James Bond never enjoyed a single happy day in Paris, according to the novelist who created him. The fictional spy believed the tourists ripped the heart out of the city”, wrote Ian Flemming.
That may be so but, of course, you don’t actually have to be a tourist in the City of Light. With a little help from an agent – of the real estate rather than MI6 variety – you could always move to the French capital. Then again, why not seek out a home in one of the other French locations where Bond films are set? Get inspiration from cinema’s best-loved secret agent today – and then buy another day!
YOU ONLY LIVE OISE
It's doubtful that 007 would truly have had a terrible time at Paris's most luxurious and literary restaurants. After all, his haunts included the Café de la Paix, once frequented by Oscar Wilde, Le Grand Vefour (which was a favourite of literary villain Marquis de Sade) and even Le Jules Verne atop the Eiffel Tower, named after the author of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. However, the latter was where, in the 1985 movie A View to a Kill, Bond saw a detective being dramatically assassinated. No wonder he has negative memories of Paris.
The plot of A View to a Kill swiftly moves north of the capital to the countryside around the Oise valley. At the Château de Chantilly and surrounding stables, Bond attends a horse sale, though his true agenda is to uncover the secret laboratory of the owner, who is chipping racehorses with performance-enhancing adrenalin devices. Perilously, he's outed as an agent there, dicing with death at the hands of his assassin rival – not that anyone would really associate such drama with Chantilly, or the surrounding Oise valley. The château, racecourse and Museum of the Horse, where scenes were filmed, are havens of tranquillity.
It's possible in the Val d’Oise department (which includes parts of both the Oise and Seine valleys) to reside amid tranquil forests and crisp refreshing air, and yet still be within commuting or day-tripping distance of Paris. Country retreats here boast easy proximity to both urban shops and rural orchards.
One hotspot on the eastern edge of the Vexin Français regional park is Auverssur-Oise, the burial place of Vincent van Gogh. It's also home to an absinthe museum documenting how the painter chopped off his ear in a hallucinogenic rage, and a château dedicated to Impressionist art.
For better-value properties in the Val d’Oise department, consider the western reaches of the Vexin Français regional park and places such as Vétheuil, a pretty village on the River Seine. The Impressionist painter Claude Monet once lived in this ‘best-kept secret’ location, where he painted numerous scenes, though he is more strongly associated with Giverny, a little way downstream in Normandy.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Bond With France
With a licence to thrill James Bond fans, Chloe Govan goes househunting in the film locations immortalised by the spy who loved France
Just 20 minutes from Sarlat-la-Caneda, this tastefully restored home reflects the glory of the Périgord Noir capital, says Ruth Wood
The money column
The ‘B’ word is back! Laura Parsons explains how to protect your money as we near the end of Brexit transition
A renovated farmhouse in Lot-et-Garonne could be perfect for those hearing the call of the wild, discovers Brigitte Nicolas
Buying a holiday home near a popular annual event could guarantee you a beautiful setting and some extra cash, finds Hannah Evans
Joanna Leggett learns all about Georges-Eugène Haussmann – the man who designed the Paris that we know and love
It’s all in a week’s work for France-based Neil Vesma
Write on the edge
When it comes to life in west Brittany, author Wendy Mewes has been there, done that, written the guidebook
A year like no other
So much for spring cleaning — property manager Mary Hall explains how 2020 has thrown a spanner in the works for second home owners
A law unto themselves
Why is French law so different to the law in England and Wales? It all goes back to William, Henry and Napoleon, explains Alan Field
BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL
The Forresters rejoice as Steffy returns home from the hospital. Kelly swipes Steffy's phone to call Liam and tell him that she wants him to be there with her and her mom.
Some artists specialize in doing cartoon tattoos. Others have made black-and-grey realism their forte. Mat Rule is the rare artist who has mastered both. After falling in love with traditional and black-and-grey tattooing, he decided to combine the opposing genres to create an exceptionally unique signature style. His work literally pops off the skin and reminds us of movies like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Cool World" which brought cartoons into the real world. We sat down with Rule to learn how he came up with such a show-stopping style, which characters he loves tattooing most and much more.
MAKE ROOM FOR USELESSNESS
Entrepreneurs want to make useful things. But what if that holds us back from truly inspired ideas?
Social Stars Posts of the Week!
Celeb bffs of the week
Has Paris Become the Healthiest City in the World?
It's long been the capital of wine. And cigarettes. And cheese. But lately it seems more full of virtue than vice. And an army of pedaling Parisians are thrilled.
Running's Class Clown Is Back And He Wants to Be THE BEST IN THE WORLD
Back from the brink of retirement, Craig Engels & is doubling down on his commitment to everything that makes him different.
Hot Plots Preview!
What will Happen
PARIS When It SIZZLES
The lights are BACK ON, and the French capital shines BRIGHTER than EVER, with a revived ARTS and CULINARY scene
Jen's Looking For Love in Paris!
Emily isn't the only one who may find love in Paris. Jennifer Aniston is also searching for Mr. Right in the City of Love, sources tell In Touch. “She's definitely putting herself out there," one source says of Jen, 53, who's in town filming her new Adam Sandler flick, Murder Mystery 2.