Posts Tagged ‘Paris Vacation Rentals’

Paris, je t’aime – CobbleStay Style

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Paris, je t'aimeThere is more to being French than eating a baguette on a daily basis. In France, movies are still regarded as an art form, making it a useful tool for for visitors to learn about the country’s culture and language.

Paris, je t’aime is an excellent film for immersing yourself all that makes Paris special. Twenty famous filmmakers have five minutes each, weaving together a single narrative out of twenty moments.  There’s a reappearing mysterious character who is a witness to the Parisian life and a common theme of Paris and love fuses all.

The Le Marais segment, directed by Gus Van Sant, is just down the street from CobbleStay #41 – Picasso Museum Marais.

The Bastille segment, directed by Isabelle Coixet is around the corner from CobbleStay #15 – Bastille River View.

The Place des Victoires segment, directed by Nobuhiro Suwa, is around the corner from CobbleStay #16 – Madeleine Balcony Studio.

The Tour Eiffel segment, directed by Sylvain Chomet, is close to CobbleStay #20 – Eiffel Tower Park.

CobbleStay #24 – Marais Magic is right by the cafe where characters meet in the Quartier des Enfants Rouge segment, directed by Olivier Assayas and Frederic Auburtin.

CobbleStay #18 – Left Bank Penthouse is around the corner from where the Quartier Latin segment was filmed, directed by Gerard Depardieu, as well as CobbleStay #14 – Best of Notre Dame Apartments in Paris.

The Parc Monceau segment, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, is near our newest property (coming online soon!).

If you really want to know what all the best French films are, check out this top 100 list compiled by French film industry experts.

Amuse-toi bien!

Avoiding Overseas Phone Fees

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Hand-Holding-a-cell-phoneOverseas phone fees are a major concern for travelers. Always check with your phone carrier before you leave to find out your best options. Sometimes it can be as simple as requesting a global plan. The NY Times has put together a helpful article with tips and tricks to save you from unexpected charges.

For example, some travelers choose to purchase a a SIM card (a microchip that can be inserted into a cellphone) from an international provider, giving them a local phone number and local calling rates. However, you must have an “unlocked” phone to use this method.

There is hope that roaming charges will soon become a thing of the past. The European Union recently voted to end international roaming charges by the end of 2015.

Until that actually happens, be sure to educate yourself and be prepared. Bonne chance!

Daylight Savings in France

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

douai_france_palace

We hope you are planning to visit Paris this spring!

If you are, you should know that Daylight Saving Time (DST) in France begins on the last Sunday in March.

Even though most of the United States has already made the time adjustment, most European countries have not yet made the switch. Be sure to note in your travel plans that you will need to change your clock at 01:00 UTC on Sunday, March 30th!

Want to know more about why we observe DST and which countries choose not to participate? National Geographic has a helpful article that gives a brief history of the practice and the pros and cons experienced by various countries around the world.

Disneyland Paris

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Disney 1

A Guest Post by Lisa Gabrielson

Paris is elegant, stylish, and refined, but sometimes you just need to get away and let your inner child run free. What better way to do it than to visit the Gallic version of everyone’s favorite character, Mickey Mouse!

Located conveniently just outside of Paris, Disneyland is a perfect day trip for a family visiting the city- or, perhaps, just for a big kid at heart. The park boasts classic Disney favorites like the Main Street Parade, the Tower of Terror, and Splash Mountain. Of course, there are petits détails française; mulled wine booths in the winter, La Belle Au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty’s castle in French, naturellement), and beautiful architecture.

Disney Entrance

Though the park is huge, it is definitely do-able for a day trip from Paris. Leave early in the morning- the park opens at 9 am and stays open until 10 pm- and spend the day. Alternatively, there are a number of hotels right outside of the park entrance if you wish to extend your time in Disneyland!

To get there, take the RER A from a number of stations, including Chatelet Les Halles, to Marne La Vallée. The trip is about 40 minutes each way.

Note: You can save 15% on Disneyland Paris tickets by buying before you arrive. http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk/

Lisa Gabrielson is a current undergraduate student at American University in Washington, DC. Before attending college, she spent a gap year abroad as an Au Pair and fell in love with Paris. When she’s not in the classroom or daydreaming about the city of light, she can be found sailing for the university sailing team or working as President of her sorority, Sigma Delta Tau. You can find Lisa on Twitter @Lisa79

Is there a cheaper time to come to Paris?

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

As we approach spring, we are on the phones non-stop talking to guests about Paris!  One of the most popular questions we get asked is, “When is high season in Paris?” Let’s talk about this!

Is there ever a bad time to come to Paris?  Not as far as we are concerned!  You might think that no one wants to be in Paris during February but there are a number trade shows and events that attract that the business travelers.  August may be quiet as far as the locals are concerned, but kids are only out of school for two months and families love to come to Paris during the summer.   When we set rates we do follow a high season, low season calendar.

Definitely High Season! 

