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Paris Blog: House Hunters International–Part I

Amidst the craziness of gutting out and fixing up our house, Ray and I both transited across the Atlantic twice to play what we self titled “House Hunters International”. Granted we weren’t actually on the hit reality show, but we sure felt like it.

The way it worked for us was that we had a local realtor that used some preferences we established and then went about lining up all the houses.  Here in Paris, there really isn’t anything like the MLS system like in the US, where you can quickly and easily browse available apartments.  Instead, the realtors have to know and reach out to others, finding houses available for rent.  It’s a very time consuming process.

Once that’s done, then an ‘appointment’ is scheduled with each and every house.  At each house we usually had our realtor, their realtor, and sometimes even the owners.  At times, it was a bit much with everyone looking at you.  We visited over 15 houses in a day and a half and were left to make an on the spot decision.

So which apartment did we pick?  Well, we saved you from having to sift through all 15 places, and instead gave you our top three.  Though, in reality we would have likely had been happy with almost any of the 15 she found us.  She did an amazing job.

Here in no particular order are our favorites:

House # 1 – Eiffel Tower Home:

This was a beautiful French home located just off of the lawns of the Eiffel Tower. Complete with classic crown molding, four fire places, a large newly renovated kitchen space, 2 bedrooms, you name it this house had it! Even offers a stunning view of the Eiffel tower when exiting the building.

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Living and Dining Rooms, seen as you enter the apartment.

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View from the living room window (it’s funny, we found that numerous houses had tiny little decks, just enough to stand on, but a few inches too short for a small table).

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Hallway full of storage closets (and storage is super important as we’re finding out!)

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Master Bedroom, complete with fireplace

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Newly renovated kitchen space (unfurnished)

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The view from the front door (note the Eiffel tower to the right!).

Pros: Some of the biggest positives to this apartment was the size, storage space (read: places for Ray to store all of his bike trainers), hardwood floors, two bedrooms, location, and proximity to immediate running trails.

Cons: There was really only one negative to consider for this apartment, and that was the bathroom situation. This apartment only afforded one “toilet room” and one “bathing room”, and by the number of guests who have already signed up to come visit us, this will definitely be an inconvenience.

House # 2 – Notre Dame Home:

This apartment surprised us with a two story layout and a view. First floor had a large living room space with beautiful big windows, as well as a galley kitchen and half bath. On the second floor the apartment boasted two bedrooms with two full baths. No secret here, we were pretty excited about the possibility of guests having there own ensuite.

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Living room upon entry. Lots of natural light (great for product review and cake shots)

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Galley kitchen. Tight squeeze for cupcake creations.

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Stairs to the upper level bedrooms.

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Guest bedroom and bath

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Master bedroom and bath

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Oh yeah, and the “view” I mentioned in the beginning.

Pros: The view of Notre Dame. Multiple bathrooms. Two floors. Location. Proximity to the main metro line, abundance of restaurants, and running/biking paths along the Seine.

Cons: The apartment had this terrible “Basket weave carpet”. Small kitchen. Furnished with very undesirable furniture/furnishings. The main road is very loud.

House # 3 – Renovated Duplex

This was another large duplex apartment which we were very excited to see. We never thought seeing apartments this large were going to be options here in Paris. This apartment was beautiful, and just newly totally renovated. The entire apartment had been gutted and upgraded. Another 2 bedroom, 2 full bath option.

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A very secure court yard entryway.

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Immediately upon entering there are stairs and a enormous storage closet.

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And to the right of the entry way is the guest room. Still under renovations (but it would be finished prior to us moving in if we selected it).

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Have no fear, the guest bathroom was fully installed.

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The 2nd floor main living area (look at all that trainer space!).

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Large newly renovated kitchen.

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Master bedroom.

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Master bath.

Pros: This apartment was brand new with upgraded appliances. Lots of living and storage space. Two full baths, and a large kitchen.  Really ideal for all of Ray’s product testing stuffs.

Cons: While this apartment was still in the “City Center” of Paris, the neighborhood wasn’t as active as the top two. No view. Off of a busy street.

At the end of each house we took notes as quickly as we could, and then consolidated all of them into a big list which we debated the pros and cons each night at dinner.  Note that apartments here are either rented furnished or unfurnished.  Unfurnished has different meanings – sometimes it’s with nothing at all in the kitchen (no cabinets), and sometimes it means most things in there.  We in general wanted an unfurnished place (so we could bring some of our furniture), but we were open to making it work either way.

