After about a 15 minute walk, we stopped in front of the 1930's, 5th floor walk-up we were about to visit. You heard me right - 5th floor walk up. That's actually 6th floor for all you Amuuuricaines out there; the French start with the rez-de-chaussée (ground floor) and then count from there, so what we call the second floor, they call the first.
Our peppy agent immobilier took us through 2 security doors (a good thing) showed us the trash area in the hallway, pointed out the cave (basement), and then we all hiked up to the 5th floor. There was one door on each landing, and each landing had either A. plants, B. ladders or C. strollers.
Once we'd made it to the top, we walked inside and started our visit. The apartment has parquet (wood floors), a living room with a prussienne chimney, a large bedroom, a small bedroom with a regular chimney, a teeny bathroom with a funky tub, probably from the 30's, a separate WC and a normal-sized kitchen. All of the windows are double-paned except for those in the kitchen and WC. The ceilings are high, and it is en étoile - star-shaped - meaning that all of the rooms are fashioned around the main hallway. There is no wasted space (a bonus when you have barely any space to begin with!). In total, it measures about 53 meters squared.
Best not to forget anything on your way out the door...
View from living room into the kitchen and hallway
Bedroom A, closet
Kitchen - no room for a dishwasher, unless you get creative
Teeny tub, teeny bathroom
We're not 100% sure we can afford it, but we kind of both had a coup de coeur - we just knew we loved it. It's about a 7-minute walk to the very center of town and the neighborhood is well-kept, as is the inside of the building. The added bonus for this apartment - whoever owns it can eventually purchase the attic and make a duplex! You know, like when we have an extra 200K lying around.
There are lots of things that are a bummer - no parking, no balcony, no elevator, no bike storage (except for in the cave), but it feel so nice and homey inside. And as I've come to almost accept, we can only maybe afford this apartment because of these "point noir" as the French would say - these negative points. In short, we're going to have to make concessions.
As we got a tour of the town from our Vincennois friends and their two little boys - one in a stroller of course, I started brainstorming - could we RENT the first-floor neighbor's landing and park our bikes? How about our non-exisitent-but-maybe-one-day stroller? (we'll obviously be needing one in order to fit in here) Could I invent a stroller backpack? Some sort of pulley system?
Then I got positive - I could have groceries delivered! I would always have toned buns and thighs! We would share walls with absolutely NO ONE! La rêve...
I can't stop thinking about this apartment, even if it's crazy-expensive. I mean, I started mentally moving in and placing furniture. But - we're waiting for the diagnostics before we really think about anything. For example, are the pipes made of lead? Is the electricity aux normes? Are there termites? How about the roof - any leaks?
We did notice that the current owner had installed a fire alarm which happens uh, never in France. I'm certain it was a sign since I'm the queen of safety and fire alarms (I almost considered getting them for my neighbors for the holidays). The agent immobilier called the current owner a "maniac" - I call him smart. Don't you think this apartment was made for us????
We timed the metro ride back into Paris - only 5 minutes to Nation, about 8 to Bastille. Not bad, eh? Oh la la....I'll be keeping you posted mes amies.