They call it “The City of Love,” a place of lights and magic, where the act of coupling is practically a national pastime. But long after you have departed Paris and left its cozy corner cafés, hidden jardins and accordionists playing “La Vie end Rose” along the Seine, its romance stays with you, wherever you go. “A moveable feast,” Hemingway called it. “There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris,” he once said.
Laurent Demeure and Vanda Doncelle, luxury specialists with the international buyer’s office affiliated with Coldwell Banker France and Monaco, the Master Franchisee in France and Monaco and Coldwell Banker Previews International®, are fortunate to live out Hemingway’s vision of happiness on both fronts, since they call Paris home. The husband-and-wife team have 30 years of real estate experience and seven years of marriage between them—and know all too well how quickly two souls can fall under the intoxicating spell of “Le Paree.” The pair initially met at a mutual friend’s dinner party, bonding over—what else?—wine.
“I’d brought a double magnum of Ch?teau Chasse-Spleen,” recalls Doncelle. “Looking at the oversized bottle, Laurent came up to me and asked, ‘Do you need some assistance to drink it?’ We both laughed and started talking about the protocol of bringing wine to parties.”
Ten years later, the couple are still mistaken for newlyweds (“I still feel like we’re dating,” says Demeure). It’s almost hard to imagine, given the fact that Doncelle and Demeure work together everyday in the rue Lamennais office of Coldwell Banker France and Monaco. Yet, selling some of the country’s most prestigious real estate has brought the two closer together, as if giving their international clients a moveable feast is part of a higher calling. Previews® Inside Out recently asked the Parisian power couple to share their insights on life, love, happiness and the pursuit of Hermès (mais oui!).
Most romantic place in Paris: The Jardin du Palais Royal. Surrounded by elegant arcades, this peaceful, nostalgic garden is nestled in magnificent 17th-century architecture. It is a quiet refuge in the heart of the city.
My idea of perfect happiness is: Early morning in the kitchen, enjoying the breathtaking view of the city with a cup of coffee.
Person I most admire: My grandfather. He was a role model of trust and an innovative Realtor who changed the real estate business in France.
Greatest extravagance: My favorite wine, Chateau La Lagune.
Greatest necessity: Family.
Looking forward to: Seeing more foreigners moving to Paris.
Greatest love: Vanda and my children.
If I didn’t live in Paris, I would live: In Monaco. Where else?
I can’t live without: My iPhone.
Motto: “Les actions parlent plus que les mots.” It means, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Most romantic place in Paris: Fontaine de Médicis, Jardins du Luxembourg. But everywhere in Paris is romantic.
If I didn’t live in Paris, I would live in: Los Angeles, for the amazing weather and nice beaches.
I can’t live without: My iPhone.
Greatest extravagance: Enjoying Parisian fashion.
Greatest love: My pug, Churik, the cleverest dog on the planet.
Luxury is: Having enough time to enjoy life. And a Hermès bag!
Romance is: Enjoying a gourmet meal in good company with great wine.
Favorite romantic moment in Paris: So many! I would say holding hands in the Jardins du Luxembourg during summer.
Two minds are better than one when: Cooking a French meal.
Best piece of advice when buying a luxury Paris property: The district you decide to live in is very important. Paris arrondissements are like little villages and have different energy. So it’s important to know about the surroundings.
Preview the Paris lifestyle: A magnificent 19th-century mansion in highly sought-after La Muette, near Ranelagh Gardens.
Vanda Doncelle and Laurent Demeure have more than 30 years’ combined real estate experience, serving international buyers throughout France and Monaco. Laurent Demeure is president and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker France and Monaco. Doncelle serves as head of the international buyers office of Coldwell Banker France and Monaco. More information can be found here.