Archive for the ‘About CobbleStay’ Category

J’ Adore Fifi Flowers…it is a contest!

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

You can win this print! 

We first fell in love with Fifi Flowers on Facebook.  We were captivated by the colors in her artwork and of course, her subject….PARIS!  We are thrilled that she is contributing this month’s Facebook Contest prize and we want you to learn a little bit more about  Fifi and what inspires her.

1.  We read on your website that life should be full of whimsy and fun…what do you do besides paint that keeps your day fun and whimsical?
First… I am the mother to to teenage boys and they add FUN to my life everyday!  Andddd… I find a bit of whimsy in everything I see and do.  Being an artist I think I view my surroundings as a possible painting… and I constantly snap photos throughout the day… inspiration is everywhere!
2.  Obviously we LOVE that you paint such colorful scenes of Paris, can you tell us when and how you fell in love with our favorite city?
I visited Paris only ONCE but it NEVER left moi… I hope that one day I will return to that AMAZING City… Until then I will paint my dreams of Paris!  What is not to love about the City… The history, the architecture… the incredible way it makes me feel knowing my favourite artist lived and created… How wonderful it would be to paint everyday in Paris… Ooh la la!
3.  People send you their favorite Paris photographs and commission you to paint it for them.  What is the most popular setting that is sent to you?
The Eiffel Tower is probably the most popular.  Many times the Eiffel Tower is NOT in the photos they send, but they want it added. Some many views I paint of Paris do not real exist… they are a dream, a fantasy… they are a bit of whimsy!
4.  Do you have any secret spots in Paris that make for a great photo background that you can share with our guests?
When I was in Paris I had no itinerary… my mother and I simply walked the streets… oui oui oui… there were places that we visited that everyone knows about but basically we just threw ourselves into the streets to experience the City! Everywhere we roamed we found a treasure… a FAB cafe, a chapeau (hat) shop, art exhibits at tiny museums, chocolat… There is not ONE secret spot but a multitude!
5.  We were thrilled to find your other website  http://readingisfashionable.com/ since we are voracious readers… what is your favorite book about Paris?
I don’t believe I’ve actually ever read a book about “Paris” but I’ve read many books set in Paris both fiction and nonfiction. We’ve featured books and interviewed a few authors who have written novels based in Paris on Reading is Fashionable… such as Kirsten Lobe, Corine Gantz and Paula McLain to name a few.  I have also been inspired to paint bookmarks after reading Paris based books… Hard to pick just one that stands out they ALL make moi yearn to be in Paris.
To see more of Fifi Flowers artwork visit her website.  To purchase one of her paintings or prints, visit her shop.  You can also follow her on Twitter @FifiFlowers.
Now…to get details and enter the contest click HERE!!!!
A Bientot!

Why We LOVE Travel Insurance

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Do you remember in the Spring of 2010 when a volcano in Iceland created so much ash that air travel was severely interrupted?  When it occurred, it sounded preposterous, but when flights of travelers were being cancelled left and right, it became a harsh reality.  A cancelled plane trip is pretty easy to re-book.  Lodging is another story.

We have talked about how far in advance you should book your travel to Paris.  So much more than weather can happen in those months leading up to your trip.  A broken leg while skiing in late winter can screw up a biking trip planned for spring.  Your child could come down with appendicitis the night before your romantic Italian rendezvous.  There could be a death in the family, a lost job or a financial emergency that could derail the best laid plans.  You need to cancel your trip.

Let’s look at the other side of the coin..the company providing your lodging.  They have taken your reservation and blocked out your room or apartment.  If it is a wonderful company with fabulous properties (wink wink), they have most likely booked another guest right after you check out.  When a traveler with a broken leg cancels their trip at the last minute, the lodging company most often does not have a last minute guest to take that unused reservation.

Here is the tough part.  Travel companies are humans.  We have had our vacations cancelled due to an awful situation.  We have had to make the desperate plea for a refund.  We feel your pain.  We want to help. We want to give you all of your money back but we are also a company.  We have explained in detail the “small print”.  What is the best solution?  Travel Insurance!  

The travel insurance that we offer is super affordable.  It covers you and it covers us.   And, that is it.  No worrying about the “what ifs”  or having to make a desperate plea..you are covered.

Have a wonderful trip!

Staying Active in Paris

Friday, July 13th, 2012

My passion for Paris is only overshadowed by one thing…fitness.  Many people go on vacation to give their brains a rest and often times to give their bodies a rest.  For me, I use a vacation to break out of a fitness rut.  I am excited to not only live, eat and sleep like a local, I want to exercise like one, too.  I love to choose a running path along the Seine and head out early in the morning before the cars, scooters and taxis create all of the noise.  I see a side to Paris that is unique.  I also feel that engaging in some extra exercise is a great way to acclimate to the time change and help the body loosen up after the long flights to the France.  Here are my top three “traveler friendly” resources for exercising in Paris.

