Living in Paris – February Round-Up

February was my second month of living in Paris. This past month has felt like time has literally stood still.

You know as we get old, we tend to say really predictable things like ‘where has the time gone?’ or ‘this month has just flown by!’ Well, I’m usually one of those people. I love sharing the generic dilemma of time passing by way too fast, feeling like I haven’t even begun doing life yet.

Well .. I’ve found the cure. Apparently, we all just need to move to Paris. Honestly, this month has felt like a lifetime. But with it come some excellent updates!

Here’s what I got up to in February, my second month of living in Paris.

Found a flat!

I’m well aware that my January round-up was mostly just whinging about not having found a flat. Funny story – February 1st… found it! Our rental agent sent us this flat to look at about a week earlier, but we ignored it because it was on the fourth floor with no lift. Well… joke’s on us. We now live on that fourth floor flat with no lift – ha!

living_in_paris_staircase

I decided last-minute to go look at it anyway, because it ticked all the boxes except the one about the lift/floor level. As soon as I walked in, I knew I wanted it! It was bright and airy, even on a miserable winter’s day. With the most charming, original 18th century features like the stone walls, wooden ceiling beams and tiled floor. The kitchen was HUGE for Parisian standards as was the renovated bathroom with the added benefit of a bath (apparently they’re rare in Parisian rentals?) and wait for it… TWO sinks! What a treat. It was even around the corner from one of my favourite coffee shops.

Original stone walls that are literally older than my country!

I must have left a good impression with my very apparent over-enthusiasm for the flat because within an hour of sending through our application, we got the news that it was ours! They cancelled all other inspections. All our other applications took days, if not weeks, to hear back. So an hour has to be some sort of record!

Charcoal avocado toast at Café Berry

We moved into said flat

I picked up the keys on Monday (via breakfast at Café Berry), signed an entire tree’s worth of paperwork and then the flat was all ours! We moved in that weekend, sort of.

After organising our stuff to be delivered from the UK that Thursday, Paris happened to get snowed in and no trucks were getting into the city. Eventually, our truck arrived and discovered it was way too big to even fit on our little street in the Marais.

After 3 hours parked on the corner, blocking the bus/taxi/paramedic lane, they drove off to some warehouse and unloaded everything into a smaller truck. It took another week for the new, smaller truck to come back. After another snow storm, we finally got all our boxes in! It took another 2 weeks for them to come back and pick up the empty boxes.

So it kind of feels like I’ve only just moved in, really. But no matter how long it took, I’m just so happy to be in our very own Parisian flat!

 

 

Got through loads of life admin

After I sorted the flat, there was no stopping me!

That’s a lie – there was a lot of French bureaucracy stopping me. I somehow pushed through some of it though, and managed to not only set up gas and electricity in the flat, I also got us internet … eventually. Ok it was technically connected on 1st March but I’m bucketing it into my February achievements.

That’s not to say any of those things were pain-free. Achieving every single one of those  was like climbing Mount Everest. The amount of paperwork needed here for anything is insane. It means it’s near-impossible to set anything up given how little French paperwork you have (zero) as a fresh expat.

 

C’est la vie. I’m excited to look back on this and laugh in a year’s time, when I have all my life admin sorted. Just to be clear – yes, I’m giving myself a year.

Started French lessons

During my second month of living in Paris, I only went and finally started my French lessons! I felt so guilty for not learning anything in January. Between the shell shock of moving and being overwhelmed at life in general, I don’t think I could have learnt anything even if I tried.

Starting my lessons when I was in my new flat felt like the sensible option. I wouldn’t have to change teacher that way. My French teacher Anne seems very nice, and most importantly – very patient. I have her for 1.5 hours every week, which isn’t very much so I may increase it if I need to. We’re literally starting from zero so let’s see how it goes!

Did an intensive pottery workshop

So for Christmas my fiancé bought me a really fun present – pottery classes at a studio he’d found in Paris. Since the weekly classes were full (pottery is always so popular!) I decided to do a one-week intensive course at the end of February instead.

The studio is called Terrienne and it’s owned and run by Alexis – a lovely American expat who teaches in both English and French. She’s an amazing teacher who’s incredibly patient and talented. I had such a fun week learning how to make everything from scratch.

There’s something so therapeutic about pottery. It’s my sole focus for those few hours and takes all my attention. I absolutely love the feel of clay between my fingers and being able to make something out of nothing.

After weeks of solitude, I must admit it was also nice to spend my days with a small group of people for the week! I’m still getting used to that part of freelancing and working from home.

Throughout the one-week intensive workshop I managed to make 8 different pieces for firing. Mostly a combination of bowls and cups that I’ll probably never use, but enjoy looking at. Slinky is using her new food bowl everyday though 🙂

 

It snowed!

Not once, but twice.

Yes, it happened at a very inconvenient time when we were trying to move house. But when you see how beautiful Paris looked under a blanket of white snow, it’s hard to stay mad.

Here are some of my favourite shots of Paris in the snow.

Snow comes with its own set of problems

Got to know my new area

Finally, my second month of living in Paris was spent getting to know my new area. I explored the best brunch spots, the best coffee shops, some nice museums, shops, even got to know the Deliveroo options, obvs.

An Aussie-style brunch at Neighbours
View from the top floor of the Picasso Museum
The romantic, narrow streets of le Marais
Farah waiting patiently for Slinky to finish her brunch

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