Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Spirit is Bruised But Not Shattered

I've been diligently scouring the internet to find a Parisian apartment of my very own or to share with 1-2 lovely other roommates. Unfortunately, I've come up empty so far. People have warned me that it is notoriously hard to find an apartment in Paris during September and I chose to not believe them.

At first I was naively optimistic thinking that a large apartment with a great view and patio would fall into my hands and would cost virtually pennies (in dollars). Then I turned cautiously optimistic when I realized that maybe such an apartment will fall into my hands but it will require some hard work, determination and the prospect of paying a pretty penny for it. However, I will still be able to afford other basic necessities such as food and entertainment (I'm pretty sure entertainment is not included in Maslow's hierarchy of needs but whatever). Fast forward to today and I'm feeling completely pessimistic and that my only option for shelter in Paris is to live in a closet with no windows in some shady part of town and to top it off I will be required to pay a caution which will be 6 times my monthly salary as an assistant.

In case you don't believe I've brought along a few illustrations to share.

Exhibit A - "Showering in My Kitchen with Plants;
Who Needs a Shower Curtain When Sticky Butterflies are Strategically Positioned to Cover My Lady Bits"

Exhibit B - Is This Not the Scariest Comforter That You Have Seen This Millennium?

After the past couple of days searching my spirit may be slightly wounded and bruised but it is by no means shattered. I still have time to find that perfect Parisian apartment that I envision in my dreams.

10 comments:

Destination Metz said...

The Parisian assistants often seem to have a lot of trouble finding apartments, but perservere! You'll find something. Often a lot of people choose to find places just outside the perimeter's of Paris (not in dodgy suburbs but just outside the definitive Paris border)which seem to offer a lot more in terms of availability and cost. If you have to stay in a hostel for the first month I highly recommend Hostel Caulaincourt in Montmartre (very clean, single sex dorm rooms with free internet).

Ken Broadhurst said...

Don't give up but don't count on finding something before you arrive in Paris. Maybe the people at one of the schools where you'll be teaching will be able to help you. Finding housing in Paris is very difficult, and you will probably have to make do with something smaller that you might have dreamed about. Having the shower in the kitchen is not so bad really. At least there's a shower.

Ken Broadhurst said...

By the way, have you tried Craig's List in Paris?

joy suzanne said...

Ah! I can really relate to your frustration. The market is a lot more open here in Montpellier, but even so... I want a sink in the W.C., damnit! No using the toilet and then washing my hands in the kitchen sink. It seems certain things are impossible to find... The immobiliers look at me like it's the craziest thing they've ever heard, too.

I would check university online forums or actual bulletin boards for people who are looking for roommates. Grad students, preferably.

Melissa said...

You're more likely to find a comfortable apartment if you rent with a roommate. Have you tired appartager.com? There's also recherche-coloc.com. Don't give up; you're bound to come accross something worthwhile.

Cyrus said...

Hi, I just came across your site. My girlfriend and I are considering doing the English Assistant program next year. We both currently live in California -- and I speak French, and she needs to catch up a bit. Would it be possible for me to ask you a few questions about the logistical side of things on this program? Thanks!

Cyrus said...

My email is cfarivar [at] cfarivar [dot] org

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

Thanks for all of the suggestions and comments.

I've been looking all over, craigslist, appartager.com, you name it. My problem is that I'm incredibly indecisive and non-committal.

Farfallina - Roam 2 Rome said...

YES!!! I've been looking for an apartment in Rome for MONTHS now and I've gone down the same road you have!

From dreaming of a lovely affordable flat...to hoping to find that expensive closet in the historic center!

Aaaa, life abroad!

The Late Bloomer said...

I agree with Ken -- someone at the school where you will be teaching might be able to help you when you arrive, and I know that might not be very reassuring, but it's good to know that there are those kinds of resources. In the meantime, the hostel idea may tide you over. I remember when I was an English teacher's assistant back in '97 I had the opportunity to rent out an apartment in the building RIGHT NEXT to the school -- practically "on campus" so to speak. But I was living with my French boyfriend at the time, and his place was over an hour away. So I made the daily commute -- it was insane. I look back on it and wonder what the hell I was thinking... But the teachers at the school were all very helpful and resourceful. You will probably also find opportunities to tutor some students privately or just to give private English lessons in general to supplement your income -- that is definitely always an option and helps "arrondir les fins du mois"...

Anyhoo, hang in there -- it will definitely come together! You will find something, and things will fall into place.

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