Parisian chic and property ownership collide in this lighthearted memoir from Ellie Nielsen. With wry good humor, Buying a Piece of Paris follows its author on her seemingly herculean undertaking: without even elementary knowledge of the French language, Nielsen must purchase a Parisian apartment in just two weeks amid a hot seller’s market - and in doing so, make a dream real. Prolific radio actress Nicki Paul lends acerbic confidence and savoir-faire to the proceedings. A fitting suitor indeed, Paul is no stranger to the marriage of business and fashion, having hosted a long-running series entitled, "The Business of Being an Artist". Paul brims with wonder and excitement, as the perils of the real estate market are no match for the allure of Paris.
Paris has seduced many admirers, but for visiting Australian Ellie Nielsen, it's true love. So deep is her infatuation that, if she can't have it all to herself, she'll only be satisfied with buying her own little piece of Paris.
The object of her desire seems so simple: the sort of apartment she's seen a thousand times in magazines and books. Something effortlessly charming, and old, and quirky - and expertly decorated. Something exuding character and Parisian chic. Something quintessentially French. The trouble is, she has only two short weeks in which to realize her fantasy - and she must somehow negotiate a deal in a foreign language without offending French real-estate etiquette. Is this even vaguely possible, or just a ridiculous folly?
With her trusty French phrasebook in hand, and plucking up her reserves of savoir faire, Ellie embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. Beauty is everywhere even if, like all true romances, there are many obstacles to be overcome. But then, c'est toujours comme ça à Paris.
Anyone who loves Paris and have thought how nice it would be to own an apartment there, whether feasible or not, will love this story.
In a entertaining account of looking for a modest (at Paris prices) apartment, we learn the ropes of finding one. With just enough smattering of French phrases, you learn much about French living, real estate, banking, customs and quirks.
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Would you try another book from Ellie Nielsen and/or Nicki Paull?
If you’ve listened to books by Ellie Nielsen before, how does this one compare?
I was dismayed at the lack of character development and plot. The descriptive prose, which I adore when reading of Paris (or any European city) was lacking.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
Not much, given the material.
Could you see Buying a Piece of Paris being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Any additional comments?
This book had so much potential. It would have been so much better had it focused more on the people, place and not just shallow real estate. Also, the husband was never more than a one-dimensional character.