Archive for the ‘Paris apartment rentals’ Category

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.

Interview with Juliette Sobanet, author of “Kissed in Paris”

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Juliette Sobanet

If you have read this blog before, you know that I am a voracious reader of any book that has to do with Paris.   I do have a confession to make.  This spring, I took a break from Paris and got sucked into Seattle and the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy.  I know.  After reading that , it was time to head back to Paris and read something sweet and fun.

I had been following Juliette Sobanet on Twitter and has read about the launch of “Kissed in Paris“.  I had it on my “To Read” list and had a feeling it was the perfect bedtime story for me.  I devoured it in a matter of nights.  I quickly downloaded “Sleeping with Paris” and this time I read a little slower so that my Paris-filled dreams lasted a little longer.

I reached out to Ms. Sobanet for a quick interview and was thrilled when she accepted.  I wanted to know a bit about her and her love for Paris.  Here is what she had to say:

Your books take place, for the most part, in Paris and we know you are a French professor, have you spent time living in France?
In college, I spent a semester in Lyon, and after I graduated, I completed my Master’s degree in Paris. I absolutely loved my time in France, and since I wasn’t able to move there permanently, I decided to set all of my novels there!
 How do you get into the Paris mood when you are writing? Do you eat croissants and sip tea?
I do drink a lot of tea, and my other secret writing ingredient is chocolate. I also have French music playlists that I listen to when I’m brainstorming and writing, and blogging about France gets me in the Paris mood as well! I’m thinking I need I may need to take a “research” trip back to Paris soon to get the creative juices flowing for my next book. A Nutella crêpe and a French café wouldn’t hurt either!
In both books, the main characters have fallen in love but not with who they would have imagined themselves with. Is that how you fell in love?
My love story with my husband is really different from my characters’ love stories. I met my husband out at a crazy dance club in college (not the place you’d typically go to meet your future spouse:). We started dating immediately, then spent several years doing long distance while he was in the military and I was finishing college/living in France. We even spent our first year of marriage living in different countries, then finally made it back to the same location in 2006, and life has been much calmer since then! 
In your next book, “Dancing with Paris”, you are taking us back to the 1950′s. What inspired you to write about this era?
Since I’d already written about contemporary life in France in my first two novels, I decided I wanted to switch it up and take my main character back in time to 1950′s Paris. There’s just something so glamorous and exciting about that era in Paris. The fashion, the cafés, the cabaret clubs, and of course . . . the French men! For my next novel, I’m thinking of going back even further to 1920′s Paris.
Okay, a little bit about Paris..
What is your favorite arrondissement?
I love the Latin Quarter in the 5th and 6th arrondissements. Nothing makes me happier than roaming those charming cobblestone streets, stopping at cafés, drinking wine, and topping it off with a delicious pain au chocolat from one of the many corner patisseries in the area!
What is your favorite time of year in Paris and why?
Springtime in Paris is truly magical. The cold of winter has finally evaporated, the flowers are blooming, and the city really comes alive again!
Can you give us your “Best Kept Secret” about Paris?
This would have to be my favorite patisserie, found in the 16th arrondissement on the rue de Passy. It’s called Aux Délices de Passy, and they have the best pain au chocolat I’ve ever tasted in my life. Just thinking about it makes me want to book my ticket to Paris . . .
And, a speed round…
Amelie or Midnight in Paris
-Amelie
Laduree or Pierre Herme
 -Laduree
Musee D’Orsay or Pompidou
-Musee d’Orsay
French waiters or Waiting for a Birkin bag
-French waiters
rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré or Le Marche aux Puces
-rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
Kiss on top of La Tour Eiffel or on Pont des Arts
-Love them both, but will have to go with Pont des Arts
Merci to Juliette for taking the time to answer my burning questions!  To learn more more about her, you can visit her website and follow her on Facebook to get updates about the launch of “Dancing with Paris”.

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!

What the Ladies are Wearing in Paris This Summer

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Summer in Paris!!!  Yes, it can be very crowded but at least you have your Paris apartment rental to escape from it all.  From a fashion point of view, summer is the time when the Parisian girls, who normally stick with black and white, show off their colors.  Visitors to the fashion mecca should follow suit.  Here are CobbleStay’s top picks for what to pack this summer when traveling to Paris.

The temps in July peak at about 70 degrees, so wearing a long sleeved top can be a smart idea.  We also love this long skirt for the days that you might visit a church.  Keeping your limbs covered is a sign of respect.  The model’s platform sandals peeking out from the skirt are great for walking the cobblestone streets.

This outfit is perfect for visiting the museums and lunch at a cafe.   She can easily take off the cardigan when it is warming up outside and the bag…the perfect size for your cell, your camera, a journal and a bag of snacks.

We love this look because it is classic Paris style with a kick!  The Breton stripes thrown around her shoulders are perfect.  Her red pants are VERY à la mode and her shoes will keep her moving in comfort all day.

We can’t leave out the men!  We know it takes a special guy to get all fancy like these Paris locals.  But we can’t help but love them for their hats, touches of red and their argyle socks.

So…what are you packing this summer?

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?

A Free Woman in Paris by Karen A. Chase

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Wandering the streets of Paris, especially at sunset, always makes me feel like I’ve traveled back through time. Even the cars in shadow feel like they are from another era.

A guest post by Karen A. Chase,  author of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log (40 years. 40 days. 40 seconds.)