Yup, a small little French café was the perfect place to try and figure out where we’re going to live for a number of years:

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So, which one did we pick?  Well, give your guesses below in the comments – and stay tuned for the second post in this series where we unveil our selection!

Thanks for reading!

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34 Comments

  1. 3!

    Reply
  2. Iain

    Reflections in the tv from Rays post on the tour tell me it’s Norte dame… Plus if you’re going to live in Paris how could you turn down that view! Enjoy it!

    Reply
  3. Notre Dame – better location & connections, and a view. It’s probably a bit noisy during the day though…

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  4. Niels

    3, of these choices. Views are only fluff and having lived on the 11th floor on a hill for 3 yrs, I wouldnt pay for it again, even with NDame there.
    Think about how much time youre gonna be spending in that kitchen(as your work place) and the quality of that thats what really counts, right?..Not to mention the practicality for Ray to fit in all the testbeds and test gear, bikes, trainers etc.

    Whats your budget?..These babies look like they cost 2-3k Euros a month in rent, pretty pricy, but maybe something slightly outside Paris instead?…Near a metro/train station or so to get in/out Paris fast?…Your might be able to rent a full house then and then its alot easier to find good routes for running/biking, not to mention much more space and room for a garden(homegrown spices fx).

    Reply
  5. No doubts.3rd option is (would be) the right choice.Spacious,smells good :-).Noisy and busy surroundings are good when you are single,couple without little “obligations”.You got to consider this factor as well.

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  6. Anonymous

    Number 3.

    It’s the only one with proper ground floor access (who would want to haul bikes up and down stairs each day?)

    Reply
  7. except for it’s proximity to Eiffel Tower, the first house is not as great as the other two. I think you guys chose 3rd, with it’s secure approach and plenty of trainer space it’s an ideal place to live.

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  8. Has to be option 3. Space and new = home

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  9. You can’t post the results until you’ve lived there 6 months. We need the “6 months later” shots to go along with the House Hunters International theme.

    Can’t wait to visit you guys next year.

    Reply
  10. Ben

    Having spent a lot of time in Paris, my response was, holy crap! You guys must be doing ok financially to pay that kind of rent! :)

    Reply
  11. Arne

    Hopefully for whichever place you chose, the floors are sound proof enough so that the neighbours below don’t complain because of the bike trainers!

    Reply
  12. Eiffel tower home

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  13. Forget about the views. You can see them when you like and you’ll be paying a premium for them. They are initial wow and tomorrow’s yawn but you’ll always pay wow.

    Paris is tiny – really. Get out of the very centre and you’ll get a lot more for your money.

    There is no way you’re not going to choose 3.

    When can I stay?

    Reply
  14. Holly cow! These flats must cost a fortune! They are all beautiful, but if the 3rd one has a metro station nearby, I’d go for it. Paris is small but having a metro station within a short distance is really important…

    Reply
  15. DS

    Pick #2, for sure. Can’t beat that view and it’s the best neighborhood in all of Paris. We rented an apt. next door to your building (I won’t give the address for privacy). Try Le Petit Pontoise for foie gras if you get a chance — it’s a deux pas from apt. #2.

    Reply
  16. Based on the old saw about real estate (location, location, location) I’d have to go with #2 even with the sketchy kitchen. To be right along the Seine and just across from Notre Dame – Swoon! Honestly all three looked amazing!

    Reply
  17. This is way better than House Hunters International!!! I think you guys pick 3 due to the storage for the bikes BUT I love all of them!! But I would live with a view over the bike storage! NOTRE DAME!!

    Reply
  18. Considering Ray’s pictures of his gear reviews, I say you went with option #1. It’s also ~30 minutes away from the Hippodrome.

    Notre Dame does not have the running space, and its not very close to the Champ des Mars or the Hippodrome de Longchamp.

    Option #3 I’m guessing is NOT in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 16th or lower 17th. I would guess 14th or 18th. Again these locations are not close to the Eiffel tower at all. Nor are they close to the Hippodrome de Longchamp.

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    #3 hands down…

    Views are nice, but you get used to them very often…
    If you are planning for guests, #1 is no option bathroom-wise.

