We have decided to move on from our furnished apartment in the 14th Arrondissement in Paris. This is due to several reasons such as spending too much money for too little gain, neither of us being used to ‘only’ 55m2 of living space (more like 55m2 for the living room), no garden (look at our earlier blogs for gardening on the 5th floor) and worst of all for me, no garage so no toys to play with (excluding Jo of course
So we have taken advantage of the dog days of the year and we have been driving around areas that ‘might’ be nice to live in….and on some form of public transport….and not out at Woop-Woop (a delightful Aussie term for the back of beyond or in the Styx)…and within some form of budget…and accessible for my job in one of the southern Paris suburbs. And that is just defining the area.
We actually pinned the area down to one of two, the Vallée de la Chevreuse which is about 20kms or so south of Paris, 3 small towns each with character and a proper centre and north west of Paris around the area of St Germain en Laye. We eventually found a place which looks very suitable in the town of Maisons-Laffitte, a horsey town with lots of charm, an RER (suburban rail) link, and a delightful town centre (the tourist office offers a potted history in perhaps a bit too much detail at http://www.tourisme-maisonslaffitte.fr/?frame=frame_historique&rubrique=THE%20TOWN’S%20HISTORY&lang=uk). The house is less than 10 minutes walk to the station (and a genuine 10 minutes, not an estate agent’s 10 minutes) and slightly less to the covered market and the town itself. So we committed to rent it on Saturday and then received the list of things that I need to supply….
I spent half of Sunday scanning passports, salary slips, documents, and trying to work out how to get documents down from Holland where they normally reside. We have a rendezvous with the owner on Saturday at the office of the estate agents – which should be an interesting experience if nothing else and will hopefully allow us to work around any minor problems. Monday saw a dearth of comments to my emails so I assumed that either none of them had arrived or all was perfect…..and since I have certain unusual circumstances such as a contract written in Flemish (almost Dutch) whilst working in a French based company I didn’t expect that it would be perfect. Valérie, the nice estate, emailed on Tuesday explaining that she doesn’t work on Monday…and could I sort a number of things out – including a translation of my contract.
Anyway, we returned to Maisons-Laffitte on Saturday and met the landlord at the estate agents. After a number of discussions (including my work situation and contract, surprise, surprise) and the works that he was going to have done before the let started, Valérie produced a set of contracts and we started to sign ‘French fashion’. I was somewhat bemused and had not expected to do the signing there, rather that it would happen during the following weeks…fortunately I had remembered to take my cheque book at the last minute!
These French contracts (and most others that I have seen) require that every page is initialled (so default to my simplest version of initialising) and that the contract has, hand written, “read and approved” and a proper signature. Three times for the 3 copies….and 20 pages or so per contract….and another 20 pages for another document…..and then 3 cheques, one for the deposit, one for the 1st month and a final one for the estate agents…
So from the 1st March we will be residents of Maisons-Laffitte and can hopefully synchronise the removal of the contents of my house in the Netherlands along with the ‘few’ things we have here plus the cars. Suffice to say that we will be well glad when the first week of March is over and the dust is (hopefully) starting to settle.