Get Transported to Easter Sunday in Paris: Video

March 2nd, 2012

Paris Easter Morning from Bill L'Herault on Vimeo.

3 Things that Inspire me to Cook French Food

February 29th, 2012

Photo Credit: Saveur Magazine, Christopher Hirsheimer

Each time I go to Paris, I get super inspired to come home and be the best French cook in town.  I am not sure if it is the daily trips to the fresh markets, the ultra-chic kitchen in the apartment or the fact that despite eating everything in sight, I never gain weight (French women don’t get fat, right?).    Like wearing a scarf everyday, I usually give up 2-3 weeks after my return.  After my last visit, I decided to find some things to support my new French lifestyle and cooking endeavors and guess what?  They actually helped!  I am a much better French cook, I am trying new recipes with regularity AND they actually taste good….even if I am not wearing a scarf.

Saveur Magazine was an easy remedy to finding new recipes.  The recipes may seem difficult but their writers do an awesome job at breaking down the steps and making them easier to understand.  There are often times whole French menus for different holidays and sometimes there are recipes from famous places in Paris.  I have had great results from their recipes.  I also love it because they do stories on things that might be happening in Paris or on small food shops or tucked away bistros.  It is a great resource for any Francophile.

Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

Oh Julia, how you inspire the French cook in all of us!  I have talked about this book before, it is my go to cookbook for fresh, simple and most of the time easy French cooking.   This book contains 127 pages of recipes and cooking advice written so well that I can hear Julia telling me the sequence of each step in her unique voice.  I usually grab this off the shelf within the first week back from a trip.

Last, I have to mention one of my favorite food blogs.  I can’t remember how long ago I stumbled onto Lost in Cheeseland but I visit it pretty frequently.  I don’t go on for recipes but more for just day to day Paris inspiration.  Lindsey talks about life in Paris, restaurants,  food and her life.  She also is a GREAT photography and her pictures of Paris are lovely.  Reading her blog transports me back to Paris and reminds me of how much I love the city.  I think you will love it.

I would love to know what you are cooking these days and where you are finding your great recipes.  Drop me a line at community@cobblestay.com or tweet me on Twitter @CobbleStay.

3 Things That Made Me Miss Paris This Month

February 24th, 2012

Photo Credit: Vistes-Guidees.net

As February comes to a close, I have been thinking of all of the things that made me miss Paris this month.  I am lucky that I get to talk about it everyday but I often stumble upon pictures, books and articles that tug at my heartstrings and make me realize how much I love this  city.  I found the photo above on Pinterest (as you know, I am addicted!).  It reminded me of taking my 10 year old daughter to the Jardin du Luxembourg and watching her push her boat around in the water.  It was so innocent, so “unplugged” and so peaceful.  A rare moment in this American girl’s life.

And, then I found this on Twitter!  Paris Chanson is an online,  French radio station that plays nothing but classic Paris songs.  Cheesy?  Not really!  I turned it on last Sunday while cooking my homemade pain au chocolat and it made a fun atmosphere that I wouldn’t have going on everyday but once in a while???  ABSOLUMENT!

Photo Credit: Amazon

I read A LOT about Paris!  So many people were talking about this book.  I had to search it out.  It is an illustrated comparison between Paris and New York and it is very cute.  It is a little snarky, a little campy and a whole lot of fun.  It made a great addition to my Paris bookshelf.

Yes, these are the things that made me miss Paris this month.  As if talking about Paris vacation rentals weren’t enough, right?

Jet Lag, Zombies and Your First Day In Your Paris Apartment Rental

February 19th, 2012

Hanging with the zombies in Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Landing in Paris after an extremely long flight can leave you feeling like you have been hit by a truck.  I live in California and try to take non-stop flights whenever possible.  While I get there faster, I always seem to land between 6am and 8am Paris time.  After several trips, I have finally mastered the top 10 things I do when I check into my Paris apartment rental to avoid jet lag and make it through the first day feeling somewhat human.

1.  When renting an apartment in Paris, you can receive your keys as soon as you get into the city.  I ALWAYS take a hot shower the moment I step into the property.

