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Nielsen, Ellie, Buying a Piece of Paris (New York: St Martin's Press, 2009).

Buying a Piece of Parisis a charming and witty love song to the most beautiful city in the world.

Paris has seduced many admirers, but for Ellie Nielsen it’s true love. So deep is her infatuation that she’ll only be satisfied with a little place to call her own. The object of her desire seems so simple: the sort of apartment she’s seen a thousand times in magazines and movies. Something effortlessly charming, and quirky, and old— and expertly decorated. Something exuding character and Parisian chic. Something quintessentially French.

Little does she realize that the French real estate scene is not quite the dreamscape she’d imagined. With two weeks to find and secure an apartment, and a cursory grasp of the language, Ellie embarks on a mad dash through the streets of Paris, negotiating the fraught world snobby real estate agents, xenophobic bankers and perplexed Parisian naysayers. Thwarted at every turn, in the end it only makes her more determined to succeed.

With her trusty French phrasebook in hand, and plucked up reserves of savoir faire, Ellie undertakes 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 Paris. Written with great verve and a superb ear for language, Buying a Piece of Paris is a joy to read and a pleasure to dream about.


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Studies in Travel Writing (journal)
Centre for Travel Writing Studies (Nottingham Trent University)

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