Saturday, March 29, 2014

What You Need to Know about Paris Apartments

My desk in Paris
I love living in an apartment in Paris!  I am a literary, eclectic Romantic and I have always dreamed of living the life of Simone de Beauvoir or of Mavis Gallant : reading, writing, drinking coffee and wine in the neighbourhood café and smoking Gitanes. ( I don't smoke at all but it was part of the fantasy).

I have enjoyed every apartment and every neighbourhood that I have lived in during the last couple of years but there are many practical considerations involved. In Canada, I live in 92 square metres but in Paris right now,  I am living in 30 square metres. This is a fairly typical size rental and accommodates  2 singles or 2 couples if they are friendly and tidy. I always rent apartments with room for a friend to visit.

My bed
These doors hide my bedroom and give privacy if I have guests. 
In the Paris apartments that I have rented, furniture is minimal because there is the practical consideration of the stairs. I am on the fourth floor of this apartment but we do not count the rez-de -chaussée (ground floor). Janet left early this morning and I am sure that the neighbours were probably awakened to the sounds of clumping and huffing and puffing as we carried the bags down at 7:00 am.
It serves them right because someone had a party last night and every time I woke up I heard music and voices and laughter. This is Paris!

These stairs twist up for 5 floors. The building is very narrow  and there is only  one apartment on each floor.


There are several bars on our street and there is always some reveller noise. I just noticed how similar the two words: reveller and réveiller are. Anyway, there's always someone out there having a good time who wakes you up during the night. If it really bothers you, bring earplugs! It's a vacation so you could sleep in except for the early morning street cleaners and garbage trucks. Contrary to the popular misconception, Paris streets are very clean. You will see the green uniformed men throughout the day and there are green bins every few metres.

some basic cleaning purchases

Depending on your rental situation in Paris, cleaning and laundry are considerations.  My best experience has been with my first apartment booked through Paris Address. The apartment was clean on my arrival with an extra set of fresh sheets available. I just e-mailed when I required fresh linens and they appeared inside my door.  I was studying at the Sorbonne that year so I arranged for regular cleaning (at an extra charge). In retrospect, I should have tried to negotiate cleaning as I did rent for five months. The linens in this apartment are fraying and stained so I bought tea towels, a set of towels for myself, facecloths and M. Propre for wiping surfaces. Today, I will attempt to wash Janet's sheets and towels.

Sometimes the salon is also the laundry room.

Using the European combination washer/dryer is an adventure! The first time that I tried, I thought that I had broken something. It took about 4 hours to finish one load. C'est normale. Always choose rapide cycle and DON'T OVERLOAD! Never force the door open however long it takes because the door has a lock.  I wash most things by hand and use a blanchisserie/pressing if the item of clothing warrants it. They launder, hand press and wrap your clothing in tissue paper for a modest sum in most residential areas. If their sign says LUXE, walk away unless you are wearing haute couture.

I enjoy all of these little quirks of Paris living. Although my earlier fantasies did not include laundry, garbage trucks or cleaning products, it is these quotidian elements that transform me from a tourist to a Paris dweller.




4 comments:

  1. I truly enjoyed the one time we rented an apartment in Paris...especially being able to get up and make myself a cup of coffee in the morning, but le monsieur prefers the hotel experience where he doesn't have to make his own bed. ;-) Your apartment looks lovely!

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  2. Thank you for the peek inside your apartment! The washing machine tip is a good one too...
    Those stairs look a wee bit daunting but I am sure it helps to wear off any French bread or pastries.
    You must be enjoying your time in Paris, I am so excited that you are sharing it all with us.

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  3. We've had great success with Paris Address as well and will probably book through them again next year. The combo laundry machines are a bit daunting, at first, but I think they use considerably less energy than our models, altho' perhaps less so as North American standards shift to become so much more eco-conscious. I'll bet your friend really appreciates having you make such great arrangements for her to share.

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  4. Lots of memories jogged with this. The laundry rack in the landing above my salon - took days for things to dry in the winter and early spring. The stairs! My building had an elevator the size of a coffin that always seemed to break down on days when I did a big shop at the market, meaning I had to schlepp the shopping cart up five flights to my apartment.

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