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Paris Blog: House Hunters International–Part II

(We left off last week with us narrowing it down to three houses from over a dozen…check out that post first if you’re just joining us)

Before we announce our selection, let’s recap the houses.  After a lot of comparing pros and cons lists, we had narrowed it down to the following three:

House #1: The Eiffel Tower House:
Easily within hitting distance of a baseball from the base of the Eiffel tower.  While this apartment didn’t offer a view of the landmark – it did offer easy access to the surrounding area, and had a clean and bright interior.

EiffelHouse

House #2: Notre Dame House:
This house was situated overlooking the Seine (the main river), with a mind-boggling view of Notre Dame.  And while the two-story apartment did feature 2.5 baths and two full bedrooms, it was super-tight on storage space (and space in general).

NotreDameHouse

House #3: The Renovated Duplex:
This apartment was a two-story unit with tons of space – the exact opposite of the Notre Dame unit in almost every respect.  It was finishing up major renovations and looked brand new.  However, the neighborhood didn’t have a lot going for it (it wasn’t bad, just not very active).

RenovatedHouse

So, which one did we choose as our home for the next 3-5 years?

The Winner: House #2: Notre Dame

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We’ve been pretty surprised that only a handful of folks guessed house #2, and those that did – primarily did so because of some window pattern reflections seen in this post from two weeks ago.  In some ways though, when it came to guessing, you were at a disadvantage for just how spectacular the view is.  The photos make Notre Dame look much smaller and father away, when in reality, when you walk in our front door – it’s all you can see, just towering up.  Everyone involved in our relocation process, from the gas repairman to the movers, simply walks to the window and stares.  Really an unbelievable scene.  Honestly, we’re not entirely sure how we lucked out.

However, what really sold us was the location and neighborhood.  We spent quite a bit of time in all the neighborhoods over the course of our multiple trips back and forth in the spring.  Morning, noon and night – trying to get a feel for them.  And none of them seemed to match the energy.  Sure, some of it tourists – but once you got away a block or two, it translated into a more natural Paris scene (Saint Germain).

An additional (and extremely important) factor was how long it took to get to the airport.  I’ll be travelling internationally sometimes weekly, and having to change trains multiple times really hurts at 6AM.  In our case, we can get on an single express train about 200 yards away, and I can be at the airport in less than 35 minutes.  It’s awesome.  Oh, and the pool is only a 3 minute walk behind us, which is incredible looking.

Of course, the apartment is small, probably 60% of the space of the renovated duplex (Option #3), if not even smaller.  But as the saying in real estate goes, it’s all about location.  As we moved out of our place in DC, we actually didn’t know which house we’d have.  Thus, we ended up selling virtually every piece of furniture we had (more on that later, The Girl’s Craigslist skills were unreal…I think we almost broke even).  So with the reduced furniture, we got a lot more space.  Of course, make no mistake – we donated, sold and threw away a TON of stuff.  Truckloads of it.

But, we weren’t kidding when we said that trainers were an issue with space. I’m going to tighten up my trainer review process and get the non-reviewed ones out the door quicker.  Because quite frankly, they just take up too much space (and a storage unit here is so darn expensive, trust us…we have one).  Of course, some of the trainers are ones I’ve bought (CompuTrainer’s, Bushido, Kurt Kinetic), and others have longer lead times (PowerBeam pending final software suite).

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And, our friends and family got the benefit of our book collection downsizing, though – we still kept a lot of the prime titles, which sorta fit into the built-in shelves:

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But – thus far with being here a month (which seems crazy!), we absolutely love it.  We couldn’t be happier in our location.  We just got back from a nice walk around the Notre Dame island to grab some crepes, and virtually every night we’re out wandering around – enjoying the stream of street performers around Notre Dame.  Below, a quick photo I just took from where I’m sitting writing this at my desk.

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And, after a bit of ‘cleaning’, we’ve started to make the place look a bit better.  Here’s what it looks like after some quality time at Ikea:

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Again, still some work to do, especially in the arts, decoration and bike hanging department – but it’s a start.  Today, our ‘art’ primarily consists of two aerohelmets hung up on a random hook:

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Up next we’ll talk about how exactly you move into a Paris apartment, complete with a crazy time-lapse video of 96 boxes being moved in!  Being on the 5th and 6th floors (top two floors), we lack an elevator beyond the 4th.  They use some techniques unseen in the US – pretty cool and nuts.  Except, you know, when a box falls off from five stories up…but more on that later.

Thanks for reading!

(Update: Here’s the next post in this series, including the timelapse video of moving in!)

29 Comments

  1. chuffed for you guys, the place looks very beautiful.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Welcome in Paris! Great view from your appartement, you'll perhaps see Quasimodo in Notre-Dame... If you need help from a french-geek-triathlete, don't hesitate.

    Reply
  3. Guys,
    You have my sympathy for the HARD life you live. As a good friend of mine would say - call the cable guy, your TV seems stuck on the good life channel!

    Keep enjoying it!

    Reply
  4. That was the right pick. Do the Roman ruins underneath the square yet?

