Fridays (his job is awesome beyond words!) so we spent the day at the Science Center. Liv is obsessed with VR games and back in LA she was too young to try the VR demos but here she could play them. She watched a VR film about the South Pole and space exploration and she played VR games. It was an €18 fee for about an hour of playing. She had a weekend full of awesome!

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This globe would connect to different voices around the world speaking in their native language.

How creepy/hilarious are these mirror illusions?

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The kid wants to be a scientist when she grows up…or a spy.

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Liv and the two Alixes! This kid wants to live in a cat cafe.

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Sadly, I couldn’t fit her large Totoro plush in our luggage but I did squeeze in our mini Totoro so she could take her yearly birthday photo. I’m sad because after taking her photo with Totoro in her brown chair, we decided we needed the space for a desk so I dropped off the chair to my Mom’s house. So this year she took her annual photo in her bedroom in Paris.

 

Liv Year 8

Here are her previous photos.

Joyeux Anniversaire ma fille!

La Cité des Sciences et de L’industrie
30 Avenue Corentin Cariou
75019 Paris France

Open 10:00 am – 6 pm Closed Mondays

Le Cafe des Chats
9 Rue Sedaine
75011 Paris, France

Open 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm Closed Mondays

 

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Bienvenue dans Notre Appartement Parisien

Bonjour Amis,

Let me confess, the first two months were exhilarating and equally stressful for me. I was absolutely enjoying our time living in Nation (12th arrondissement) and exploring beautiful Paris but also I was staying up all night looking for potential apartments. Every time I got close to scoring a fabulous place, someone else would snap it up. I was starting to believe it was because I wasn’t French but we had our French friends call on our behalf and they got the same response. I was so close to renting my dream apartment on the sweetest street ever when the agent said the landlord just approved someone before us. I mean, I called every day, left voicemails, sent emails all during the whole enrolling Liv into school drama. I commend my own strength because I thought I would have a mental breakdown with stress and disappointment. It was house hunting all over again but with a two month deadline. I was also working with our real estate agent in Los Angeles trying to get our house rented. My stress was at an all time high during the first few months here.

Every apartment I saw I would compare to the beautiful, perfect place that we didn’t get.