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

The story continues.... Pin It


wcs said...

Oh, I had no idea! I'm sorry it didn't work out, but maybe something better will come along. And maybe you'll have time (and energy) for another trip to the Loire Valley!

Betty C. said...

Hi there. It's nice to know a little more about your story. It must have been a hard week -- I hadn't realized you had been working the whole time too!

On the positive side, at least everything was on a trial basis and you didn't get stuck in something that in the end just couldn't work...

HamishWM said...

Best of luck Jennifer. Sounded like an exciting adventure!

Christina Smith said...

Sorry to hear it went so badly looking for a job. Did you try looking in zone 3 just out of the Paris Zipcode? The travel isn't much and always better on rent than Paris but I'm sure you know that.

Loulou in France said...

such is life...but thanks. :) It has been an interesting couple of months!
We are definitely going back to the Loire for a visit. We loved it up there!

Yes, I spent almost the entire time at the shop and what little time I had left, I looked for apartments.
I'm glad I had the trial basis too. Phew!

It was an eye opening experience, that's for sure!
Any bookings for the Languedoc tours this spring?

No, I had a was the apartment that was proving impossible. Also the job schedule meant that I needed to commute as little as possible so I didn't look too far out of Paris. Thanks for the idea though. :)

Sugar Daze said...

Fate works in the most unpredictable ways. If life in Paris is meant to happen for you, it will happen. You are lucky that you were able to try this out. One of the reasons we no longer live in Manhattan (and are instead in Paris) is because we didn't want to live the life that would have been available to us on our budget there. Best of luck to you and see you on twitter!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

There had to be a reason behind this, so I staying put I am sure is the right thing to do. Have no regrets and enjoy life. Happy New Year and a prosporous 2011. Diane

Alison said...

Oh wow, what a trip! I can't wait to hear more about the job. And I'm sorry that the apartment search didn't go well. But as Sugar Daze said, fate moves in mysterious ways.

spacedlaw said...

That is so sad!

Ksam said...

I have to admit I'm disappointed - it would've been fun to have you around more! But I understand - Paris is a pricey city and apartment hunting is time-consuming and no fun, especially for someone with no garant. Like you said, you'll just have to make more trips to Paris now! :)

Cathy said...

Maybe it will work at some future time, Jennifer. Sorry that now isn't the time. But I firmly believe that things have a funny way of working out for the best in the long run.

Happy New Year!

Sweet Freak said...

It WILL happen, trust me. As you said yourself, life has a funny way of working out. You've followed your heart and gut so far, and you keep coming 'round to the same touchstones. If not this time and opportunity, the next one. And trust me, it will be worth waiting for. Bon chance et bonne année!

VeronicaV said...

Oh, I'm so sorry -- I know how much you wanted to do that, and being offered a real, full-time job in Paris must have put you on cloud 9. What a letdown :( I suppose it just wasn't meant to be, but I'm sure that something else will turn up in time.

Loulou in France said...

Sugar Daze
Yes, it still might happen one day. We'll know when it is right!
Glad that you've found your home and are happy in Paris.

I'm so glad that I had the chance to go and try it out, just disappointed that is wasn't the right fit. Maybe next time! In the meantime we have a wonderful home where we love to be, so have no complaints.
All the best to you in the New Year!

Loulou in France said...

Yes, fate (and estate agents) work in mysterious ways!
Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Yes. And no. And yes.

I was really looking forward to having more time with you! I'll be planning more trips, don't you worry. :)

Loulou in France said...

Thank you! I agree. My husband and I decided that if it wasn't 100% right, then we couldn't do it.
C'est la vie! And who knows what the future will bring.
Hope you have a very Happy New Year!

I like your attitude. :) Thank you for your support and kind words.

Yes, cloud 9 was exactly where I was! It was such a boost to be hired by Monsieur X (as I'll call him for now) and it made me realize that my skills are much more marketable than I thought.
I'm available to meet up for coffee now, when ever you have some time!

Anonymous said...

It's a bummer that it didn't worj out this time. But I'm glad we got to share a few drinks and meals together. Happy New Year!

Kate said...

Ah. Boo. Sorry about the apt. Your pics are gorgeous as always, though.

The Beaver said...

Dang!!! I had the word starting with V ( veinarde) ready to be typed as soon as I saw "work-Paris" and then kept reading your post to realise that it didn't materialise... sorry to read that. As they say, another door will open up -just have to be patient. Well , at least you are still living in France and enjoying the good food :-)
Good luck in your future endeavours -never know when the unexpected comes knocking on your door.

I gave up working in Silicon Valley 10 yrs ago for the same reasons- 2 hour commute and financially it would not have been as comfortable as in Montréal for hubby and I.

Serge Lescouarnec said...

Sorry things did not work out.
At least realized before taking the plunge.
I guess same expensive apartment issue would be true in New York, London and a number of other places.
What is the point of working 6 days a week and having most of your income sucked by the rent.
Happy New Year

Loulou in France said...

Thanks for being there and answering all my questions. You two were very helpful. I was glad to have friends to eat noodles and drink wine with! :)
Have a very Happy New Year's eve and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year. bisous!

Yep, rather disappointing. We'll see what happens in the new year.
Glad you like the photos!
I really love reading your blog. You always make me laugh and smile. Hope you're settling in to your new life nicely. I hope you end up in Europe!

Loulou in France said...

We're very happy to be living in France, so having a place (and a job!) in Paris would be the icing on the cake. It didn't work out this time but that doesn't mean it won't work out in the future.
Wishing you all the best in the new year!

I'm glad I had the chance to realize the difficulty of the housing market before we made the move. No point working just to pay the rent. We need to have a bit leftover to buy food and pay for electricity. And enjoy life! :)

garry said...

i am a big believer in that you have to keep going down paths - some you start to go down and you turn back others you go down and take another path off the one you were on -
at the end of each path is....what you imagine....but as you go down the path you find out more info and as you gain that knowledge sometimes you make other choices....the dream of paris may not be dead but rather more real.

Kitty M said...

Hold on to your dream for the New Year Jennifer - on that note, sending you lots of good wishes and dreams come true for 2011! - Kitty xxx

Aimee said...

Oh, this is disappointing. I had been following along your story in the distance. Hoping that all would work out. But I have to say that just because this didn't work out at this time means it won't work at all another time. :) Right now is the worst time of the year to do ANYTHING almost as bad as the month of August.

Hopefully on your next visit to Paris, we'll meet again?

Loulou in France said...

thank you. The dream of Paris is definitely not dead, just needing some readjustments!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year to you. All the best!

When I told some friends that I needed to get an apartment a.s.a.p., in December, they were not encouraging. Now I understand why! Unfortunately the prospective employer didn't want to wait until February to give us a chance to find a place, so I had to let this opportunity go. It doesn't mean that another one won't come along. :)
I would love to see you next time I'm in town! I know how busy you are, so will let you know in advance so we can plan a good time to get together.
Happy New Year!

maria said...

patience is a virtue right....and you are in France!!!! with your hubby and wine and cheese - not too bad....right ;-)

Loulou in France said...

Yes, we're in France and very happy to be here! No complaints.

emiglia said...

I'm in the process of looking for an apartment in Paris too. Because I moved straight here, I'm used to the prices, but my Loire Valley-raised DBF's eyes are bugging! Maybe we'll end up in the country like you... after seeing your pictures, I wouldn't complain!

Loulou in France said...

It wasn't the prices so much, I've always lived in big cities and paid a lot for rentals, rather the process of renting that was so daunting. It seemed almost impossible unless we gave a year's worth guarantee, which would have been well over 15,000€. And we don't have money like that just lying around!
Good luck in your search!

Robin @ My Melange said...

Sorry it dodn't pan out Jen. I'm a huge believer that everything happens for a reason. It just wasn't your time. Trust that the universe is looking out for you - and it will be ok either way.

It'll happen if it's the right thing.

And hello, living in the South of France isn't really so bad, right? ;)

Chez Loulou said...

Thanks Robin. I've been feeling a bit down this afternoon as I've seen a few jobs in Paris that would be perfect but I'm afraid to apply because of the housing situation.
And no, living in the south of France is not so bad! :)

In all seriousness, I feel incredibly lucky to live in France and am not dissatisfied with our lives here. We were just excited for a bit of a change!
It will happen. Eventually.