Well I found the apartment. Yes, readers, my quest is over (subject to long and drawn out legal process).
The apartment is a fixer-upper. Not a great choice for a rental, I hear you say, but really all the fixing up needed is a lick of paint and some new doors for the kitchen units. Anyway, I've negotiated some rent-free weeks to cover the costs (well done me. I did this in French too, I'll have you know).
I'm happy to fix it up a little, because it's in a great spot.
In a neighbourhood with shops, bars and cafes. 20 minutes walk from my favourite bars/shops/restaurants in the Marais, ten minutes walk from Opera Bastille, and on the 1-line - the metro that runs through the heart of sightseeing Paris....
So now I enter into French legal hell and will no doubt have to produce blood samples from both of my parents (anyone got a spade?), suggest the right wine for six menu combinations and identify five different types of mushrooms by smell alone.
The realtor has already asked me about my 'status' in France. When I told him I'm employed by a British company and get paid in the UK he staggered backwards and gasped. Really, he did.
Enough already. Let's see how this goes.
I'd love to get really excited about it, but I remember the near-coronary that I had when I found then lost then found this place in Lyon two years ago.
I'm going to aim for an emotionally detached interest in the process and not get involved until I know it's mine and I have a key in my hand. I won't plan room layouts. I refuse to get into thinking about colours and furnishings. I absolutely will not be planning my life in the neighbourhood.
So, I was thinking, the smaller bedroom could double as a dining room, and I could do a great black and white theme, and those curtains I saw last week would look great, and when friends stay we'll definitely take breakfast at the cafe downstairs and oh lord, I'm channeling Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen....