Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home sweet home

Finding an apartment in Paris is bloody hard work. I'm currently in my second apartment here. The landlord is selling so I'm on the hunt for my third.

The first one I found before I moved here. It was on craigslist and I sent the deposit and first months rent before i even saw it! On reflection I was mad, but at the time I felt confident as I had spoken to the woman several times on the phone. It was a 20 sqm studio in the marais. Very fancy area, very tiny apartment. When you were in the shower, the toilet was there with you. It was really expensive and living in an attic room nearly drove me mad! I lasted 5 months.

I found the next apartment by asking EVERYONE I knew. When I say everyone I mean everyone on the street, in the bank, my clients, everyone. And finally I fell upon this HUGE double apartment in the not so trendy side of the 18th. 'Oh the 18th' people say, getting misty eyed about montmartre, the sacre coeur and abbesses. Well no one really seems to know about the other side of the hill in the 18th. All kebab shops, halal butchers and dodgy men on every corner! But the price was right, the space was great, its on a good metro line and I had a great flatmate all chosen out in the form of the lovely Lizzie from Cape Cod. I didn't have to worry about references or anything as the landlord is a sweet middle aged gay man who just decided he liked us and trusted us and that was that.

Well now I've been searching for about a month. I found the perfect place. On a rue privee (its my blog picture at the top) with gorgeous furniture and a VIEW OF THE EIFFEL TOWER! Terribly small and awfully expensive, it was mine. But unfortunately after making me wait 2 weeks and after several negotiations I didn't get it as my 'dossier' wasn't good enough.

The word dossier strikes fear into every reasonable persons heart. Well reasonable people without a permanent work contract with a decent salary. Basically to rent in Paris you need to make 3 times the rent after tax. Which means that most people here could afford to live on the streets, as Paris is feckin expensive! Us anglophones think differently. We are happy to pay the most of our wages on rent to get a great place and then eat pasta or get a weekend job to make ends meet. They don't get that here. I work for myself. First bad point. I've only been invoicing proper amounts for the last 3 months. Second bad point. Even though I can get a guarantor from my dad (at aged 32 its ridiculous) he is in Ireland. Third bad point.

So my dossier is shit, which means I need to find an apartment outside of the system. Unfortunately there are obviously many like me, so the pool is very limited. I have been having a bit of a nightmare. I call agencies and they are rude and the apartment is gone. I call agencies and they are nice but thats because they want 250e up front just to see their apartments with no guarantee of anything! I contacted a guy on craigslist who was the biggest most obvious scammer I have ever seen. Etc etc etc.

I know I'll find something.. .that is if I don't go insane before hand! (Oh and if you know anyone with an apartment going..!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

3 little words..

Tonight I heard the best three words a woman can hear from a lovely man:

...."T'as maigri?"...

Have you lost weight? Why yes, yes I have, just a bit, thanks for noticing!

Now I could be a psycho bitch and think, whats he saying, was I fat before? But I'm not going to be, I am just going to accept the compliment as it is. Manshopper and I have been making a real effort lately, not on a diet or anything, but working out hardcore in the gym, and its really starting to pay off. And it feels so great to be able to eat whatever you want and not feel guilty!

So yes I'd prefer to hear, 'have you lost weight' to 'I love you'! This must mean that my assimilation as a Parisian is going well as I'm sure that would be the preference of most Parisians too. The locals here are OBSESSED with their weight and not in a good way. The women ok are one thing. They don't eat much, smoke alot and drink alot of coffee and therefore there is a lot of baby giraffe legs perched on platform heels in this town. To the extent that their little bodies cannot really hold the weight of their big hair, massive handbag and iphone, so they tend to stagger around the footpaths.

The men however are another story. They are also neurotic about their weight. Most of them talk about it constantly, which is decidedly unmanly in my view and they are always going on crazy diets. Like the eat 2 apples and a tin of tuna per day and then run for 2 hours kind of crazy diets. Its super unattractive. In this regard give me an irish man any day, who will cut back on the takeaways for a few weeks and run around the football pitch a bit more.

Now I must go and reflect on the why the hell I would actually want a french boyfriend. Oh and revel in the fact that I look like I have lost weight...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Finding a man in Paris

Melvil Poupaud the guy from Broken English and just my type of Paris man. There are lots but generally all dodgy bastards!

