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Buying a Piece of Paris: A Memoir

3.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  165 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Buying a Piece of Paris is 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 mov
ebook, 256 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2007)
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May 21, 2012 Arianna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I enjoyed the taste of Paris with this book, but I wasn't ever totally sold on an entire book about real estate, even when paired with the many truly Parisian experiences that the book touched on. As humorous as Nielson was at times, she got annoying with her flippancy and the way she made drama out of absolutely everything. (Mon dieu! The railing is blue! How can that be?!?) Honestly. It was overall a cute book, though, but one I would not have spent my time on had it not been recommended. Desp ...more
Jul 27, 2012 Melinda rated it it was ok
It was ok. I'll keep it for my library, but nothing I'd re-read. Loved the cover art...but just an ok book for me.
Aug 02, 2011 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Could have done without it. Cover is the best part!
Stacey Peters
Apr 23, 2010 Stacey Peters rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I love Paris. It is a truly remarkable city, so I understand the author's fixation with owning a piece real estate in the City of Light. She comes face to face with the patronizing nature of French Real estate agencies who only show her apartments no fashionable French person would set foot in, let alone purchase, subjected to inpromptu french lessons from everyone she comes in contact with from waiters to florists and, finally pushy 'won't take no for an answer' realtors. Imagine that, wanting ...more
Maureen Mclelland
As someone who will be travelling to Paris in a few weeks, I appreciated reading about the city from an outsider who is desperate to become an insider. The tale of a pretty fortunate/ entitled Australian who is trying to find the perfect apartment. The book provides great glimpses of the Paris attitude and so many funny little vignettes of life in the city of love.
Ellie and her husband Jack are looking to buy an apartment in Paris as a vacation home. They're from Melbourne Australia.

Nielsen takes us through the entire two-week process, every minute and tedious detail. The conversations in French were not translated most of the time, which I found highly annoying. Characters were thrown in without any explanation of their relationship to the writer. I kept feeling like an interloper in a stranger's dull conversation. If she'd been telling me this story I w
Cindy May
I liked it, but felt at a disadvantage not knowing French since that slowed me down quite a lot stumbling over all the various phrases exchanged between the Australians and the Parisians. For this reason I will probably not keep the book as I don't see me rereading it.
Ellie Nielsen, an Australian, writes about her two week quest to buy the quintessential Parisian apartment. She has difficulty describing it (charming? full of character?) but is sure she'll know it as soon as she crosses the threshold. This is usually my kind of vicarious read but instead I found myself feeling ever so slightly annoyed since it sometimes seemed as if writing the book was actually the real reason for buying the apartment. Still, I found the glimpses of the Parisian real estate m ...more
Tamara Catlin
I enjoyed this.... Trying to read lots about France before the trip.... Plus I always enjoy reading about houses..... Light but fun
This was a fast, breezy read - I think I read the whole thing in under two hours. No big surprises or even conflicts, but I enjoyed the process - anyone who has tried to negotiate the red tape of French bureaucracy will find this book very true to life.

I see others have commented about not liking that the French isn't translated - I actually really liked that. (And I didn't think the French was so prevalent or essential that you couldn't just skip it if you couldn't read it.)

I had a bit of a jaw

This was a charming book. It was a humorous story of how Ellie Nielsen buys an apartment in Paris and all the ups and downs of the purchase. It was exhausting and exhilerating reading about her adventure. I have always wanted to buy and apartment in Paris also, but think I will just stick to RENTING an apartment when I visit. It was fun to read about her struggling with her French in order to communicate with the real estate agents (although she was pretty well versed) and she described each apa
Anna Ciddor
Jun 01, 2016 Anna Ciddor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely, lighthearted biography. Read on audio and print.
May 29, 2014 Suzka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Blerg. I appreciate that it's totally autobiographical, and that she ended up getting what she set out to do. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER! (Sorry. Are you trying to tell me you couldn't tell that she'd get it, just by looking at the cover?) I appreciate the passion and drive, but it was kinda tedious.

I picked this up at the library, only because it was on the counter (having just been returned) and the other book I was taking out was non-fiction and much less entertain-y.

