The Apartment Hunt

Jet lag has its advantages: 6 a.m. jogs in the Parc Monceau as the sun comes up; endless dark hours to scour listings in search of that perfect Paris apartment. Of course I’ve been scoping listings on Paris version of Craig’s List, LeBonCoin, for months. And Seloger, and SabbaticalHomes, and Book a Flat, and One Fine Stay, and others. I quickly learn that three bedroom apartments are very rare because Parisian families keep them for themselves. “It took us a really long time to find an apartment,” Patricia, a friend of my cousin’s tells me on email. Her children go to the same school and she lives right on the park. Our friends who live in the Marais in an amazing apartment said the only way they found it was a friend in the building noticed it was being renovated and they got in before it was even listed. Still, their son could not get into the local school.

On our 5th day in Paris a listing pops up on my feed that looks promising – 3,000 Euros for three bedrooms on the famous luxury shopping street Rue De Faubourg St. Honoré. I Google map the street view which shows a beautiful façade with a wine store next door. Convenient! Maybe too convenient. The agent, pulls up on his scooter later that day and we squeeze into the Parisian elevator up to the top floor. The apartment is OK, but the furniture is worse than my first student apartment. The dining room table is a hot pink and white high top with swivelling barstools. We sit down to discuss. Simon, our agent who speaks beautiful English from a stint in New York, says he has another 3 bedroom nearby but it’s under renovation. Can we see it? Today? we ask. 20 minutes later we are walking through the apartment of our dreams, with it’s soaring ceilings and intricate plaster work. The kitchen is brand new, there is even a bathtub and large closets. There is a swirl of dust as the Parquet floors are being refinished…for us! There is a catch, of course. The company, which owns 300 of such apartments, will only rent to a corporation, not an individual. I dissolved my company after its sale and Murray runs a sole proprietorship. But we were willing to go to battle for this one, and we did.