An Apartment in Paris?
Mr. B and I got an exciting offer yesterday. His new boss in Paris has a friend who has an apartment for rent in the city that would be available the day we arrive. The apartment is in the Place d'Italie area in the 13th arrondissment. (The photos are from this area--I downloaded them off the web.) The apartment is very small (about 1/3 the size of our place now) and is one room, plus a kitchen and bathroom. These are known as studio apartments. The upside of this is that it is something we could afford, it is owned by someone we can trust, it is near so many neat parts of the city as well as near his work (a quick train ride), plus it has an equipped kitchen.
In France, a non-citizen has to have a special official paper to get a job (called a work visa), and this is something Mr. B has, but I don't! I may be able to teach some private lessons, but it could be hard finding another job, so Mr. B and I will have to be pretty careful with our money.
It is also common in Europe for people to buy and take their stove, fridge and kitchen cupboards with them when they move. For that reason, we need an apartment with an equipped kitchen. This place has it, so we wouldn't have to spend as much money. We would have to buy some furniture (like a table and chairs, a sofa or sofa bed, maybe a bed), but a smaller place means less furniture to buy. To ship our furniture over from Wisconsin would be very expensive, and it would be way too big for most European places. We plan to store most of it here in Madison, because we plan to come back to the states in a few years, and will want these things then.
Things in Europe are much smaller and closer together, so we will get used to living in a smaller place. Even the cars there are very tiny. (My Wisconsin Honda Accord is bigger than the biggest cars there!) A Mini-Cooper is actually a fairly large car in Europe. Some cars, called "Smart Cars" are so small that they can park sideways on the street. They have 2 seats, and no backseat or trunk to speak of. Forget about an SUV or Mini-Van--they would be huge!
Here is a photo of a smart car. The blue thing in the seat is a man's dress shirt, so you can tell that these are very, very tiny cars!
I don't know for sure if this is the apartment we will take, but we are going to contact the owner and find out more about it. It would be pretty exciting to live right in Paris itself, and to get a true city experience. I'll keep you informed on what happens. We are pretty excited!