 When I realized I had to turn forty, I decided I could that gracefully in Paris. I had been to Paris fifteen years earlier but only for five days and it hadn’t been long enough. Although many writers have changed their lives and moved there, I didn’t need to do that. (Okay, I wanted to, but I couldn’t.) So, I settled on going for nearly forty days.

I rented an apartment, planned for a year, put work on hold, and said, “Bonjour 40!” It was delightful. Days were filled with all sorts of food, museums, writing, experiences, people, and did I mention the food? I kept a blog while I was there, and this entry is one that lingers with me as the most perfect day for a woman alone in Paris.

Day 15 ~ May 5

I got lost. Hopelessly, wonderfully, nowhere in particular-ly lost. I did start out my day with a planned visit to a museum (Musée Jacquemart-André), but once I left it I just got wanderlust for the next eight hours. It sounds frightening, but no, wandering in Paris is delightful. Every corner I went around had another little strip of charming stores, grand statues, festive cafés, gardens, architecture, flowers, or monuments to behold.

With no phone, and limited email access, being unplugged is giving me the freedom to go out for these aimless excursions whenever writing hits a wall or my curiosity gets the best of me. My favorite spots are the really small, short streets that wind together in a jumbled, crooked mess. There, the traffic noise is reduced significantly, the shopkeepers are a bit friendlier, the wares are more unique, and cafés are quainter. It’s there that Paris feels more like Paris.

In my meandering, I tried to visit the overcrowded Arch de Triomphe and ended up on the Champs Elysées yesterday. Within about five minutes, I grabbed a free bicycle and escaped the area entirely. I didn’t come to Paris to see tourists eating fast food and buying overpriced American designer clothing. It isn’t the romantic boulevard it was when Joni Mitchell sang about it.

Bandit

My footsteps finally led me to the crab shack and bar, L’Amuse Geuele, at the end of my block in the 4th arrondissement. It is fast becoming a favorite. It is managed by Bandit-the-dog who barks at everything he’s never seen before and sits next to me begging for food. Dorothée, his owner, speaks wonderful English, so here I can learn and share equally. We chat until she closes for the night. As my day of wandering ended, words from that same Joni Mitchell song come to me: “I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive. There was nobody calling me up for favors, and no one’s future to decide. . . .”

We were thrilled to have Karen submit a post to share with our guests!  You find her on Twitter @KarenAChase, on Facebook or on her website here: http://www.karenachase.com/

Paris: Your Home Away From Home? by Meghan Sexton

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

A guest post by Meghan Sexton

Watching Midnight in Paris, recently, made me fondly reminisce about my brief time in France.

See, my introduction to Parisian life was as a child.  In an instant, Woody Allen’s cinematic representation of softly lit gay Paris brought it all rushing back.  I vividly pictured myself as a young girl soaking up the experience like a sponge.  At a tender age, I had my own romance with the City of Lights.  It was a dazzling introduction to such a historic and iconic culture.

There was a certain je ne sais quoi.  I was in store for a dizzying array of activities.  Viewing the Mona Lisa in the tightly packed Louvre was a shock.  She was the size of a stamp!  Being such a staple of Parisian culture, I thought she would have been larger than life.  One misty afternoon in a sidewalk café, my family and I indulged in the largest slice of tart cherry pie.  I couldn’t get over how opulent the café was with its wrought iron details and delicate bistro tables.  Everyone seemed impossibly chic and I was enveloped in an inner glow.

Originally my family had reservations in a centrally located posh hotel, but due to the insistence of a family friend, we stayed with them in their flat in Paris.  What a contrast!  What a way to experience the culture, the food, and the atmosphere – all from the front row seat of a local’s perspective.  Staying in a home environment as opposed to a hotel imparted a totally different vibe.  My curiosity was peaked!

Travel is my passion, but Real Estate has been my profession.  I can appreciate the essence of a home away from home.

Experiencing Paris in a vacation rental gives you the opportunity to pick up the essence of what it must feel like to be a local.  The very activities that would normally be so mundane at home are suddenly a novelty.  A hotel room can be comfortably bare and short on sentiment.  It can be beautifully decorated, but stripped of the local flavor.  The owner of the vacation rental has taken the time to pull together elements of daily life.  Perhaps they have a drawer filled with local menus with random penciled in notes.  Maybe they’ve dotted the space with quirky local trinkets.  You’d never get any of these personal touches if you were simply a guest in a hotel.  You have all the comforts of home, without the corporate feel; it’s far more intimate.

Had my family and I not stayed with friends, how else would I have been able to learn about the ins & outs of scamming the local transit.  Apparently, there was some sort of honor system.  Clutching a booklet of pre-purchased tickets, our friend demonstrated how a lot of locals would casually keep rotating the same hole punched ticket for admission.  Hardly scandalous, but I enjoy snickering at those little aspects of daily life.

Next up for this starry-eyed traveler will be jaunting through the grounds of Versailles, every nock and cranny of Champagne, and the rocky beaches of Nice.

Meghan Sexton is a Southern California native who is passionate about travel and all its accouterments.  Check out her blog geared toward first hand travel tips, insight, and anecdotes for women travelers.  Are you in the know?  Meghan’s Guilty Pleasures Travel Blog  You can also find Meghan on Twitter @MGPTravelBlog and on Facebook