Low season:

  • early January through mid-March
  • all of August
  • most of November (except Thanksgiving week)
  • the first two weeks of December

High season:

  • April, May, June, July
  • September and October
  • Thanksgiving week
  • the last two weeks of December

When you are looking to save money, try Paris in the “low season” and remember, the longer you stay, the more you save!

Book Review: Paris in Love, A Memoir by Eloisa James

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

When I first starting doing book reviews for the CobbleStay blog, I depended on the local bookstore for my titles.   As the blog took off, I began to get suggestions from our guests and they haven’t steered me wrong yet!  I have been working my way down a solid list of books that either take place in Paris, are about food in Paris or contain breathtaking pictures of Paris.  I have just finished Eloisa James’ memoir, “Paris in Love” and it was fantastique!

Ms. James, her husband and their two children move from the US to Paris for a year.  The book is filled with short, Facebook style posts that give us a glimpse into the highlights of her life in Paris.  Often times books about Americans living in Paris are filled with tales of never fitting in with the Parisian locals.  I found this book to be quite the opposite.  Ms. James seemed to do just fine in Paris.  Her daughter may have felt differently, but those were the stories I loved the most.  Anna’s relationship with her nemesis, Domitilla, were so amusing to me.  Maybe it was because I could relate since I have a daughter of my own but mostly because they were just too funny!  Her teen son makes cameo appearances throughout the book and when he ignores her as his Metro train door closes and takes off…well, I can see my daughter doing the same thing!  Even in Paris, they will always be cooler than us.  A few dog stories, a trip to Italy and cute conversations about her husband (Italian) and his year in Paris make this a fun and easy read.

Like many of the books suggested to me by CobbleStay guests, this one made me want to live in Paris even more.  There is a short list of her favorite spots in Paris in the back.  I love when authors do this.  This book should be added to your Paris bookshelf, too.

Do you have a Paris book that you would like to share?  Send it to us!  Community@CobbleStay.com

Timing Your Trip to Paris

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

“How far in advance should I book my trip to Paris?”  This is one of the most asked questions we receive and it is a great one!  The answer varies depending upon your situation.  The more “musts” you have, the farther in advance you should book.  These “musts” include staying in a particular area of Paris, during a particular show at a museum, during Fashion Week, on Bastille Day, when the flowers start to bloom, during the department store sales……  If you want to be in Paris on a specific date like your birthday or your anniversary you should plan your visit as soon as you get your dates set in stone.  Of course, if you are more flexible with your “musts”, last minute deals can be found but you may have to compromise on a few details.  For the average traveler coming to Paris, these are our suggestions for timing everything just right.

1.  You should start shopping airfares about 90 days before you plan to travel.  Depending on the season, you can get a gauge for what the fare will be and we suggest consulting with a travel agent for their take on  whether the fares will go on sale anytime soon.  If you are using airline “points” start inquiring about those flights the moment you decide on a date.   Reward travel is very limited, especially to Europe, and the flights sell out fast.  We have often booked airfare with points almost a year ahead of time just to make sure we got what we wanted!

Our Marais Magic Property

2.  Booking your airfare and finding an apartment can be done at the same time.  Especially if you are falling in love with a particular property, you should check that it is available around the dates that you are shopping for your airfare.  Our easy to use calendar that is on the same page of each property makes that very simple.  We find that people who start booking about 90 days prior to their arrival have the best selection to choose from.   For those last minute travelers, the online calendar makes it very easy to see what is still available.

3.  Check your passports!!  You should give yourself a 90 day cushion to make sure that passport is in your hands and up to date!  Really look at the date and make sure that is doesn’t expire during your trip.   It has happened but we won’t name names!

4.  As your trip gets closer, you will want to make any “must see” reservations or event ticket purchases.  Our experience is that most restaurants in Paris won’t book a table more than 30 days in advance.  There can be exceptions but this is the general rule.   It is also a great time to secure some Euros.  At the time we are writing this, the Euro is dropping!!!  This means it is the perfect time to go to Paris!

5.  Your trip is about a week away!  It is time to start pulling things to pack, buy a couple of things you might need and don’t forget to make arrangements for your pets!  We have written about packing for Paris before and we love to get creative packing tips from Pinterest.

We hope you have a fabulous trip to Paris!  Bon Voyage!

First comes love…..

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Photo Credit: Love Gracefully

It must be every little girl’s dream to commemorate some aspect of her wedding with a trip to Paris.  On Twitter, hundreds of tweets are sent out each day saying, “I want to honeymoon in Paris” or “One day, I will get engaged in Paris”.  We are used to it now but at first it really struck us.  ”Paris is for Lovers” really is true!

As an American couple, getting married in Paris isn’t viewed as a legal marriage in the United States.  You will have to tie the knot here in one place or another.  But wow!  We have come across some amazing stories of romance from people who make capturing special moments for lovers who travel to France.