Erica Leigh
Oct 27, 2012 Erica Leigh rated it liked it
I came across this book a couple of years ago in a museum shop, but did not pick it up – the premise stayed with me, however, and I finally went searching for the book to satisfy my curiosity – and I am glad that I did. An easy and pleasant read, the story of a family’s search for the perfect apartment in Paris was in turns entertaining and charming. Though the book ended with the purchase, I certainly hope they have been happy living in their little piece of Paris.
Jul 24, 2012 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellie's story is so much fun! No, there are no literary prizes being awarded here (I doubt that Nielsen is operates under any false pretentions) but for sheer Francophilian pleasure, don't overlook this one. Nielson graciously wears her uncomplicated, Australian heart of her sleeve, and delivers her observations in a highly readable fashion. I had a lovely time accompanying Ellie on her hunt for the perfect piece of Paris.
It was a walk down memory lane..2 summers ago when i took our 16 year old daughter to Paris to visit with our Australian friends....oh was great..I wonder if Danielle knows Ellie, as they are both from Melbourne. A quick read and oh so entertaining..especially with a good glass of wine..or two. I happened upon this on the recent acquisition shelf at our local library. What a surprise. Loved It...
Mar 19, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful - but I am a travel memoir junkie. This young Australian couple apparently inherited a boatload of money from the author's mother and search for a pied a terre to call their own in Paris. A fun read and I would be insanely jealous if Ellie didn't seem like a nice sort and not spoiled by her good fortune. This is a short, fast read - and as satisfying as a cafe creme with pain au chocolat.
Jul 02, 2013 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like reading anything about Europe, so the title caught my attention. I have always thought it would be fun to like in France. However, listening to this book and also watching House Hunters International on HGTV, I am not sure my dreams of living in another country will match any reality I would find! A few hundred thousand doesn't get you much real estate in Paris.
Ok, she has tons of money and is able to buy a nice apartment which she can only visit rarely. This is the kind of person who makes Paris so expensive for people who live there. It was an annoying book. That said, having real estate shopped myself abroad, it was interesting to see how different things are from country to country.
An Australian woman embarks on a plan to buy an apt in Paris. I loved it. I love most books about adapting to life in France; this was no exception. I will be dropping it off for you Elisabeth but I am waiting to finish another book I am currently reading which I also expect you will love.
Jan 21, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
What a wonderful, amazing, incredible story! It's so inspiring to hear of other people's travels & exploits abroad. I discovered a few things about France, Paris in particular, that I never knew. It was also great to practice some of my long lost French!
If real estate in Paris is an interest to you, this book might be interesting. I found the book to be a bit tedious since it over-emphasized the process of apartment hunting in Paris. Photos would have been another enhancement to the book.
Rosie Beck
The adventures and mishaps of an Australian woman and her husband as they search for a Parisian apartment to call their own. You must know some French as it is sprinkled throughout with no translations.Charming and funny.
What a lovely way to travel on long motorways and highways. Listening to this book was charming. Although getting out of the car in Rotorua and trying to remember to speak English and not French was a small challenge.
Cheryl Booze
Aug 26, 2014 Cheryl Booze rated it liked it
I loved the cover art as well but found the pace slow and sometimes a bit boring. It picked up for me around page 100 and then I flew through it. The French sprinkled throughout was lovely.
Very fun book ... Oh to have a rich husband who is willing to buy me an apartment in Paris. this is a very light read but very fun if you do have the fantasy of some day living in Paris.
I loved it! It was fun reading about the author's love affair with Paris, struggles with the language and culture, and fantasy of owning her own little piece of the city of light.
Mar 11, 2016 Relyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I wouldn't.
Recommended to Relyn by: I can't remember.
Shelves: memoir
YEESH what a boring book!! Want to buy an apartment in Paris. Blah, blah, blah, blah... Should I buy this one? Blah, blah, blah... Oh look - we bought one. Spare me!
Jan 25, 2011 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me want to get on a plane and head to Paris. Ellie Nielsen writes just like I would envision myself buying an apartment in my dream city!
Not quite the bloopers and blunders I expected as that's what the description made it sound like. Still a fun and easy read, though.
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