Lindsey Tramuta; Carams

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.

Dave Bloom

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.

Dave Bloom

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.”

Erica Berman

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.

Written by Kelly Page for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Kelly Page

Kelly Page is a Los Angeles native and new Parisian transplant. Having worked in marketing for the entertainment industry for the past 15 years, she’s traded the bright lights of Hollywood for the softer City of Light, Paris. She’s taken her food and wine passion to the place that inspires it all. Follow her next chapter of food, wine and wanderings at Page in Paris


  1. Thanks for laughing with me Kiki. It really is quite the adventure living in Paris. If life here was exactly the same as life in the US then why bother traveling! I love it here – the interesting French nuances and all!

  2. Kelly, this made me laugh quite a few times – I know – from many others and frankly quite frequently very similar stories – how absolutely impossible it is to find a decent sized ‘home’ within Paris and on Sunday a week ago I took photos of Parisian ‘properties’ of less than 10m2 (slightly over 100squ ft)getting SOLD for over €105.000.–…. This on the 6th floor of a building with no lift… and the photos were very offputting – yet it was sold!

    Same realtor; a cabinet-sized space of also 9.5m2 being rented out as furnished STUDIO (help – you need to climb a wall-fixed ladder to your high-mounted matress) for €550.- per month…. this is plain ridiculous and daylight robbery…. I know that I’ve written about those things before and yet, every time I look into the windows of real estate agencies in Paris, I find the very same situation – and not only in the downtown arrondissements but also in the 11th/12th.

    I am happy for you and wish you a steely health to climb those stairs, overhanging and uneven, a fit body not to get hurt every time you turn around and lovely neighbour shops with nice roasted chickens and fresh baguettes… you will need those!

    I smiled at your healthy sense of humour; because you sure as anything need that when looking at Paris accommodation! But you made it. And what a lovely collection of photos, clearly not of your appartment but so appropriate! I also took a lovely shot of the tree with the shoes in it….

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