December 30, 2010

A Hopeful Week in Paris


Life.  You can plan all you want, but sometimes things happen that completely turn your world upside down.
Like it did for us several weeks ago. When I had an interview and was offered a job in Paris.


And we decided to go ahead and make the move.


Heck, we've made much bigger moves before. Like when we sold 97% of our earthly possessions, organized our visas and moved to France from America almost 8 years ago.
So moving to Paris should be a snap. Right?
I am a French Citizen and my husband has his 10 year Carte de Résident.  We know how the system works here. There should be no problem.

Then I hear the horror stories.
"Find an apartment in Paris?  In only 6 weeks?  During the holidays???"

It was pretty daunting.  

Blue Skies


Instead of worrying too much, I donned my best pair of rose colored glasses and went to Paris for a one week trial period with my prospective employer* and proceeded to spend every non-working moment looking for an apartment.

And you know what?  It turns out that the horror stories are true.

The 35-40 square meters (approx. 350-400 square feet) that we could barely afford in the 2-3 arrondissements that we needed to limit our search to were proving to be impossible to find.
Or impossible to even get a look at might be a better way of describing the situation.
As soon as I entered an estate agent's office after noticing that there were plenty of potential apartment rental listings in their window, I would quickly be dismissed with "I have nothing to rent right now" or "Even though you're a property owner with no mortgage, have healthy bank accounts in two countries, no outstanding debt and have a contract for a full time job at a respected business located just around the corner, you don't qualify."

In other words, they didn't even want to know me.  

I wanted to rip off those rose colored glasses and throw them at somebody.  Then stomp on them. 

Café Chairs

I did a lot of thinking (even though I felt like drinking) on the 4½ hour train trip home. 

This was a move that we had been discussing for a long time.  We knew the money would be tight, but the apartments, if you could even get one, were looking much more expensive than we had previously thought.

After my return my husband and I spent several days talking and doing the math, and in the end we decided that it just wouldn't work.  The numbers just didn't add up.  The job was 6 days a week and the amount of money I would earn would barely be enough to pay for an apartment and leave us with very little left over to live on.

We really wanted to live in Paris, but not on those terms.

Sunset View

Eh bien.  We're not moving to Paris after all.

So, what's our next step?
To stay put for the time being.  To enjoy the beautiful place we live.  And to visit Paris as often as possible.

I would also like to thank all the friends in Paris who I shared meals and drinks with when I was in town for the interview in November and during that long, cold week earlier this month.  You knew what was going on and were all very supportive and excited at the prospect of our upcoming move.  I wish it would have worked out!  And who knows what the future will bring...

*more on that later

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