In case you’re wondering what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks, apart from eating tacos, I’ve been looking for an apartment. Again? Yes. I haven’t mentioned it here because I was kind of in denial, and then I hoped that if I just shut up and buckled down it would all be over faster, but that has unfortunately not been the case. This has been, by far, the most painful and grueling of my Parisian apartment-hunts to date. And it is ongoing. As in, we still haven’t found a place that we both like and is willing to rent to a couple of
itinerant immigrants steadily-employed thirtysomethings. It is, quite frankly, baffling. And extremely frustrating. And a little scary, because we’re supposed to be out of this place in mid-April and are facing the very real possibility that we won’t find a place to rent before then and will have to put all our stuff in storage or sell it and sleep on someone’s couch until we find a place of our own. It is an unsavory thought.*
From time to time I wonder if we’re being too picky. But the conclusion I come to every time is no. A kitchen meant to reheat soup and frozen dinners from Picard is not going to cut it. An apartment that requires me to commute for an hour won’t either, because the Métro doesn’t run that early in the morning. And is it really so much to ask, in this, the supposed culinary capital of the world, that the kitchen accommodate someone who likes to cook and entertain? I think not.
Towards the end of our last apartment search, only a year ago, Nick suggested that it would have been interesting if I’d photographed the kitchens of the apartments we looked at to show people the gamut of Parisian apartment kitchens from the ghastly to the glorious. (By glorious I mean containing cupboards and/or shelves for storage of cooking equipment and food, a stove, oven, and refrigerator, and a bit of counter space. That is to say, a usable kitchen.) It didn’t happen then, but this time I was prepared. So without further ado, allow me to present to you the kitchens I’ve seen so far.
This was one of the first ones we saw. The apartment was nice, pretty, well-located, and freshly repainted, but this is the kitchen in its entirety. Once I put in a stove and a cupboard, there remained enough room for one person to stand. We discussed putting the fridge in the living room, but then we wouldn’t have room for the table.
This one was empty, save for a sink and a two-burner glorified hotplate. Those cupboards? Totally empty inside, as in, no shelves. Still, I had visions for this one, as it was open to the living room and it was located on the most beautiful courtyard. Our application was denied.
Pros: it has a huge fridge and four burners. Cons: no counter space at all, no room for an oven.
This is one of the better ones. Nice big two-compartment sink, four burner stove with oven, room for a large fridge (which we would have to buy), lots of cupboards. We’re waiting to hear back.
The picture doesn’t really capture how big and intrusive the post, no, pillar in the middle of this kitchen is. Also the building was in terrible shape, the place got no light, and it was really bizarrely arranged. Nick asked if I thought they Gerrymandered it. After looking it up, I replied in the affirmative.
Like: gas burners. Dislike: only two of them. Like: big fridge and washing machine. Dislike: microwave instead of oven. Like: large sink. Dislike: saggy bed, location right above the train tracks.
I was kind of enamored with this one – again, it was open to the living room, and therefore somewhat expandable. Already, there’s room for a big fridge and an oven, and it has some cabinets already installed. Plus, it had a large closet and a nice bathroom and it was right by the Marché Aligré. But no point dwelling on what I can’t have.
Good use of space, but just. too. small.
Apart from the fact that this place was completely under construction and is unlikely to be finished by the time we need to move in, it had room for a fridge OR an oven OR some counter space, but only one of those.
Love at first sight. Yes, we would have to buy an oven and refrigerator, but the rent is low enough that that would be financially feasible. Cross your fingers for us!
As you can see, it’s something of an emotional rollercoaster. We’ve actually seen at least five more apartments than this, which I did not get a chance to photograph for various reasons, not counting the cancelled viewings (at least three, one of which called me five minutes before our appointment to cancel) and the places where I’ve left multiple phone messages or played phone tag to no avail. I have to say, when I moved to Paris three years ago, I did not anticipate spending six to eight weeks of every year looking for apartments. At least it’s forced me to learn my way around more neighborhoods and visit more of the city than I would have otherwise. Gotta find the silver lining.
*So if you, or anyone you know, has an apartment to rent in Paris, I would love to hear about it. Please contact me through the email address found on my About page.
On this day in 2008: Easter Dinner (Cooked in what I then thought was a horrifically small and poorly equipped kitchen. Ah, the naïveté of youth.)
Originally published on Croque-Camille.