Embracing the Differences

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I am always surprised at the feedback we receive regarding the difference in apartment living in Paris in relation to a more modern city.  Almost exclusively, these comments relate to space and size.  Essentially, we travel to experience something different that we can experience at home.  Apartment rentals in Paris is a meaningful way to not only have convenience of a kitchen and a great location, it is the opportunity to experience the historic City as a local.

Space is at a premium.  I’ve highlighted some of the adjustments in expectations that travelers should consider when renting an apartment in Paris based on common questions from our guests.

 

 

Why is the elevator so small or why is there no elevator?  Elevators are fairly recent updates to almost all of our apartment buildings. Architects were forced to use any available common space for elevators so almost all are exceedingly small and in some apartment buildings impossible to add.

 

Why does the bed size seem different?  Because it is!  Keep in mind, US bed sizes slightly differ from European ones so pay close attention to the dimensions if you are a stickler about your mattress measurements.  European queen is 160cm x 200cm and a European double bed measures 140cm x 190cm.

 

The building has “1940” noted on the exterior of the building so why isn’t it more updated?  Façade imprints that have the architect’s name and date are misleading to a lot of us.  Remember, the date on the building exterior notes when the façade was added, not when the building was built.  Of course, all buildings predate the façade and often by many decades.

 

Why am I inconvenienced by maintenance on the exterior or interior of the building? The obvious answer is old buildings require up keep.  The more nuanced answer is that the French government is a huge fan of unfunded mandates to feed their economy. There target is almost exclusively property owners. For example, every year a new government mandate will be required of apartment owners such as mandatory updating of plumbing pipes in the buildings, restoration of all windows and encasing elevators in glass.  Scaffolding is assembled on the exterior of each building every 25 or 10 years for obligatory pressure washing depending on the location.  These are all government requirements that apartment owners must pay for personally and have no choice in scheduling or length of repair.

 

Why is there a delay in some appliances or my electronics?  Electricity is fragile and connectivity varies based on apartment building updates.  Some apartments are hindered by the electrical updates (or lack thereof) in the building itself.  An apartment owner can update his or her individual apartment however, the building itself may not have electrical or line updates.  This situation requires a deep breath, a possible modem reboot or a visit to an Internet café.

 

Why is there no clothes dryer?  It is very common in Paris for apartments to only have a washer and no dryer.  Dryers use a lot of electricity and take up a lot of space.  At times, there are 2 in 1 units that serve as both the washer and dryer.  When there is a dryer, it is a requirement to manually empty a drainage sleeve found even in the most up to date units.

 

Overall, it is such a privilege to enjoy the history of the City and the incredible architecture found there. By embracing the differences visitors can come to a better understanding of the beautiful culture of Paris!  Bon voyage!

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