Friday, 30 July 2010

Abruzze. Yummy Italian-ness.
And Corsican-ness. And Spanish-ness.

Being in the centre of town, there are many, many eating options near the Great Apartment (click here to see a few), and although Abruzze isn't a restaurant, it might be a good option for a snack at lunchtime. Each day, they make up fresh sandwiches with different Italian meats (or Corsican, or Spanish), and you can add an Italian cake and a drink for 7.50€, which isn't expensive.

You can eat in if you want, or perhaps take your mini meal to the nearby Jardin Anne Frank.
The store also has plenty of other sliced meats, cheeses and dry foods that look rather yummy. If you're in Paris and don't have time to pop down to Italy or Spain, you could just buy all the food here!
They also have an enticing selection of wine and drinks, perfect for taking back to the Great Apartment. Everything you need for l'apéritif!
Abruzze is at 33 rue de Montmorency (just turn left out of the apartment and you'll see it on the opposite pavement before you get to the main road). As they say on their sign, Buon appetito :-)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Quick help needed with Google

I few months back I went to the trouble of registering the Great Apartment on Google Maps, but I didn't realise that this would also make it show up in Google searches (a handy bonus).

Not only do we turn up, but - in France at least - we are the first result on the first page! That means that if you type Great Apartment Paris and click "I'm feeling lucky", you're directed immediately to our site. Kinda cool.

However, I know that Google results can vary from country to country. Could our loyal readers from abroad try typing Great Apartment Paris into Google and leave a comment to say whether we are top of the list in your country too? I'm curious to know... Thanks!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Inspiring horticulture

We've always made an effort with our plants at the Great Apartment. The window box in the main room is renewed regularly (er, because things keep succumbing to my relentless overwatering) and the geraniums at the bathroom window were added in Spring of 2009 (although they all died off and had to be replaced after the extremely cool winter we had last year). Very well they are doing too.

We even bring the green-ness indoors with a plant in the bathroom and a little cut flower in a vase in the main room. Sometimes they're sweet, sometimes they are undeniably super lovely...

Until now it seemed that this effort had gone completely unnoticed by the neighbour opposite our bathroom though; his windows had remained desperately bare... until very recently, when we were glad to see that he'd finally invested in a window box, a pot holder, a tub and even the watering can to look after it all. Perhaps we have inspired him! Soon his plants will be looking very funky indeed.

But wait just a second. How funky is funky? I mean, what exactly is our neighbour growing? Let's get a close-up...
Man! That is the weediest weed I've seen for quite a while. You can tell he's new at this. Some gardening lessons would probably do him the world of good. Mind you, I suppose that if he had an enormous lush bush of the stuff, the rest of the building might hassle him for a leaf or two... ;-)

P.S. Neither of us are ever going to rival this façade on rue de Montmorency. Impressive (and slightly annoying) indeed!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Time to meet our biggest fan

It's been hot in Paris. Ridiculously hot. And although the Great Apartment is out of the sun in a solid stone building, eventually it's going to start warming up. And it has.

A popular question from potential future guests is 'do you have air conditioning?', and up until now we've always replied to say that - frankly - Paris is not a tropical jungle and that air conditioning is both unnecessary and bad for the planet. But this week was just nonsense hot. So we finally caved in and bought a fan.

But not any old fan. We've always tried to make the Great Apartment something a little special, so we decided to go for the ridiculously expensive but actually quite smart Dyson air multiplier (i.e. it's a fan).

I have to say, there's a lot of laughable marketing bullshit going on around this product that I really don't buy into. Take, for example, the "uncomfortable buffeting" that comes from ordinary fans. You know? That uncomfortable buffeting that people are always complaining about when they're hot and the fan's on. "Can someone please stop that buffeting?" That's what everyone says.
A fearsome representation of a severe case of buffeting. Very, very nasty. Potentially life-threatening. Look at those huge icy blocks of, er, buffet that will just buffet and buffet you UNTIL YOU HAVE A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN.

Nor am I convinced about the air being sped up 15 times faster by a combination of its magical motor thing and a 1.3mm slot (don't ask). But hey, it looks pretty amazing, and the plug is the same colour as our sockets. That's gotta be fate, right?
The thing that will surprise most people (for a limited amount of time, obviously) is that there are no blades to hack the ends of your fingers off, so it's pretty darn safe to use and easy to clean (at least I agree with that part of the spiel). Of course, I had to try it out for you, so here's my really thrilling film of me turning it on.  And watching it move. And putting my hand in it.

My favourite part of all the techno-jargon on the box is this gem:

"Illuminated start/stop button so you can use it in the dark". They've though of everything! All those fans we had before just stopped working at sundown. Genius.

Anyway, forget all the hype and just pleasure yourself with the non buffeting, fifteen times blowier-ness of it. Just don't break it OK? ;-)
Oh, and don't watch this video report from Which UK that basically says it does the same thing as a fan that costs ten times less. Ouch!