I wanted to update you on our search for a place to live and work. The hunt started with months of browsing apartments online in different places in Paris. We wanted to get a good sense of what was available for what prices throughout the city. Then, we worked with our director to determine our budget. The cost of living in a big city is always significantly high. We had done some research and learned that in most big cities renters spend an average of 40–60% of their income just on rent alone. In France however, there is a fairly strict rule that they don’t want the rent to be more than 33% of your income, this makes it more likely that renters will be able to pay. I think part of this is because there are more rights for renters than for landlords here, it is quite hard to kick someone out if they’re not paying.
So when looking for a place to live, the first thing we had to do was prepare our “dossier,” which is basically a packet of all our paperwork, visas, proof of employment and salary letter, paystubs, proof we’ve been paying rent and other things like that. Some apartments will require you to have a “garant” which is basically a co-signer, someone who will pay if for whatever reason you can’t.
After our “dossier” was prepared, we started making appointments to visit places. So far we have seen 6. For the first two, we went and learned fast that there is a lot of competition for apartments in Paris (who would have thought?!). Several people arrived at the same time to visit as well. We had a nice chat with one woman who said this was the 20th place she had visited, she looked at it first and as she came out she told us ‘jokingly’ that it was terrible, no place we would want to live, which in fact it was beautiful and well renovated. We were not chosen for either of these two but we were surprised how fast the process took, in just 2–3 days, both places were gone. The 3rd place we went to see, the agent was a no show, which was a little discouraging, but we’ve heard it happens a lot because there are so many interested people. The 4th and the 5th were rather spontaneous opportunities and the prices were right but the apartments were not exactly what we had in mind, so we didn’t throw our names in for consideration. And the 6th place we just saw on Friday. It needs a little work but has a lot of potential. Like most places in Paris, the kitchen is not equipped so it just has a sink and a burner on the counter, if we got it we would then buy appliances and cabinets. It has a nice double living room that would be ideal for hosting people, the only two potential drawbacks are that it has just 1 bedroom and it’s on the 5th floor with no elevator (which is more a negative for hosting than for us). But the location and everything else seems very ideal, so we did throw our name in for consideration and now we are waiting to hear.
In the mean time, we keep looking and praying. The waiting time is kind of a comfort actually, because it gives us more time to reflect and also it makes us trust God in a very tangible way, because if we’re not selected, then we have faith that it wasn’t the right place. So thank you so much for praying for this process, please continue to pray that the Lord would place us right where he wants us to live and minister, and that we would remember each day that he is in control and that he is good.
Here are some pictures of the 6th place, but a quick disclaimer here… this is not our apartment yet. We just wanted to invite you into the process with us as we look.
|The kitchen would be a challenge to configure well but I think
I would have fun making it work. It is kind of a triangle shape.
|The shower is in the bedroom but the toilet is by the
front door, another interesting feature of many French apartments.