Yoga

Taking a yoga class after arriving in Paris can be so therapeutic.  Not only will you stretch the muscles that ache after the flight but the right class can relax the jet lag right out of you.  I stumbled upon Yogateau on Twitter.  Martine does a fabulous job of listing the yoga studios, special workshops and events in Paris.  She also has an informative section on her website called “Know Before You Go” that will help you feel a little more comfortable about heading into your first Parisian yoga experience.

Running

Obviously, you can just open the door to your apartment and head out for a run.  Yet, we found a running club that will make it FUN!  Paris Hash House Harriers, The Drinking Club with a Running Problem (sounds fun, right?) has several runs in Paris.  Check the calender on their website to see when and where to meet.  They usually run off the beaten path and the runs are pretty lengthy (i.e. not for beginners).  There is also a 5Euro charge per run.

Swimming

Many of my fitness friends love to swim.  A swimmer is usually fanatical about their workouts.   Paris is filled with public swimming pools and for a small entrance fee, you can swim like a local.  Our favorite pool is located in the 6th arrondissement and is called Piscine Saint-Germain.  You can find the listing of all of the public pools on the Paris.Fr website.

Some of the best memories of Paris are the ones where I put myself in “non-tourist” situations and many of them involved exercise.  By the way, if you can pack a tiny camera in your running gear, you will capture some amazing early morning pictures.

Parlez-vous Français? A Facebook Contest

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

We are excited to announce our very first Facebook contest!

Learning a bit of French can be so helpful when planning a trip to Paris.  Even learning just a few important phrases will help you feel like an Insider.

Enter to win 2 private French lessons via Skype with our partner Voulez Vouloz, French Lessons That Come to You.

VoulezVouloz provides expert, friendly French lessons and classes that come to you.
Our French teachers aren’t just native French speakers, they’re qualified teachers with many years of French tutoring experience.
We’re known for our excellent service, great value and teaching methods that work.
With VoulezVouloz you’ll learn French fast!

To enter, click HERE!

Bonne Chance!

*This contest begins June 29, 2012 and ends at 10:00 am (PST), July 31, 2012.  This prize is not exchangeable for cash.  It is good for two French lessons via Skype with VoulezVouloz to be used within 90 days of the end of the contest.

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 calender 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

Become a Paris Insider!

Sunday, May 13th, 2012


We are thrilled to announce that we have a five part “Insider’s Guide to Paris” that we would like to share with you.
It will give you loads of advice on where to stay in Paris, how to get around the city,
our tips on where to find the best food and of course, our insider secrets onthe most romantic things to do in Paris.

Are you ready to become a Paris Insider?

3 Things That Make Travel Easier

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Whether you are staying in a Paris vacation rental, on the beach in Mexico or at the hotel in the next state, there are just some things that make travel easier!  We have a whole board on Pinterest dedicated to this topic and we thought we would share some of our favorites.

This packing list “cheat sheet” has saved us many times!  It covers all of the essentials and and eliminates so much of the “Did I pack that?” anxiety.  You can buy them at The Container Store.

We admit it…we are gadget geeks and slightly obsessive about being tidy.  Opening up our carry on and finding all of our cords, adapters and chargers perfectly organized on this Grid It is like Christmas morning.  No more digging through the bottom of the bag!

We could have easily made our third suggestion really glamorous, like the Louis Vuitton complete travel guide collection, but we are going for practical.  Eliminating the big question, “Is my bag too heavy?”, can eliminate a lot of pre-trip hysteria the night before.  This little gadget (Hello? We love gadgets!) gives you the answer as soon as you zip up the bag.  The eScale is only $20!  Worth it!

Make sure you visit our “Making Travel Easier” board to see all of our suggestions.  What do you use to make travel easier?

CobbleStay’s “Insider’s Tip” about Paris: Sonia Gil and the Secret Garden of Notre Dame

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

 

We aren’t quite sure which to name as our “Insider’s Tip”, the secret garden at Notre Dame or Sonia Gil!  We stumbled across Sonia and her wonderful videos about her travels on Twitter.  Her video creations are not only informative but very well-executed.  We just adore it when she shows us a spot in Paris.  We found her latest video about the gorgeous gem hiding in Notre Dame and knew it was time to let you in on both secrets, Sonia and the garden.

We have a few Paris vacation rentals right in the area and look forward to seeing pictures of our guests in the garden.  Send us yours to community@cobblestay.com.  Enjoy!