January 2018 was my first official month of living in Paris! Moving country is never easy, let alone when you don’t speak the language. So naturally my first month in Paris has had a lot of ups and downs. Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to.
London put on a real show on our last morning
Driving from London to Paris
After leaving London on the 4th Jan, my fiancé, puppy and I drove to from London to Paris with a car full of everything we’d need for the next few months.
Renting a car for a one-way trip would have been way too expensive – not just a few quid, we’re talking £1,000+ instead of £100! So the boy caught a Eurostar to Paris the day before, picked up the hire car and drove it back to London. Not before he lost his passport somewhere along the way though! So what should’ve been a fairly smooth trip ended up taking about 5 hours longer than planned, with a visit to the British Embassy along the way.
The important thing is that he made it! So we set off early the next morning and drove all the way to Paris. The trip normally takes about 7 hours when you include the Eurotunnel part. In the end we took about 9 hours, after a few food stops for us and wee stops for Slinky.
First weeks of living in Paris
I spent the first three weeks of living in Paris in the 17th arrondissement. Our apartment was in the Ternes area and it was wonderfully Parisian! 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an amazing kitchen and huge lounge room. This place was about 85m2 and glorious. In a way, it was a bit of a tease knowing we’d never be able to get something this size more permanently.
The 17th arrondissement is a really beautiful, fairly wealthy, family-friendly area of Paris. It was a great introduction to Paris, but it didn’t quite have the ‘vibe’ that we look for in a home. For starters, there were no good coffee shops around! It also took a bit too long to get to the places that we love.
There was no shortage of boulangeries though…
My 6 month old puppy Slinky is also taking a little while to settle into Paris. She wasn’t a fan of all the other dogs and small kids in the 17th, barking loads at both. I won’t even mention the noises from the upstairs neighbours! So we called in a dog trainer to help put us on the right path. Hopefully she’ll adjust soon.
In the meantime, I bought this ridiculous/amazing bag to carry her in on the metro and on particularly long walks…
In the last week of January we left Ternes to move to another part of the 17th arrondissement, where we are now. This one is just around the corner from the Eiffel Tower and it’s teeny weeny, about 35m2. A huge difference from the first three weeks! So understandably it’s driving me a little crazy to be home for too many hours of the day. Not ideal considering I work from home.
So since moving into the teeny temporary flat, the search for our own place has seriously ramped up. I’m determined to find us something with lots of space, natural light and in a fairly central location.
Looking at flats around the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th and 19th – I’m not picky on the specific arrondissement but I have a really clear vision of the type of area I want to be in. Somewhere close to the things we love – good coffee, brunch spots, some nice wine bars and in an area that feels safe and dog-friendly. Easy – right?
Let’s be real – flat hunting in Paris isn’t particularly fun. The novelty wore off pretty quickly and there honestly wasn’t a single flat we viewed in January that came even close to being perfect. Everything had something major wrong with it.
Either there was a shell of a kitchen that we’d need to completely furnish (everything down to the cupboards, appliances, etc.); a bathroom attached to the bedroom with no door; the worst/cheapest furniture I’ve ever seen; or on the sixth floor with a temperamental lift, no sound proofing and a floor that sloped in at about 30 degrees.
And I looked at a LOT of flats…
… that’s about 15 flats in total! We applied for three of them, got accepted for one then changed our minds and declined it.
After one month of living in Paris…
So January has come to an end and I’m no closer to finding a flat to live in. I’ve had about two days of sunshine versus 25 days of rain and haven’t learnt a word of french yet! This living in Paris thing isn’t a walk in the park, but I’m hoping it’ll get better as we settle in.
The first month of living in Paris has been pretty overwhelming but that’s normal, right? New country, new language, new home… I have to keep reminding myself that it seems hard now, but it would be SO much harder dealing with the regret of not making the most of this opportunity to live in Paris.
I read this nice quote the other day which has stuck with me this week –
‘Maybe it won’t work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever’
I get the feeling that this will be one of the most rewarding adventures yet. The weather will get warmer, the life admin will eventually get done, I’ll meet some new friends, learn a few more French words, we’ll settle in and life will be good. I know it!
Also, when the food is THIS good, how could I not end up loving life in this city?!
New Girl in Paris