Finding a man in Paris is very easy. Well depending on what kind of man you are looking for.

Dodgy guys...
If you are looking for a one night stand (or one shot as the frenchies call it, of course with a heavy accent) or a fling (aventure), there is a man for you every where you look. In Paris if you are woman without a hump on your back and hair growing on your face you will get told you are beautiful and asked for your number several times a day. This especially happens to anglophone tourists and a lot less to local girls. Why you ask, as french girls are gorgeous, and us anglophones can be a bit of a mess?! Well let me tell you.

When I first got here I was quite flattered by being told several times a day, 'vous etes tres belle' (by the posher guys) or 'wesh m'selle, c'est quoi ton zero six' (by the more ghetto guys), but it got old very quickly. And why (well apart from being stunningly beautiful of course!) was I attracting all this attention. Because of my anglophone smiley face. By our nature we smile at everyone in the street. Parisians think we are psychotic due to this, they smile at no one, only crazy people smile at complete strangers. Parisian men however take this smile as a show of interest. This is why parisian women look like scowling miseries at all times. I have worked hard on my facial muscles and I fight my desire to smile and maintain what I refer to as 'the look of death' now on my face at all times in public. Annoying compliments have reduced significantly... good!

Married ones....
Ok so you could score of these lovely street boys. Or you could have a fling with a married man. The concept of being faithful to your wife does generally not exist in this town. All of my girlfriends would attest to this. Just the other day a business acquaintance inquired after my recently departed boyfriend whom he had met. When I informed him of the 'rupture' he said oh so now you are single, and implied that something could happen between us. Eh yeah right buddy, I may be single but what about the small fact that you are married to the lovely wife you are always talking about?!? He just smiled knowingly.... *shakes head*

Serial monogamists...
Another problem with finding a man in this town is that from the age of 15 french people get into a relationship and thats the end of that. One relationship ends by falling into another one. To be single does not exist. So yes there are plenty of handsome men in this town, but they always have a miserable, stick thin, marlboro light smoking girl with smokey eyes and a billowing black dress somewhere lurking around.

I met some nice guys the other night. Single (well according to them) and a good laugh... but 25. Now I know Demi Moore is the hotness but don't tell me that when Ashton Kutchner was snuggling up to the sexy minx that is Jessica Alba (20 years her junior) in Valentines Day, that Demi's heart wasn't beating sideways... mine would be a lot.

Anyway I shall continue (the somewhat lazy and not currently very motivated) search. See my buddys blog for a more scientific approach.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The flicks

Going to the cinema in Paris is a citywide pastime. Here most people go at least once a week and you are never far from a cinema. The Parisians are effusive about their cinema and always have strong opinions on films especially french ones.

One thing that surprised me when I first moved here was how many french made films there are. Obviously I used to pretend to be all high brow in Dublin and go to french films in the IFI, so I was aware of their existence but there are tons of new french films released here every year. I hear tell this is due to government sponsorship etc etc, and people who work on films here are paid even when they are not working, to keep the trade going etc.

Anyway this national obsession with cinema has resulted in the subscription card. All the cinema chains have them, I'm a UGC girl myself. This means you pay 20 euro a month and you can go to the cinema unlimited amount of times. I just recently upgraded to the 35 euro a month option which means you can bring someone with you. Today I went with fashionbomb Claire to Les Halles and we saw Nine and Valentines Day back to back. (not much to report on either film, Val Day wasn't as bad as anticipated!). At 10euros normal price a ticket, that card just paid for itself in one afternoon!

If you want to go to the movies in Paris, you need to book in advance if possible, because they run all the films in the same time frame, so its always a mad house when you arrive to get your ticket. Also they do not let you into the theater until the exact time of the film, which results in long tense queues as people jostle to be the first into the cinema... seriously annoying! Then every film there is the couple that arrive late and start demanding that others move so that they can have a seat together.

Anyway as I am now making more of an effort to assimilate (probably not the right word, I'll never be thin or miserable enough looking to be mistaken for a real Parisienne!) I have promised myself that I will go to more french films, as I have been very lazy about going just to VO (version originale ie English) films for a long time now. At least two in the near future are spiking my interest...