Our friends recently bought a funky 19th century triplex apartment in Melun....I know, where the heck is that. Don't worry, I Googled it for you:
See the little "A" down there...now see Paris at the top? Um, it's far.
I went to help my friend paint his new apartment when they first moved in; from the Gare de Lyon on a direct train, it was only about 25 to 30 minutes - not bad right? But first I had to GET to the Gare de Lyon, then I had to walk 15 minutes to my friend's house in the middle of town once I had arrived. So, lets call it a total of about an hour (because I live close to the Gare de Lyon!). That's when you take the direct train. If not, it's more like 45-50 minutes just for the train part of the trip. I have to say though, the town is adorable and my friend's apartment overlooks the gargoyles on the central church - very Beauty and the Beast-ish. Despite all that, the dependency on public transportation just kills me - I couldn't Velib from Melun unless I wanted to train for the Tour de France!
So I've been thinking - what other concessions could I make so that an apartment would be affordable in Paris (my happy place)? When my parents bought their house in California, they chose a newly built, one-story in the middle of nowhere, hoping that the town would soon be developed. It was the smallest house on the block and they were surrounded by dirt. Yes, dirt. It was a big deal when they built "The Mall" in the town. (As an 8 year-old, I was particularly thrilled). Now the community continues to develop, stores continue to open and it is soccer-mom USA - SUVs A-Go-Go. The dirt has been replaced with a busy road, the mall is now The Place To Be, schools have popped up in every corner. 30 years ago, their concession was to buy a nice, new house, but with absolutely nothing around it.
I guess I feel just the opposite - I'd rather a great location, but a non-so-amazing apartment. What could I give up to get the cost down? Then I got an email alert from one of the many real estate websites I'm signed up for, and it basically said this:
- Apartment in the 20th arrondissement, near Nation metro stop (good, good!)
- 47 square meters (small, but do-able)
- 2 bedrooms (YES!)
- Price that is not yet affordable but close to it (and that's where negotiation comes in....)
- 5th floor walk-up - read: no elevator (ummm, concession?)
I emailed my people and asked them what they thought - could I deal with 5 flights everyday? For the past 8 years I've always lived on the 3rd or 4th floor without an elevator. So, yeah, it would probably be fine. I'd have toned thighs and buttocks! right? right?
But what about when strollers become a necessity? What will I do then? I guess I would just verify that there was a place to park it downstairs as many Parisian families do, right?
I'm still grappling with the idea - even 5th floor walk ups are expensive. BUT, it may be the only way for Copain and I to own anything and maybe it's a concession we are willing to make. We may be huffing and puffing coming home each day, but we would have Paris at our finger tips - the joys of walking and biking and metros just downstairs.....
And that just might make up for it all.