March 4, 2012

House Hunters International: Parisian Stu-stu-studios

Description: The search is on for bourgeois studios in Paris' Montmartre neighborhood.
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Our international house hunter today is Tiffany from New Orleans. When Tiffany was 16 she went to Paris and fell in love with the city. She's the first American that's ever happened to! And it's the opposite of what happens to a lot of Japanese when they visit Paris. Tiffany is moving to Paris and her mom, Debra, is helping her buy a place there.

That's just Tiffany casually watching her mom play the piano.

The narrator points out that Debra and Tiffany's home is decorated in a French style. That's about as French as Franco-American Spaghetti O's. 

Debra, Tiffany, and her dad? uncle? way older brother? walk through the French Quarter and Tiffany explains to them - and us! - "I think one of the most striking things about the French Quarter is the prevalence of French architecture." And I always thought the name French Quarter was just a misnomer.

Tiffany and Debra's budget is $200,000US and for that they want a studio apartment that needs, at most, only minor renovations in Paris' 18th District. Their realtor Caroline knows that that budget won't get a whole lot in Paris.

House #1 is $160,000US. For that amount they get all of this:

193 square feet on the 6th floor of a walk up. At least Tiffany's thin, so she can fit in that bathroom. My fat ass would probably get stuck.

Caroline takes Tiffany and Debra to House #21.5, so they get a better sense of just how much, or rather how little, $200,000 will get you in certain parts of Paris.

And the building has a phone booth that thinks it's an elevator. I guess they needed to do something with all those old phone booths.

It was hard to get a shot of the whole apartment, but that's a bed and some shelving along the wall.

The kitchen is conveniently located right next to the shower. But the toilet is shared and down the hallway. So this place is like the hotel Tom Hanks stayed in in Big. Debra says that they could possibly stretch their budget so Tiffany does not have to live in a glorified dorm room.

Caroline takes them to actual House #2, a 151 square foot apartment for $250,000US, which, for those of you who don't want to do math, is an insane $1,655 a square foot. 

The apartment makes good use of the space it has and it has tall ceilings.

At least with tall apartments you can build up.

The bathroom has way more space than the bathroom in House #1, but

you have to climb up to get to the shower. They like the apartment and the nice finishings, but it's on the first floor, which Debra does not like for security reasons. I'd certainly never feel comfortable sleeping with the window open.

House #3 is 172 square feet for $160,000US. 

Obviously, it's small, but there's good natural light and a built in armoire. 

This place has the largest kitchen of all 3.5 apartments.

And the largest bathroom of all 3.5 apartments.

The bedroom area is located in a loft above the kitchen and bathroom. Tiffany says she's "never slept in a crawl space before." Clearly Tiffany and I are very different people. But at least the sleeping space is separate from the living space. And Genevieve and Apartment Therapy have already addressed what to do with a lofted bed.

Tiffany and Debra discuss their housing options at Montmarte and they must decide quickly because Paris has more buyers than sellers and apartments can be gone in a few hours. House #1 has a ridiculously small bathroom and it's kind of boring looking. House #2 is the nicest, but the most expensive and is on the first floor. House #3 is more reasonably priced, but has that somewhat claustrophobic lofted bed.

Tiffany picks House #3, which is what I would have picked as well.

A few months later Tiffany is settling into her new apartment, but she still has to get some different furnishings. She says that she loves living in Paris because no one there drives and if they need to get somewhere they take the metro or bike. It annoys me when people say things like that as to why Europe - or more specifically, western Europe - is so much better than the US. Like, they do realize that people in the States also take public transportation and bike, right, and that just because they didn't do those things doesn't mean that no one else does? Tiffany also says that when she tells people what neighborhood she lives in, they say it's "a very Parisian neighborhood." Statements like that also annoy me because all neighborhoods in Paris are, by definition, Parisian. What she means, and the word she should use, is traditional, because Parisian doesn't mean just one thing or one type. And now you know two additional things that annoy me, but that's only two on a list of thousands.


  1. haha. Tiffany is a stereotypical, stereotyping moron. She's so cliché, my teeth hurt! By the way, Parisians make fun of the Tiffanys in the world- as we all should do.

    Good review!

  2. you're an asshole, whoever left the above comment. Tiffany is my best friend. She is absolutely the smartest, most kind-hearted woman I have ever met in my life.