Friday, March 27, 2009

Real Friends

Here it is: 154 rue Legendre, in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, France. On the sixth stage of this building (seventh floor), is our apartment! Thanks to our BFF Guillaume, we did not have to compete at all with the hoards we encountered before. After hearing our trials and tribulations of searching and searching, Guillaume took pity on us and sent an email to his familial network stretching throughout Paris. It turned out that his mother is good friends with a woman that lives in this building, who is good friends with the woman that owns the apartment. That latter woman was about to hand over the vacancy to an immobilier, which most certainly would have made it impossible for us to compete. And with the low rent, it would have been a bloodbath, or bain de sang.

There are the usual strange amenities, such as the shower in the kitchen, and the bathroom out the front door of the apartment. And being at the top of the building (which can be reached by an elevator of moderate size) the ceilings are a bit slanted. But these are elements we call "charm." Plus, it is about 35 sq. meters (315 sq. ft.), which by Parisian standards is large.

The neighborhood is excellent too. We visited a local café where we read for about an hour. We ordered two café cremes (espresso with milk) and the total cost for sitting inside was 4 euros! Usually it is 4 euros for a single café creme quickly consumed while standing at the bar.

What is more, we do not need to pay the fees of going through an agency. These fees are usually about one month's worth of rent, so there we are saving money. We were just about to throw in the towel and hire an agency to find us a place --- which would have cost more money probably about 1500 euros. We prepared the map below, showing us all the immobiliers in Paris to visit.

In other news, last night we attended a concert of students from the Paris Conservatory. It was held in the beautiful cathedral of St. Eustache (pictured below). This is my favorite cathedral in Paris, partly because it is where Hector Berlioz premiered his Te Deum in 1849, partly because this is where the funeral was held for Mozart's mother, partly because it houses the largest organ in France, partly because the front and rear of the cathedral have incredibly contrasting styles, but mostly because where it is located makes it look even more huge.

Anyhow, grand gothic/classical cathedrals, good concert spaces do not make. The instruments were incredibly muddled, and while this worked well for one slow movement of piano and saxophone, everything else was obscured by a thick and heavy veil of reverberation. Even the massive organ, playing a piece of Bach, gave the impression of my ears being wrapped up in that thin tin foil. Excusez-moi, can we hear some music that works well with a 6 second reverberation time? We left at intermission.

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