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Nielsen, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, takes the reader on her search for a dream apartment in Paris armed with only a limited ability to speak French but an enormous amount of hope. When Nielsen's husband agrees to buy their own pied-à-terre in Paris ("Even our accountant thinks it's a good idea"), she starts her crash course in the Parisian real estate market, a world away from her native Australia, in custom as well as distance. Entering her first real estate office, Nielsen encounters the particulars of buying a piece of Paris: apartments are sold by the meter, not by the number of rooms; a buyer generally makes an offer immediately after the first showing; and the current owner could be lingering in the dining room as the apartment is shown. From dark and crumbling to bright and strangely shaped, the apartments the Nielsens see are a side of Paris living they never knew existed; in the end, their dream comes true. Nielsen's breezy writing makes this a sweet memoir that would appeal most to those dreaming of having their own piece of Paris. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.