Fair to say, moving to Paris has been simultaneously the most rewarding and the most disparaging experience of my entire life. But it has not been without its entertaining moments (even if it didn’t feel that way at the time!).
Here is a breakdown of the key sequence of events, starting with part one.
Part one - The apartment search
Paris is one of the biggest cities in the world, with one of the highest turnovers of inhabitants. Surely it would stand to reason that the rental market would be hot, right? Maybe. Only problem was that these guys did NOT want to give me any viewing appointments.
First of all, I tried emailing them (hey, after 2.5 years in Germany it’s a tough habit to break). No response. Then, I resorted to calling them. Given my level of French at the time (even worse than it is now) this was absolutely terrifying, and positively non-productive. And that was when they actually answered the phone, which was not very often.
In those days, I would spend a solid hour every morning trawling through the listings and calling any real estate agent who would answer. Eventually I started racking up some viewings.. and that was when the fun REALLY started.
In Munich everything is so standard. There is a standard size for apartments, a standard price for apartments, a standard quality for apartments. By contrast, in Paris it's a total mixed bag. You never really know what you are going to get, OR more importantly how much you are going to pay for it. (Note: this is a rule that is not limited to apartment hunting).
I remember walking to viewings through totally charming areas thinking “wow, I can see myself living here”, only to be led into a place that looked like it had been used as the set of a horror film the week before. Then I remember another time when I went to visit a perfectly charming apartment, but while waiting out the front for 5 minutes I firmly made up my mind that I would never live there (the guys walking past were apparently the actors in the horror movie).
It got to the stage where I was threatening to join the "Nuit debout" at the Place de la Republique, or to sleep under a bridge (to this one I often received the same response: "well, atleast the bridges in Paris are beautiful"). In any case it soon became clear that even the bridges were out of the question, as Paris proceeded to experience it's highest level of flooding in over 100 years... I started understanding why there were so many crazy people in Paris, and began to see my own fate in their hollow, twitching eyes.
Will I find an apartment? Or will I be forced to join the "Nuit Debout" ? To find out, you'll have to tune in to the next edition of "Moving to Paris: a tragicomedy in four parts"...
But in the meantime, allow me to leave you with a selection of my favourite Parisian real estate photos. I hope you find them as entertaining as I did while I slipped into an easy state of insanity.
So here's a fun signing off note: I'm thinking of translating my future (and maybe past) blog posts into french, mostly as a way of practicing the language (also because I have got used to exposing myself to ridicule over the past couple of months).
What do you think? To my french-speaking friends, would you correct my mistakes in the comments?