As I’ve mentioned here before, my two great loves are travel and real estate—that’s after my kids and hubby, bien sûr. In a quest for learning more about Paris real estate, renting Paris apartments or buying them, I had breakfast with Adrian. Oh, she’s the lady you’ve seen on House Hunters International on HGTV, my all-time favorite show. (I have a bit of an addiction to it, it’s sad to say.) Anyhow, it was off to the Marais to meet Adrian Leeds, doyenne of all things real estate in the City of Light. I had been reading her French Property Insider newsletters for years, and now I was finally going to meet Madame herself.
Like all good real estate agents around the world, she was on the phone when I arrived. As we ordered, I got her backstory. American and living here since 1994, she decided to come with her husband and daughter for one year, and like so many others, she found it impossible to go home after the year was up. She said she had “crossed over to the other side.” When queried, she explained that once you get a taste of the French way of life and looking at the world, it’s quite difficult to go back to an America-centered point of view. She still doesn’t feel French, she says, but she does feel as if she’s living halfway between France and America after 17 years in Paris. I was beginning to understand just what she meant, as I think we’ve all experienced that feeling a bit even after staying just a week.
So she put her thinking cap on and got to work, and quickly but not easily found a means to stay in France. She found ways within the system to get work, not an easy thing to do. She now helps others who have just touched down assimilate and deal with red tape and all the other overwhelming concerns that come with finding yourself in a country you love but that doesn’t necessarily love you back or want you to stay.
After a myriad of starts, she became a property finder for Americans, Brits and other expats, which means she works not as a real estate broker who represents the sellers, but as a finder for the person who is in search of that elusive apartment in Paris. This means she can give you unbiased advice, so while you’ll pay her, you should get back her fees in savings either by good negotiation, or by her having helped you navigate red tape and save time. Now she’s about to add Nice to her portfolio. She has found many people apartments over the years, and as Paris real estate seems to go up and up in value (especially of late), she has made many people quite a lot of money. She has a new episode of House Hunters in Paris airing soon.
In addition to the property finder company, she has apartments for rent, and for the past several years she’s been developing fractionals in Paris. She has several shares still available at the two-bedroom on the Place des Vosges, which has been well decorated by Martine di Mattéo. A location as divine as this should be seen, and so I went. I loved the green sofa, the outdoor space and the painting from Marie Antoinette, one of my favorite movies by Sofia Coppola. Shares in this home start at 138,900 euros.
Overall, I was impressed by this lady from New Orleans, who found her own way to stay in Paris, raise her daughter and become mostly French while retaining her can-do American attitude.
Editor’s note: Apartment rentals are one of the best ways to gain space and value when staying in Paris for a week or more. Some apartments are even available to rent for five days. Consult our apartment rental company partners for fabulous finds.