After my big loss of Le Sublime, I took a little break from trying to find the perfect Paris pad. I tried to ignore the barrage of emails, with pictures of seductive floors, enticing moldings and 19th century stone facades. I tried not to click on google maps for a daily walk up and down the streets of a neighborhood. I avoided some of my favorite French websites and didn’t try to hone in on buildings from the sky, at different angles, to measure the angle of the sun at various times of the day. I tried not to focus on Paris and instead kept busy with a multitude of other projects, with the gallery, trips to Provence, and of course, my little family. And I was successful at it … until this photo popped up in my inbox.
Followed by another one, that just clarified the location for me.
Some people might think, what’s the big deal? So you have a view of the Eiffel Tower? What makes you think this is a great apartment?
But you see, I’ve been doing this for almost three years! I know this neighborhood inside and out. I can look at this photo and tell you that the apartment is within a stone’s throw of the rue Cler, one of the most bustling and colorful market streets in Paris. I know that it’s around the corner from the rue St. Dominique, home of about six fabulous restaurants, most of which are owned and run by that new prince of cuisine, Christian Constant. I know the buses that run up and down the street and I love the metro stop, which is a five minute walk away. I’ve walked the short stroll to the Seine river, and to the Champ de Mars, and know that from this location, my puppy will get the most scenic work out that she’s ever experienced.
And although I’m not an haute couture kind of gal, I certainly like the idea of being just minutes from the avenue Montaigne, even though I’ll probably never set foot in Chanel, Dior or Christian Lacroix.
Without even looking further, I know that this apartment is in “my” hood. Oh dear. These don’t come up very often. I may just have to pursue it.
And then I catch a glimpse of the floors! “My floors!” I’m in trouble now …
From the floors and the moulding, I can tell that it’s a Haussmann style building, probably built a little before the turn of the century (1890’s). I’m pretty sure that it’s on the 2nd floor, which is not my favorite, but I do see advantages to not being up high, especially since I’ve had experience with Parisian elevators. And, this apartment is on a very wide street, so there’s nothing blocking the sun from pouring in, which is another check in its favor.
I read the description and the size and realize that it’s perfect. At 800 square feet, it’s just enough to be a small two bedroom, which is exactly what I’m looking for. There’s only one bathroom, but that can probably be remedied. And the pictures of the kitchen are definitely not what I’m looking for. But that too, is a cosmetic fix. I’m starting to hyperventilate, just a little.
It’s time to look at this building from the sky, measure the sun and walk to the nearest bakery. I see that it’s on a large courtyard, so I figure that the bedrooms, surely located in the back, will actually get some good light. I look at the angle of the sun and figure that in the summer time, the front of the building will have sun pouring in from early afternoon to sunset.
I get out google maps, and sprint around the neighborhood, counting the number of restaurants, gourmet shops, pharmacies (my personal favorites!), and yes, even veterinary clinics. I visit some of the local dress shops, antique stores and art galleries that dot every street. I look at the florists, the hair dressers, the shoe repair shops, the cheese shops, the wine stores, and start counting the bakeries and take out gourmet shops, until my stomach begins to rumble. I ensure that there are no restaurants downstairs whose odors could penetrate the apartment. And I count the number of buses that all stop within a five minute walk. By the time I finish my tour, I am panting, exhausted and exhilarated. And ready to call the realtor.
But what if this one turns out to be sold? Can I bear another loss? Can I take my poor readers through another roller coaster ride? Will I finally find my little slice of heaven in the 7th?
I have no choice. This apartment speaks to me. I’ll make the call and hold my breath.