2.  Make yourself an espresso drink and don’t consume anymore caffeine the rest of the day no matter how sleepy you may feel.  You are going to be dragging until about 4pm and then you will suddenly be awake.  Avoid stimulants (caffeine and wine) the first day so that you can get to sleep at a decent hour and start getting on Paris time.  Drink loads of water!

3.  I spend the next hour unpacking and getting my computer all set up (free WiFi!).  It is barely 10am and the city still is waking up.

4.  Set out for a trip to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.   The fresh air and the walking will keep you awake.  It isn’t too social so you don’t have to be “on”.  You already feel like a zombie so why not spend the afternoon with some?

5.  Eat a light lunch at lunch time and drink more water.    Even if you don’t feel hungry, this helps adjust to Paris time.

6.  Spend the afternoon roaming around the neighborhood of your apartment.  Find the market and go grocery shopping.  Pick up some fresh flowers for the bedroom.

7.  Resist the urge to take a nap!  Not on your first day, you will regret it later.

8.  You should be feeling awake by now and ready for dinner.  Remember, more than one glass of wine will keep you up later.  I know, I know…”It is Paris!”  You can drink tomorrow.  Take a nice stroll after you eat; I love the Place Dauphine.

9.  Despite your sudden burst of energy, head back to your apartment and go to bed at a reasonable hour (11pm).

10.  Set your alarm!  Better yet, set two!  And set them to go off before 10am (I prefer 7:30am).  You will be in your deepest sleep around 7am Paris time.  I can’t tell you how many times we slept half the day away on our second day.  Once we even slept through the alarm.

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to being adjusted to Paris time with minimal jet lag.  Bon Voyage!

Bonne Saint Valentin

February 14th, 2012

Photo Credit: Cosas Minimas

Paris IS for Lovers!

We have created our Top 10 Romantic Things To Do in Paris Guide and would love to send it to you with a little something special included.    Send us an email (community@cobblestay.com) with Romance in the subject line and we will make sure you receive it.

Bonne Saint Valentin from us to you!

Recipe: EASY Pain au Chocolat

February 12th, 2012

Photo credit: Baker Lady

As many of you have read, I have been more than a little obsessed with Pinterest.  Besides fabulous pictures of Paris, I have been pinning many pictures of food.  When I showed my husband my “French Food” board, he asked if I was ever going to make any of the things that I had pinned.  All right, I may have issues with collecting cookbooks that I have never even attempted a recipe from but this was going to be different.  I am going to actually MAKE something that I had pinned.  Coincidentally, I had read a recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Nili Stevens Inspired Living and pinned a picture of a homemade pain au chocolat at about the same time.  I took this as a clue that it should be the first attempt at making a Pinterest recipe.  Both websites offered their easy recipes and I combined them to make my version.  My little creations were SO good.  They were gobbled up in mere minutes.  If we closed our eyes, we were transported to our apartment in Paris.  They were so easy to make, I almost feel guilty.  Really!  You MUST try it.

So easy I feel guilty Pain au Chocolat with raspberry

One package of frozen puff pastry, thawed (I bought mine at Trader Joes)

One bar of really good dark chocolate

Raspberry preserves

1 egg, beaten

Powdered sugar

Let your puff pastry thaw out.  Once out of the package, lay it flat on a cutting board and cut it into 4 squares.  Break off a a chunk of dark chocolate and put on the edge of a square of pastry and put one tablespoon of raspberry preserves on top of the chocolate.  Fold the square of pastry over to make a triangle (kind of like a bandana).  Take a fork and “close” the edges by pressing down on them.  Brush each triangle with the egg wash.  Take a sharp knife and cut a little slit on the top of each triangle.  Place each triangle on a baking sheet (I line mine with a Silpat mat) and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.  Once out of the oven, sprinkle them with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

Visual Thought for the Weekend: 02/10

February 10th, 2012

Photo credit: Ladyleia

The inside scoop on the City of Light from the Daily Pilot

February 7th, 2012

Drew Graham of CobbleStay properties stands on the balcony of Left Bank Penthouse 018 in Paris. (Courtesy Danielle Voirin / September 17, 2010)

Costa Mesa-based company helps give tourists some local knowledge, accommodations when they visit Paris.