    Reply
  5. Amazing view! Fantastic option! Crongratulations from Brazil!
    Sergio

    Reply
  6. Congratulations Ray, awesome house.
    A BIG WARNING THOUGH: the RER often takes 35 min to CDG but only if you are lucky. It also often goes at snail pace and takes up to 1h10 for this trip. So ALWAYS plan your transfer to the airport with a good margin...
    And don't forget to give me a shout when you pass by Dubai...

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    There's a good little ice cream store just beyond Notre Dame on the opposite side of Ile Saint Louis from you. Enjoy your time there and best wishes!! And make sure you get out to Normandy!!

    Reply
  8. Ha! I knew it! Glad you are enjoying the neighborhood so far, it's really the best! Wander over into the Marais sometime too, it's really neat, especially at night!

    Reply
  9. DS

    Smart couple. #2 was the clear choice for those who know Paris.

    Reply
  10. great, great, great choice! if you need to unload a trainer, I could certainly give one a good home ;-) !

    Reply
  11. Nice place. My choice would have been the same, plus the neighborhood is quite busy there, crepes shop just a minute away and I think its also around 3kms away from Lourve Museum
    I remember getting out from the metro station (express line from the airport) right in front of Notre Dame, so looking out of your house, will be on your left
    :)

    Have fun you guys!

    Reply
  12. Amazing. I think you should offer a bed & breakfast option for all of your blog readers, who come to paris on a bike:-)

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Not sure if you are religious or not, but I am curious if you have been to a service there. If so, what was it like?

    Reply
  14. Great choice! We might have chosen the same place if we were you. Last time me and my wife stayed in Paris we were at Hotel Esmeralda which had the same spectacular view of notre dame! Your apartment is right at the heart of Paris and a short walk from Shakespeare and Co in case you want to read english books :D Congrats!

    Reply
  15. Thanks all!

    Ol Nico-

    Yes, I found one of them crawling trains back two weeks ago. Not a local/slow train, just an express train going slow. Sigh...

    Hi Anon-

    We haven't yet, though we may swing by at some point. They also have various concerts and choruses that perform there too, which are published outside the gates. We're pretty busy the next few weeks - but we see some later in the month that ought to do the trick!

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    The house looks fantastic.

    Our house lacks closets over here in Germany. So, I am curious... does your house have any closet space or did you have to buy wardrobes?

    Jennifer

    Reply
  17. Matz

    What a view.
    Just out of curiosity: I know you are working in the IT but are you also working in the UC business as I can see a CX600 Lync phone on your desk?! :)

    Reply
  18. Hi Jennifer

    It actually has a fair amount of built-in closet space (primarily in the master bedroom) - though, we continue to wish it had more. We bought a dresser for the bedroom, and all of the storage space cabinents under the TV as well.

    Hi Matz-

    I design infrastructure solutions for large organizations, including designing Lync (well, previously LCS, then OCS and now Lync) deployments. Additionally, the org I work uses Lync internally - so I love the CX600.

    Reply
  19. SwimN Bike

    +1 on the Stuck in the Good life Channel Comment. Happy for you guys.

    Boy do I miss Europe. I live in HK, they call apt's here Shoeboxes not for nothing.

    Awesome!!

    Reply
  20. Been a while since reading your blog. So surprised at the change in venue. Very nice indeed!

    Reply
  21. RWJ

    The place looks ah-mazing. And I loved the House Hunters aspect. It's my favorite show aside from Wife Swap. Funny enough, I think this is actually located near to the hostel I stayed in when I first arrived in Paris. The BVJ. It's just around the corner from a sandwich place that has a great sesame brie.

    Reply
  22. Oh you're not far from my favorite bookstore! What a fabulous location. I don't think you'd get me away from the window for to long.

    Reply
  23. Happy Runner

    The view? I just assumed you were a Van Morrison fan.
    ======
    Shammy [chamois] cleaning all the windows,
    Singing songs about Edith Piaf's soul.
    And I hear blue strains of "no regredior"
    Across the street from Cathedral Notre Dame.

    Read more at link to songmeanings.net

    Reply
  24. DC rainmaker, I am a fan. For all those of us who dream of Paris, give us an idea of the rent for that Apt you got overlooking the Seine?

    Reply
  25. This house looks just like a palace form a fairy tale, the view at it during the night time is fascinating! I truly love this post because of the pictures that you've inserted to it! I can't believe someone is lucky enough to live in such a place!

    Reply
  26. Yes .... somebody up from the sky loves you, guys!!! I try since years to relocate .... Paris is definitely not my dream, but just moving out would be my life's dream!!
    GOOD LUCK in Europe!

    Reply
  27. Xavier

    I am a new follower of your blog, which I discovered this week while looking for GPS watches review.... I now start to discover your personal story !! I just love your blog. Please keep one writing and welcome to France ! (though a bit late) I am myself a French guy living close to Geneva and just had the idea 2 weeks ago to start training for Sprint triathlon.... still 10 months to go before it, but what a nice challenge.

    Xav

    Reply
  28. Haha, this post brings back good (bad) memories moving up to the 5th floor in Zürich with no lift. Moving in and out was a b---h. Even moving out, the worst part was not necessarily carrying the last bags down, but the fact that if you didn't grab everything you would have to climb up again when you're already exhausted.

    What a stellar location to live in Paris!

    Reply
  29. Stuart T

    Somewhat late to the party on this one but hey, fabulous place in such a wonderful location.

    Reply

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