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Chickening Out in the City of Light

It seems that the love of Paris hasn’t waned in spite of ‘the current economic climate.’ (I’m getting bored to tears using this phrase! When will this ‘current economic climate’ become no longer current?)

The signs are in the fact that Americans are still traveling to France, still happy to rent furnished vacation apartments and still interested in owning their own little “pied-à-terre” to call home when they are here. Those that still have “La Maladie” (or “the bug,” as I call it), even if their pocketbooks have lost a bit of weight, are finding ways of fulfilling their dreams by seeking out small, inexpensive corners in the neighborhoods they’ve come to know and love in the City of Light.

Our number one property search consultant, who we affectionately call our “search engine” because she sees just about every apartment that comes on the market, came home from a long day of climbing stairs to “chambres de bonnes” (maids’ quarters up in the eaves), with a story that beat them all. As one can imagine, she’s seen just about everything over the years of visiting properties all over town, or at least thought she had, until this time. So much so, that she penned off a letter to her brother to describe the scene. Here it is for your amusement:

My Morning Report
by M.E. Gallagher

Okay, so as I said, I’m meeting this client to look at an apartment in a très edgy “quartier” of the 18th (as described by someone who lives in the semi-edgy 19th). And it’s fricking freezing and I’m waiting on this creepy corner, sneezing and snorting and coughing, and generally looking like an old…(I don’t even want to flatter myself).

I wait 30 minutes (feels like days) for the broker. He arrives breathless, apologetic, but then realizes he has the w

rong key and leaves again. Meanwhile, I continue to call the client’s cell phone who is now 30 minutes late.

I finally reach him: “Sorry! On my way!” Another 15 minutes passes. I’m totally frozen. I call again. “Ha! Now, I’m really on my way!” My last call to him (only because I’m still waiting for the return of the broker), and the client says, “I’m lost, and I’m not coming anyway.”

The broker returns and we go up up up up up up up up up multi flights of stairs to the very top of the building. Something smells, but I’m not sure — could be my cold meds. Or my impending heart attack.

The broker can’t get the door open. I notice every window up the dank stairwell is open. Yes, there is a definite smell.

Now, the broker has given up fiddling with the key, and he’s kicking and pounding on the door, yelling.

Meanwhile, I realize that the dark corner beside the apartment door is not the “toilette de palier,” but an open closet piled high with furniture. And garbage. Real awful garbage. Then I look up.

Two skinned chicken carcasses are hanging from an ironing board suspended from a hook(??). The chicken parts are actively rotting. All very sculptural.

Just then, the broker crashes through the door, but I tell him I just don’t think the apartment will work for me. He looks very woebegone. “Is it the chickens?”

I say they don’t really add much to the overall ambiance, and he says “I’ve told the owner that, but the owner won’t remove them — they’re the tenant’s chickens, after all. Besides,” the broker says to me, “they’re not IN the apartment. Are you SURE you don’t want the place? The tenant will take the chickens with him when he moves out” (the broker supposes).

I hold my ground. Nope. Not for me.

We both take photos of the chickens (seemed like the thing to do) and he promises to call if he finds another property, that the next one will be “something real good.”

So, now I’m home, drinking cough syrup and thinking probably not…

The moral to the story?

Don’t ‘chicken out’ on any adventure, especially if it means having your own little “cuisse”* of Paris.

*chicken leg and thigh

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
(Photo by Sara Plum)

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P.S. If you are even vaguely interested in enriching your life by having your own “piece” of Paris (without the rotting chickens), please feel free to email us for more information on how you can become a proud owner at [email protected]


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