Franco File Friday: Erica of Haven in Paris

2 July 2011

One of the advantages of running your own business in Paris, whether you are French or foreign, is always being able to rely on a stable flux of visitors each year. The interest in and fascination with Paris is unwavering, motivating 42 million tourists a year to pack their loose-fitting pants and walking shoes, book flights and come for, what is in most cases, a travel experience of a lifetime.

Veteran Paris regular Erica Berman knew just how to tap into what travelers to Paris were looking for when she started Haven in Paris, short-term apartment rentals – a chance to live more like the locals, feel at home in a Paris apartment and have the luxury of knowing they have the kitchen space to prepare their own meals should they choose to do so. Launched in 2004, HIP (as it has come to be called), offers a selection of studios, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments all over the city, in addition to a few villas in Provence and Tuscany, that cater to a range of budgets. Out of this venture developed a hugely successful and entertaining blog which has become an invaluable resource for impending visitors and Paris dreamers alike.

Of all the expats I’ve met, Erica has by far been in Paris the longest and knows the city (and beyond) in and out. From Boston to Paris, with Genoa in between, this American is a devoted Francophile.

Castle in Le Lot

Describe what you love about France in three words. 
Food, people, travel.

What does Paris have that Boston and Genoa do not?
Paris has a very specific feel to it. It is a feeling that no other city in the world I have visited has evoked. The light, the beauty at every turn, the variety of different cultures and food, the architecture, history and art….

Personally, I love that I can have food from a different country every night if I want and I adore meeting people from all over the world. In Genoa, the food is primarily Italian as are the people who live there. Boston is an interesting and lovely city but so much smaller than Paris.

Favorite spot in France to recharge and relax?
I love traveling in France for the beauty and diversity of the scenery as well as the variety of different foods in each region. Top of my list would be Corsica, Le Lot, Le Perche and Burgundy.


Favorite French city outside of Paris? Why?
I love Figeac. It’s a tiny little town in the Lot region of France. The people are super friendly and there’s an adorable farmer’s market on Saturday mornings with fabulous cheeses, produce, wine and local delicacies. The city (so small I hesitate to call it a city) is located minutes from hiking in the hills and countryside.

Merce and the Muse

Your latest go-to spot for modern French food?
My new favorite French restaurant is Le Pantruche* in the 9th. It is delicious and everyone is very friendly. It’s also a five minute walk from my Paris apartment, what more can I hope for!

Thanks Erica! I highly recommend considering a short-term apartment rental from Haven in Paris on your trip to Paris for a much more intimate experience than what you’re likely to get at a hotel. Be sure to follow the HiP Paris Blog (one of my favorites) and keep tabs on new articles, hot spots and apartment deals from the whole team by following them on twitter and facebook!

{All photos courtesy of Erica Berman}

*Le Pantruche
3 rue Victor Massé
75009 Paris
Reservations highly recommended

**My apologies for a late-posting of Franco File Friday… I’m on American time! Back to the Paris routine soon….

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