Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Ever since I found out I was going to be living in Paris, people have been asking me what our apartment would be like. To be honest, for a long time I didn't know. I looked up the address on google maps and checked out the street view, and it looked pretty good. We went to dinner with another couple who had lived here, and they had some not so good shots of the inside. I got a little better idea when I saw the blog about the riot that happened just outside a while back, but really, I had no idea. I was a little apprehensive because our apartment in London was the ugliest, most expensive 300 square feet I had ever seen. But the couple who lived here previously told us it was 1,100 square feet and in a great location. So, I figured it would be good, but I had no idea it would be great. So, to end all the questions, here's some photos I took today to give you the lay of the land for me for the next three months or so...

Here's the front door, which leads me to the question when did we, as humanity, decide that it wasn't worth the effort to make things beautiful? Why do we choose cheap and easy over elegant and timeless? What does that say about us and our degeneration when now that we can make things easier, we spend less time on the details? Just some thoughts that cross my mind looking at the front door alone. And then there's those hand cut floor tiles in the entry hall that are probably over 150 years old. They are worn from all these years of use, but that only makes them more beautiful.

And then there's the detail and design of the stairway to wrap your head around.

And there you are at our front door. Come in and check it out.

The Entry Hall. I love the double doors; it feels so French. And I love having space for all the coats and the boys scooters.

The Living Room: That's an original marble fireplace over there against the wall, the orignal herringbone wood floors, and crystal chandelier. The furnishings are all early IKEA, but it's a great place to hang out, and Jack thinks it's a great place to play Wii. That rug is the exact same IKEA rug the boys have on their bedroom floor at home, and when we got here Jack asked me if I had brought it with us. We may have had a ton of luggage, but luckily I drew the line at area rugs.

The Dining Room: I know, I know, most dining rooms don't come with bunk beds, but this place is equipped to handle families much larger than ours. But most dining rooms also don't come equipped with an original fireplace like this one either. It's so beautiful, I had to add a detail photo.

Definitely the most hilarous thing about the apartment is this long winding hallway. When we first got here, the boys fell asleep straight away, and I looked around the apartment, I found the main rooms, but couldn't find the kitchen. Then I found a door leading to this hallway (which doesn't feel heated, by the way) which led to this very scary 1/4 bath and then to....

...The Kitchen!

Okay, not to be negative, but here's what I don't get. For a culture that loves food and cooking so much, why, oh why, do so many kitchens in Paris look like this? I mean, it works just fine but is painfully lacking in storage space and is freezing and falling apart. The cooktop's lighter doesn't work, so whenever you want to start up one of the burners you need to do it with a match. I keep expecting to smell a campfire every time I start it up because it seems just one very small step above the classic Coleman camp stove. The upside? I just unloaded the dishwasher and I could put everything away without taking a step. Makes up for all the steps down the long hallway between the kitchen and the dining room.

Here's the hallway going in the opposite direction from the long and winding road to the kitchen. This one leads to the bedrooms, and is much prettier, warmer, and has another amazing set of french doors leading to the living room.

Here's the other 3/4 of the bath. Yes, on the other side of the apartment. It's huge though, and had what I thought was a toilet, but was a broken down bidet. And a washer and dryer in the apartment? I'll take it!

Our bedroom: It's really a great size, and has that cool armoire in the corner that looks like it's straight out of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. And there's another one of those amazing original fireplaces. And the ceilings in all of the apartment have the amazing crown and picture molding, and the beautiful decorative work around the light fixtures, if only there were light fixtures...

The last stop on the tour is the kid's room, which is the biggest in the apartment. It has a double bunk bed, a single bed, an armoire and a dresser, and there's still a ton of room. Don't miss that there is yet another amazing fireplace in here. Really, by this point in the tour your probably getting tired of all the period details. The boys also have great views of the Eiffel Tower. Last night Jack ran into our room at 11 PM to tell me it was sparkling, and we watched it until it went out. You can barely see it in the photo because it was half covered by clouds most of the day, but trust me, it's there.

And that wrought iron, does it get more French than that?

Really, this apartment kind of sums up how I see Paris itself. Absolutely beautiful with just a few quirks to keep it interesting.


Mikilani said...

you made it! yay! :) the place looks really cool - apart from the scary, narrow green hallway that looks like it belongs in The Shining. how's the food? looking at your pictures I'm already craving pain au chocolat! I can't wait to read about all your adventures.

Aino said...

Love it!!!!

M-L said...

I guess you've just got to eat out to not have to deal with the lacking kitchen!

Alison said...

Laura, you've photographed it beautifully. Your last photo reminded me of a Caillebotte painting.