Saturday, July 2, 2011

how to rent a paris apartment - part one

If I'm going to live in Paris, I'm going to need a place to live.

Let me admit something right up front. I like a nice apartment! My preference is for an apt that is new or really old. With the multitude of beautiful old buildings in the city, I figure I should have no problem finding the latter. In France when they use the term "old" they mean really OLD - we're talking centuries - however, something really old and recently renovated, would be perfect!
(photo on left is view from inside of our apt to our garden and guest room in our recent Paris apt - I'm now forever spoiled!)

I suggest that before starting your apt search you assess you NEEDS and your WANTS - and then be willing to separate the two.

When you begin your apt search, first determine which of the 20 arrondissments (sections) you want to live in. The most sought after areas are in the core of the city (arrondissments in the single digits). Being in the center of the city will provide easy access to things ( you can walk or use public transport) and will make it much easier if you do not have a car. Be prepared to pay higher rent!

As a rule the apartments are very small (200-400 sq ft), as my friend Sir Robyn pointed out in our recent interview. Robyn has only about 200 sq ft and has been searching for a larger place, but to no avail. He says he has a killer view of the Seine so he is content to stay put for a while longer.

Lately I've been looking for an apartment here because I don't feel that my brand new, 1,300+/sq ft, 2 level condo, is big enough.

I know I'm going to be in BIG trouble in Paris! Finding the perfect apt is going to be a major challenge for me and probably for you too if you plan to move there.

My choice would be the 6th arr (Saint-Germain-des-Pres) or someplace in The Marais (3rd & 4th arr) I know I'm setting the bar high to start, but I'm pretty much willing to live wherever it makes sense, as long as I like the apt - or the view.

You might also want to know a little about what to expect when renting a typical Paris apartment.

There are some pretty clear differences between "American" apts and the typical Paris apt.  There are going to be differences that you are probably not accustomed to. Some of differences will include the apartment itself but also the apartment renting process (we'll get into that one a little later)

Besides being small, for the most part, the apt will come already furnished. I understand It's pretty difficult to find an unfurnished place (actually that's probably better anyway as it will save on shipping heavy household goods across the Atlantic)

It's also very likely that there will be NO elevator.You may find yourself walking up many flights of stairs. Recently we visited with someone who lived in a very nice building near Notre Dame. When we entered the building we found ourselves climbing up 4 flights of very narrow, steep and winding stairs. It was not fun! Think of doing that several times a day and carrying groceries, etc.  So be sure to inquire.
(the photo to the right was the apt we rented in April, it had an elevator and climbable stairs - the best of both worlds - the apt was also 700 sq ft)

This is getting to be a long post for a Saturday, so let's call this - part one - come back and we'll discuss the set up of the apartment in my next post.

Till then, enjoy your weekend and Happy 4th of July to my American readers!


Anonymous said...

Wow -- 200-400 sq. ft. is really small...I guess you just don't plan to do anything but sleep there


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