    #2 is for sure way to noisy and a blast… if you enjoy getting high on CO/CO2 (this is the boulevard to St Michel).

    Go for the spanking new, period features in Paris are the surest path to getting to know plumbers and electricians very well…

    Reply
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  21. Wow,,, That is great that you two have a budget to even look at places like that in Paris is amazing. I would choose #3.. You might find that space is more important when you get your bikes/trainers/guests. Views are nice in the others but you will pay dearly for it. Noise, people, storage, space.

    Reply
  22. I’m thinking you selected the third option

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  23. Being born and raised in Paris, and currently living in the 5th arrondissement, I can tell you that the location of apt #2 is truly amazing, not only for the view, far from it. It feels like a village, and the proximity of the river and the fact that you’re within walking distance to major metro and RER stations is a big plus if you don’t plan on having a car.

    The funny thing about this place is that the windows have a very unusual (i.e noticeable) arrangement compared to other Parisian buildings, and I’ve passed by this building many times on my way to Longchamp, thinking about the lucky people who enjoy a place like that :)

    The first one (Avenue Charles Floquet) is in an area that is even more touristy than #2 and frankly, not so much fun. It’s quite boring, and the crowd living there can be uptight. Think about it when you start pedaling on your home-trainer with wood floors at 6am. Neighbors can be real dickheads in Paris. Trust me on this one. Another to consider is that the subway stations in the area are few and far between, unless you walk all the way to La Motte Picquet.

    Now the nice part about this place, is the Champ de Mars right across the street, and you’re 10mns away from Longchamp.

    Just my 2 cents ;)

    Reply
  24. If you didn’t pick that view of Notre Dame, you are insane! That’s one of my most favorite parts of Paris! FABULOUS neighborhood!

    Reply
  25. #3

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  26. 3rd!

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  27. Ok. My take. I’ve moved to Paris a few month ago so… and yes, holy crap. I guess my budget was too tight for anything like this. I really like the location of your FB photo appartment, near Invalides.

    nr. 3… it depends where in city paris centre. I would need to now approx. location. Cause location in Paris city centre can be good or bad. However, despite all the space, I don’t think you chose nr. 3.

    Nr. 1 one looks nice, with all the storage, though unfurnished “kitchen” can cause some extra cost. However, if you plan to stay longer time it is certainly worthy to have everything to your own desire. This location is great for exercising (by the way, running around Champ de Mars at 7am is very quiet!), however, this is an upmarket district and expensive. I would actually prefer this location to Notre Dame (mainly due to my work in 16th). And i don’t think you chose this one.

    Nr. 2 is different. Interesting. Great location (even if you want to have just a nice dinner picnic on the Seine banks near the Tournelle bridge). Great views. Furniture can be replaced. And i bet all the guests will like it!!! What i would dislike is the carpet and the fact you have a washing machine in the kitchen. Though, when we looking for the appartment, an owner offered to covered the carpet with wooden tiles. I guess you did the same. You are a decade younger than me, so… bars and cafes are even more important. Nearby are nice bars and even parks (for example Jardin de Plantes, near is also Luxembourg parc). And St. Germain district with excellent bars and nightlife. Running is possible one river banks (preferably in the morning with no crowds), though it can be a bit smelly.

    Sooo… in total… i think your selection was nr. 2. Almost without the doubt.

    Reply
  28. previous pictures look like they were taken in the courtyard…..i think #3!

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  29. Tom

    I would bet my life it’s the duplex. It’s got the best looking kitchen from the pics. You both like to cook and eat. Plus it looks like it has the most space for baking.

    Reply
  30. Door Number 3!

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  31. This is so fun Bobbie! I’m going to say #3…while it is missing the killer view, you guys are so active that you’ll always see wonderful things when you’re out and about.

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  32. Anonymous

    I’m thinking #1 (my favorite) or
    #3.

    These are such exciting times for you both – thanks for taking us along on the ride! I lived in Nice my junior year in college, but I would have loved to have the experience of living abroad as a young, working person! Enjoy these days!! :)

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    I would have went for #3, but I think you guys went for #2… only bc as someone mentioned previously- a reflection on the TV from a previous post has those same uneven set windows!

    Reply
  34. Really nice and informative article. kitchen and kids room color combination are perfect.

    Reply

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