By Sarah Peters

February 3, 2012 | 10:56 p.m.

Drew Graham will always have Paris.

The Newport Harbor High School 1996 alumnus spent 10 years in Europe, including eight years in the City of Light, before returning home to open a Parisian vacation apartment rental agency.

“With CobbleStay, we create Parisian insiders out of travelers,” Graham said of the Costa Mesa-based company he launched in 2010.

Upon returning home from Paris, Graham saw a need for a bridge between American travelers and French culture.

“I think that it is very hard to navigate the city on so many different levels without having had the experience of living there yourself,” Graham said. “I had a very interesting experience myself when I first moved, from finding a place to live, how to find a job to how to go about having a social life.”

Living in Paris taught Graham the inside tricks to riding public transportation, where to shop, the best neighborhood cafes and other locals’ secrets — all of which he now channels into his business for his clients.

“It takes away a lot of the stress of traveling,” said CobbleStay client Erin Hallett, a Canadian. “The properties are of the highest quality — you don’t have to worry about finding yourself in a bad neighborhood.”

Hallett, who has traveled to Paris a number of times using CobbleStay, said that the 24-hour availability of a company representative averted a near disaster during her last stay. Upon arriving late to her rental, Hallett and her husband found they were locked out.

“It was the middle of the night when I called CobbleStay,” Hallett said. “[Graham] was able to get the landlord on her cellphone, and we were inside the apartment within 10 minutes.”

While Hallett stays at a CobbleStay property with a view of the Eiffel Tower, more than 20 properties, ranging from 300 to 2,100 square feet, are scattered around Parisian neighborhoods and monuments, such as the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Place Des Vosges, Bastille, Notre Dame Cathedral and boulevard Saint-Michel.

All properties are fully furnished, offer more privacy than a hotel and have basic amenities such as Wi-Fi. Accommodations start at $150 a night.

“Once you stay in a vacation rental with the right agency, you’ll never want to go back to a hotel,” Graham said.

A business plan was not all that he brought home from his life in France.

Graham met and married his wife, Meri Graham, and had two children, Alex and Kristina, while overseas.

Having children influenced the couple’s decision to leave Paris. They currently live in Costa Mesa.

“Meri and I just felt like we had done what we wanted to do in Paris,” Graham said. “It’s a great place to be a young couple, a great place to be parents, but we wanted to raise our children somewhere less urban.”

However, with the daily — and often late-night — operations of CobbleStay, Graham hasn’t had to entirely leave Paris behind.

“I get to keep one foot in the water where I grew up and one foot in the water in Paris, the city I fell in love with for the eight years I was there,” Graham said.

To view the article from the Daily Pilot website, click HERE.

Street Art in Paris

February 5th, 2012

Photo Credit: MaiLaifu

Written by Daniella Carrese

Street art is a part of any major city. Although street art is associated with graffiti and is not commonly seen as art but more as vandalism, in Paris the art is enjoyed by many spectators from all around. Street art gives a city character beyond it’s history. Today’s generation sees beyond the tagging and sees the originality and creativity that is put into the art form. All around Paris, as in any major city, there are many streets which have such art. The graffiti is embraced by many Parisians and seen as a way for many artists to express their emotions, and a way to liven up the city. Parisian street art is very different than most city art. Street art in Paris generates a picture with imagination and creativity. The color brought among the grey and brown walls in the city create a brilliant image to show the vibrant colors and scenes expressed by artists.  There are some tours around the city, of the art. To find certain areas that have these art forms visit this website. Even though some of these this may not be near your Parisian apartment rental, you can take a walking tour around the city and finds some of these locations.

To read more by Daniella, click here:  Coco Chanel

It is Bitter Cold in Paris This Weekend

February 3rd, 2012

if it looks like this, who cares?