On August 29, we book into our Paris Airbnb with little drama – it’s a loft close to the Arche de Triomphe with just enough room for our eight suitcases, if you were willing to use them as bar stools. I chose the apartment for its location – equidistant from Emmanuelle’s Collège (she is entering Grade 6), and Charlotte’s Elementary for Grade 2. It’s on Boulevard Haussmann, which is the style of architecture this aristocratic area of northern Paris is known for. Picture soaring ceilings with crown moldings, ornate fireplaces, Juliette balconies in galvanized steel and double windows opening up to the melancholic Paris skies. The type of place one could write a novel. Or a blog about their year in Paris.
Our loft has one tiny window, plus a skylight in the bedroom. It’s in the Mansard roof of the Haussmann building, and has a washing machine that takes nine hours.
We will spend the first month here, for convenience and economy (it’s $170 a night) while we find a permanent apartment nearby.
Truth be told it’s not our first choice of neighbourhoods. When we’ve come here on holiday we’ve had apartments in the Marias – the fashion district, across from the lively Marché des Enfants Rouge, or in the trendy 2nd arrondissement, on the Rue St. Dennis, where geriatric prostitutes line the sidewalk with handcuffs on their purse straps. We usually prefer the emerging areas of a city – more raw, more innovative, more interesting. But for this year, since the girls are going to International Schools, we’re stuck in the Golden Triangle, amidst the Embassies and Champagne Houses, and, oh well, Frank Ghery’s Espace Culturel Luis Vuitton, the Palais De Tokyo, the Rue du Saint Honoré and The Champs Elysees. I’m sure we will survive.