Friday, October 17, 2008

Our new French Apartment

We are happy to announce that we have signed for an apartment here in France! We will not be able to move in until Nov 4th, but very happy that the shopping is over. We have learned a lot from this process, and it's been quite the adventure.

Our new place is lovely! It is centrally located to everything we need (metro, grocery, markets, shopping, etc.). Allow us to give you a picture tour of our new home.

In the above picture, you can see the door to the apartment, the kitchen, the dining table, and part of the living room.
This picture shows the desk, faux fireplace, living room.

The windows you see here open up onto our balcony. The French do not have screens in their windows, so when these windows are open, Oreo could just walk right out onto the balcony.

This is our bathroom. To the right, there is a small washing machine. The French also don't use dryers, so we will hang our clothes off the clothes lines (balcony). The window made up of cubes on the left looks into the living room. The bathtub has a shower head that one can pick up to use...but no shower curtain. So I guess we take baths and use the shower hose to rinse off? Still not sure how that works exactly...without getting water all over the place.

Last, but not least, this is our bedroom. We have a bed, closet, and a window. The window is a bit dangerous for Oreo because it leads out onto the roofs of other buildings. We will have have to rig it somehow so he doesn't become a cat on a hot tile roof!

We will have to get some pictures of the outside to send once we move in.

We did learn a lot from apartment shopping here in Marseille.

1. In France, most rentors and real estate agents require that you make 3x the monthly rent or have a French guarantor (guarantors from the US do not count). We found out that most people will accept you paying the full year rent up front to get a place to bypass this rule. Our landlady is wonderful and was fine with our income.

2. There is a habitation tax here that varies around the city. So to live here at the Citadine, we have to pay 1 euro a day for me (wife tax) and 5 euros per day for Oreo. At our new place it will be less.

3. To rent in Marseille, it's good to have renter's insurance and also civil insurance. The civil insurance is in case you cause an accident to someone else, or hurt someone while here, the insurance covers it. It's very strange, and I guess it even covers Oreo in case he were to jump out the window and attack someone.

4. It's good to have a French bank account set up prior to actually moving to the country. We got started on this process late, so didn't have an account for a while which is difficult when you are wanting to rent an apartment.

5. We had thought about finding an place prior to moving here through the internet, and Chris & I are both glad that we waited to find a place in person. Although this has been a big stressor over the past few has been helpful to be here to see the apartments, explore the neighborhoods, and get a feel for what we wanted in an apartment.

No comments: