Sunday, August 15, 2010

AHA! (Apartment hunt Anecdotes) III – New Neighborhoods

After that interesting first day, I got up Thursday, metroed/walked to the American Church to check the bulletin boards for housing offers (1 find), walked to find the Sciences Po buildings (and I found all of them! And they are super modern and cool! Remember my first Paris post? Yeah, that was just the back entrance.) and looked for more bulletin boards (2 offers for rooms over 700 Euros and estimated 30 offers of students looking for accommodation and presenting themselves as the perfect roommate.) Wow. Then I metroed out of the city to see the suburb I was visiting an apartment this evening by daylight. Gentilly is a really cute suburb, with flowers on the streets, parks, residential buildings, residential buildings, residential buildings… Oh, and there is a supermarket near the RER station! I could imagine myself living there, though, it is just a completely different lifestyle. There are no bars. No cafes. No anything except for housing. But then again, how much time would I really be at home anyways? Then I metroed up to Jourdain, in the Belleville district, 19th arrondissement, and completely fell in love with the district. It’s still Paris – it’s got the cafes, the boulangeries, the boucheries, but it’s also very diverse, multicultural, and a little more run-down and working class than the core Paris districts. In Jourdain, I was supposed to meet my future roommate in a cafe, close to the metro station.. But which one? There was no 19-year old girl anywhere around, not up the street, not down it.. I even randomly started people: “Are you Alice?”, while the charming song of “Who the hell is Alice??” was running through my head. Turns out, later, that Alice was under the impression that we were meeting the following Thursday. My bad. Bad communication. But it made me check out and fall in love with Belleville, and find what might become my usual hangout cafe with good wifi and not too many crowds. Their mirror is decorated with money bills from around the world; cool. Later in the evening, I went out to the 20eme in the East and did not even try to check out the apartment; I didn’t like the area particularly and the prospects of living in a flatshare with only one guy, even if he is 20, started to make me feel uncomfortable. Therefore, I went to look at an apartment with 3 guys! They were the ones living in Gentilly, and they are actually super nice. Their apartment is, too, and you can see the Eiffel tower and the Montmartre from their kitchen window! This was definitely one option to be held open, and I was given a list of things to get for their landlady… OMG. In France, you most definitely need a garant who stands in for you if you don’t pay your rent, mostly one of your parents, but he or she must theoretically be living in France…. Also, you need their pay check, tax bills, identity card and account balance information. Just hand all that over, please. But we might still not take you cuz you’re a foreigner. Looking forward to that battle.

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