Flat hunting in Paris. I don't know why I thought it'd be easy.
All I want is a nice 2 bedroom apartment, walls painted white, wooden floors, view of a street (not the grotty inside courtyard) and to make it absolute perfection, a balcony.
All I am getting is dog kennels.
Truly, most of the apartments I have seen are places where you wouldn't keep a dog (although most people do, it seems).
Last nights viewing, in the 13th (my second choice arrondissement) was just nasty. A really run down apartment that admittedly had white walls - although I fear they were last painted sometime during my childhood - and wooden floors - complete with very curious stains.
What stunned me was that I had to join a queue of people who wanted to view the apartment and, as we went round in a big group, people were oo-ing and aah-ing and saying 'mais, c'est formidable' and so on. Were they being polite or had I missed a trick? The only way to make this apartment habitable would have been to burn it down and rebuild it. It was just horrible.
I spent the whole day yesterday going from viewing to real estate office and on to more viewings. Schlepping around Paris in 29 degrees and humidity was no fun. At lunchtime, I sought solace in a nice corner cafe, and tried to imagine how my life will be when I finally move here.
Despite the heat and apartments making me feel miserable, I was actually pleased to be in Paris doing this. The prospect of a couple of years here makes me very happy. The afternoon went much better - in terms of my mood anyway - as I walked the streets thinking 'this will be my home' and 'I am so lucky'. Really, I can;t wait to move.
So, I have a couple more viewings on Monday - and I have high hopes for one that I have seen from the outside on the Avenue Daumesnil (in the 12th arrondissement, my third choice of location...).
Let's just hope it doesn't go between now and then.