MyNewPlace writer Crystal Beran is spending the summer in France. She shares with us her assessment of Paris apartments.
Everything is smaller in Paris, from the cobblestone streets that buses just barely (and quite amazingly) squeeze through, to the adorable Smart Cars zipping up and down the Champs Elysees to the elevator that carries a weight capacity of 150 kilos (that’s about 300 pounds). Apartments in Paris can often be little more than studio-sized and are not usually designed to accommodate the larger-than-life lifestyle enjoyed by many Americans. This summer, I spent some time staying in apartments in the beautiful city of Paris. How do they measure up to apartments in the US? Let’s take a look:
No space for an extra-wide fridge here, Parisian apartment kitchens are space savers. It’s not uncommon to find a kitchen with a grand total of a foot and a half of linear counter space. Stoves and ovens run small, and the dishwasher and clothes washer (which are both often kept in the kitchen in Europe) hold perhaps half of what their American counterparts do. The mystery remains, though, how each of these appliances seems to always take between 4 and 6 hours to run one complete cycle.
Parisian apartments often contain a modest bathroom, usually with full size and extra deep tub. For showerers, the glass shield that keeps the rest of the bathroom from getting wet is often about 1/3 the length of the tub, which means that the rest of the bathroom tends to get very wet. But aside from the slippery floor, bathrooms are probably the most comfortably sized rooms.
Bedrooms in Parisian apartments are usually quite small. A ten by ten space, considered a small bedroom in the US, would be quite a spacious room by Parisian standards. Parisian closets do not often contain nearly as many outfits as those in the US.
This part of the apartment is more often similar in size to the living areas in American apartments. Parisians like to gather together to enjoy each other’s company, and guests are welcomed into Parisian living areas, where good wine, good food and good conversation can be enjoyed in a more intimate setting than at the bistros and cafes that line the city streets.
The stairs are tricky. I was told by one landlord in Paris not to worry that the elevator was out (I was staying on the 5th floor) because the stairs were “easy.” It wasn’t until I moved to my next place that I learned what easy stairs were. A spiral along a narrow turret made for some dangerous ascents and descents, though the good thing was that the climb up and down the many stories, usually at least three or four times a day, did make up for the crème brûlée I ate for desert.
Considering the amount of space you get in a typical Parisian apartment, rents range from the outrageous to the astronomically outrageous. Proximity to the city center and the river drive prices up, but even in the outlying districts, the arrondissements with numbers greater than 10, the rents are still similar to the most expensive apartment rents in the nation, such as those found in New York City or San Francisco.