Home Sweet Paris: Apartment Hunting in the City of Light

I fell in love with Paris when I was 16.

I fell in love with Paris when I was 16.

Ever since my first dreamy glimpse of the Eiffel Tower when I was 16 years old, it has been my dream to live in Paris. Never mind that it is one of Europe’s most expensive capitals or that I don’t speak French–I consider these trifle matters, irrelevant compared with the greater beauty of a life lived amongst the cobblestoned lanes, cozy neighborhood cafes and mountains of scrumptious cheese. Living life with this dream unfulfilled was simply not an option. That is how I explained my need for Paris to my fiance, Steve, and being the wonderful guy that he is (and because he’s game to live anywhere), we packed our bags for a three month stint in the City of Light.

My home decor of choice!

When in France!

Finding an affordable apartment in France’s capital is no easy feat. Prior to our arrival, I spent days scouring the likes of Air B n B, Trip Advisor and VRBO. I looked into house sitting (not a lot of options in Paris, but we’ll be doing it in Toulouse next week), and I asked friends of friends if they knew of any inexpensive rentals. Finally, after days of deliberation, I settled on a tiny studio apartment in Montmartre that I found through a hotel that does short term rentals.

Montmartre is magical at night.

Montmartre is magical at night.

We arrived eager to see our new abode. I fantasized about a small balcony, a large bathtub and maybe even a chandelier. But what I got was a pint sized studio that barely had room for the queen sized bed that inhabited it. I was literally able to sit on the bed whilst cooking soup on the two hob stove. Despite it being the smallest apartment known to mankind (we nicknamed it “the writer’s retreat cupboard”), the view of the Sacre Coeur in its perch at the height of Montmartre was stunning–but Steve and I had to admit that the view was not worth the tight squeeze for three whole months. We contacted the rental agency and moved to a larger apartment for the same price (but sans the beautiful view) of 1,200 euros per month ($1,650).

Apartment number one...gorgeous view, way too small.

Apartment number one…gorgeous view, way too small.

Apartment two is perfect. Located on Rue Veron, also in Montmartre, it’s still fairly minuscule but has space to move around: a separate bedroom area, a kitchen counter with barstools for writing and cooking, an armchair and a bathroom that doesn’t require one to be a contortionist to sit down on the toilet! True, it’s on the ground floor, the view is of the garbage dumpsters in the courtyard and it doesn’t exactly have a chandelier, but hey! I’m living in Paris, and this after all, is my dream.

More space in apartment two.

Much more space in apartment two.

The next Hemingway?

The next Hemingway?

A celebratory breakfast.

A celebratory breakfast.

Where do you dream of living?

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8 responses to “Home Sweet Paris: Apartment Hunting in the City of Light

  1. Leslie, it looks wonderful! I’m always interested in good ways to find short-term apartments in cities around the world. Sounds like you found a great approach. Is that a pretty common price for what you were questing? I ask because I was looking at apartments in Stockholm and Copenhagen for us, and your rent sounds pretty darn good. Congrats! And … Happy Belated Birthday! 🙂 ~Terri

    • Thanks, Terri! I had a wonderful birthday that included shopping for engagement rings and visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower! I’ll be writing a post about it soon. Regarding apartments, when I looked online, that price seemed to be on the low end. However when we asked around in the local cafe, the locals said it was high and we should only be paying 800 euros a month! So trying to do things locally makes a big difference I think. But I know Scandinavia is notoriously expensive. Maybe arrive, stay in a hotel for a few days and search for an apartment in person? Good luck with that!

  2. Very cute =) I dreamt of living in Paris and managed to do it through a college program. Lived there for three months, and even though I was studying French every-single-day, I still couldn’t / can’t pick up the language! Didn’t stop me from falling truly madly in love with the city (and eventually in love with a French man… though that was far far away from Paris)

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