Getting Engaged…

We have many guests travel to Paris to get engaged.  It is such a great idea, especially when it is a surprise!  We loved reading about a surprise engagement from one of our favorite Paris-based photogs, Lindsey Kent of Pictours Paris.  We think she hid out in the Champs de Mars park near the Eiffel Tower to capture the “Big Ask”.  The pictures were adorable.  Lindsey met up with the couple later in the week for some more pictures around Paris.  Tres adorable!

Getting Married and Vowel Renewals…

We came across Love Gracefully on Facebook.  They specialize in officiating breathtaking ceremonies all over Europe but when we saw what they did in Paris, we wanted to share them with you.   Like we mentioned, we as Americans cannot legally marry in Paris but how about doing a civil ceremony in the states and then having a “Destination Wedding” in Paris?  We also adore the idea of celebrating a milestone anniversary with a vowel renewal in a Paris jardin.

Honeymoon in Paris…

Newlyweds flock to Paris for their honeymoons.  We have so much fun helping couples choose the ideal Paris vacation rental for their post-wedding rendezvous.   We also think working with a “Honeymoon Expert” is a smart way to plan your trip.  So much goes into planning for the Big Day, your special trip often gets left to the last minute.  Katie Frederick from Ever After Honeymoons  creates magical itineraries for her couples.  After all of the wedding work you do, it is so wonderful to hand over your honeymoon to her!

Romance is one of the big reasons that Paris is such a destination spot for lovers.  We have a full section devoted to it in our “Insider’s Guide”.   If you are thinking of popping the question, putting a ring on it or celebrating after you tie the knot, we hope that we have inspired you to do some of it in Paris!

Do you know who CobbleStay is? I mean, do you REALLY know who we are?

Friday, May 25th, 2012


CobbleStay was founded in 2008 by Drew Graham.  Born and raised in Southern California to a travel agent family, Drew spent over a decade in Europe working for Internet media companies including holding the position of Director of Marketing for Yahoo! Europe in Paris.  Like most entrepreneurs, Drew started CobbleStay to solve a problem.  As a businessman, traveler, vacation rental owner and adventurer in Paris, it was often a hassle to find suitable accommodations for friends and associates visiting the city.  There were booking nightmares, less than desirable customer service, wasted hours searching, coupled with a sense of being an outsider in such a beautiful place.  As a private rental owner, Drew struggled to find a North American focused travel agency to rent his private property in Paris.  Most Paris vacation rental agencies are based in Paris and US travelers and property owners find this difficult to work with due to language barriers, time differences and currency exchange rates.

CobbleStay’s mission is simple.  We provide a sophisticated alternative to hotels in Paris for travelers seeking adventure, romance and business.  We transform international travelers into “Paris Insiders”.  We have simplified the process of booking out private rental properties to international guests.

So why are we taking up precious screen space to share this with you?  As a company, we are in our next big phase of growth and we have the opportunity to win a grant from Chase and LivingSocial to help us realize some pretty amazing goals.  What do these goals look like?  Everything from hiring more scouts in Paris to help uncover unique apartments for you to the ability to create stunning yet informative video tours of each property.  And now, we need your help.  We are promising that this takes less than 3 minutes to do.  Not only will you hopefully be assisting us in winning the grant, your vote will increase the number of grants that Chase and LivingSocial award to small businesses all over the United States.  Here are the steps:

1.  Click this link: https://www.missionsmallbusiness.com/

2.  Click “Log In and Support” in the bottom right corner

3.  Under “Vote Local”, enter “CobbleStay” and click “Search”

4.  Click “Vote”

Our dream is to continue to grow CobbleStay by offering exciting properties in Paris and superb customer service.  Merci for taking the time to help us and other small businesses realize their dreams.

A Bientot!

Drew and The CobbleStay Team

Recipe: Salad Nicoise

Monday, May 21st, 2012

 

It is my favorite time of the year!  The days are longer, the temperatures are warmer and the food gets lighter.  I am a salad girl.  I am a BIG salad girl.  Salad Nicoise is the perfect dish to kick off the warm days of summer.  Even though the recipe was developed in Nice, I always feel very Parisienne when I prepare it.  I think it has to do with using the freshest vegetables and that a true Nicoise is as visually appealing as it is tasty.  The salad Nicoise is considered a “composed” salad.  This means that the ingredients are arranged neatly on the plate instead of tossed together in a bowl.  If I know that I will be serving this, I always try to cook some of the vegetables the night before to make it a little easier.  Bon appétit!

INGREDIENTS

Vinaigrette

    • 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium shallot, minced
    • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
    • 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

      • 2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
      • hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
      • 10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
      • 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
      • 1 small red onion, sliced very thin
      • 8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
      • 1/4 cup niçoise olives
      • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

METHOD

*Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

1 Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

2 Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.

3 While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter. Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.

4 Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to reserved ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.

5 Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately.

We’d love to see your pictures of your pretty, composed salad; send them to us at Community@CobbleStay.com.  Have you signed up to become a “Paris Insider” yet?  Click the box below!