Finding a place to live in Paris is quite a daunting task. Like any big city, there are thousands of hotels and, in our case, apartments to choose from. When I first began looking for lodging last summer, I checked all of our go-to websites. VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and Homeaway have been very helpful to us in the past—whether planning a trip to California or Europe. Another popular site is airbnb; Americans and French people alike have told me they have used it and liked it. I was getting a bit frustrated, though, by the small size of many apartments—fine for spending just a few days, but what about five months? We were hoping for at least fifty square meters. Other things to consider, of course, are the monthly cost and the apartment's actual location within the building. You really don’t want to be lugging groceries up four or more flights on a regular basis.
Then I remembered having searched Sabbatical Homes in the past. For faculty members looking for apartments to rent this is a great site. Since we already knew that we preferred to live in the fourteenth arrondissement, the field was narrowed enough to enable us to find our current apartment. As I’ve described before, the neighborhood is bustling. Inside, however, we don’t hear a sound, except occasionally someone walking on the floor above. (This will undoubtedly change once the windows are open in the spring, but it’s awfully nice right now!) The building, which is the second one in from the street, is secured with a code on the sidewalk. Then there’s a locked door to get into our building. We really feel safe here.
The apartment itself has windows on every side with views onto courtyards besides other buildings. The fifty-four square meter area allows room enough for both of us to get our work done separately. The owners have also provided every convenience: a fully-furnished home with lots of heat and hot water; a well-equipped kitchen (stove, oven, fridge, dishwasher, and microwave); a phone and TV; and, as a plus renting from fellow academics, three tall bookshelves full of books on Paris and other European cities, French history, as well as novels and reference works. I really love having a washer in the kitchen, so I don't have to go out to do the laundry. The dining room is especially nice: a round wooden table with six chairs and a large hutch full of tableware. It'll be great for future dinners with friends and family.
We are happy with our choice and are enjoying our time on avenue du Général Leclerc.