After many horrendously unsuccessful attempts at trying to find my first pied-à-terre in Paris, I had one last shot before I would literally be living in the metro. My lead was a long one — a friend of a very distant acquaintance who could show me her place on the very last day of my Paris apartment search trip. On my way over, I practiced feigning excitement over the minimalistic lifestyle I seemed destined for, as moving back home couldn’t win out over my storybook fantasy of living in Paris, no matter how bleak my accommodations might be.
I walked into the courtyard and started the 50-stair climb to the apartment up a narrow, twisting wooden staircase that leaned to one side. I was sure that after drinking enough wine, I would hardly notice the sideways slant.
The door needed a good shoulder-leg-combo thrust to open, but walking in, the place opened up to a cheery red and yellow salon with a high ceiling and two windows that opened onto a quiet street. Yes, I could picture Anna Karenina’s plight being discussed in this very room over wine and amuse-bouches. I saw tall bookshelves, a TV, and then — Oh! There’s my only closet, right there in the salon next to the TV. It was about the same size as the entryway closet at home where I hang my coats. I love minimalist living!
Steep Paris staircase: Sfslim
I was unfamiliar with the strange materials that made up my new mattress. I would say it was a tad softer than cement, but no springs were injured in the making of the mattress. It must be good for the back, I told myself.
There was a separate shower and toilet room. I realized my yoga would come in handy once I attempted to groom myself in the tight space. The shower was the size of a phone booth, but I don’t think Clark Kent could change into anything but a black and blue bruise in there.
Then there was the kitchen, which I missed on the first pass, since it was more of a cuisine closet. Spices and utensils were hung on the wall due to lack of drawer space, and the refrigerator was going to get me practicing my ballet pliés given it didn’t reach past my waist. Free workout!
When I was told there was no oven, I deflated like the freshly cooked soufflé that would not be coming out of my Parisian kitchen. The landlady said, “What do you need an oven for?” I feebly replied, “uh, roast chicken perhaps?” She said, “ah no, the French make the best roast chicken in the world, so don’t even try and compete with them.”
What can I say? I fell in love with my tiny oven-less Paris apartment. This may be the closest I’ve come to camping, except that I’m actually really enjoying it, and couldn’t ask for a more beautiful campground. My landlady was right though, the Parisians do make the best roast chicken, and I don’t need to compete.