Having to find a new home is always a daunting prospect, even in the UK where you actually kind of know what is going on, never mind in a huge capital city! Because of an overlap with my semesters between France and Italy, I had to get a flight straight from Verona to Paris…knowing that I had nowhere to live! I’d already messaged a lot of people who were advertising their apartments on Facebook pages and on the French equivalent of Gumtree but with no success.
I decided to book into a hotel for three days, being very optimistic that within those three days, I would’ve found some dream-like Parisian apartment with beautiful shutters on the windows, with a balcony located right in the centre of Paris, overlooking the Eiffel Tower of course. Safe to say, this wasn’t the case. My friend from Paris warned me of the difficulty in finding an apartment in Paris but for some reason I thought I would be the exception. I didn’t get one single reply from all the messages I had sent out to French people searching for a ‘coloc’ so begrudgingly booked a further four days in the hotel. Everything got so much harder when I started university because I was not able to spend all day glued to my laptop looking at advertisements.
Finally, on day six of living in a hotel, one girl replied to my message and I was able to go view her apartment. It was not in a great area of Paris, it was really far away from my university and I’d also be living alone for the next five months which was not something I had hoped to have to do, but I was so desperate I had no other choice! I handed over my deposit and got ready to move out of my hotel on day seven, not totally happy with my new home but thought it was better than paying for another three nights in a hotel. And then I get the phone call telling me that the girl has decided to give the apartment to another girl and that I could go pick up my deposit cheque the following day… Fabulous.
So I go on to book a further three days, this time in a different hotel on the opposite side of Paris (after a week of living in a hotel, you have to downgrade!). I went to see a few more apartments but none of them really appealed to me. One of them was just a mattress on a floor, the other one was so far out of the centre I’d have had to travel about an hour and a half every day to get to university. I really did think all hope was lost until I came across an apartment on a website called ‘Autroisieme’ recommended to me by a friend.
The apartment was with an Italian lady and her daughter. I hadn’t really anticipated living with someone a lot older than me but I didn’t think it would be so bad seen as she had a daughter who was the same age as me. When I went to visit the apartment, it was a lovely surprise to see how beautiful it was. It was located in the 3rd arrondissement, in Le Marais which is a gorgeous area full of lovely bars, amazing boutique shops and hosts loads of cultural events. The lady and her daughter were so welcoming and I instantly felt at home. She told me that there was someone else who was interested in the apartment and that she would ring me back the day after to see if they had chosen me. I was really worried that they wouldn’t choose me but I got a phone call from her the next day telling me that they were more than happy to live with me.
I was over the moon that I had finally found a great apartment, in a great location with two amazing people. The fact that they were Italian but spoke fluent French and not much English was great for my learning because I was forced to speak to them in at least one of the two languages I study every day. I had a really great experience in my new home and I was so sad to leave at the end of my semester but they assured me that I was welcome back at any point and even got an invite to their home in Catania.
So after 2 weeks of living in a hotel, my Parisian adventure began and I could finally settle into my lovely new home.
Ps they also had an adorable puppy which made living there a lot easier!