We moved into our apartment on April 11th. Bare bones only begins to explain what our Parisian home is like. Literally not one closet, no heat or hot water for the first 3 days, bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling and a thin layer of dirt everywhere.
Now, let me explain that I love living in Paris. I knew there would be some tough transitions and differences to get used to from America to Europe. I was looking forward to the smaller sizes, scaled down and refined life. But what was the most interesting part was what I chose to overlook when we initially looked at the apartment. I was charmed with the high ceilings, beautiful crown molding, creaky hardwood floor. Naively we thought: All it needs is fresh coat of paint. No problem. It will take a couple of days.
What I did not anticipate was buying paint and supplies in Paris for a 60 square meter apartment and the calculations required for buying paint and tape. Friday, the first day out, I ended up carrying a 10L can of paint and a bag of supplies through 3 metro stations (that’s a lot). I tried to walk out with the stores rolling cart but was quickly stopped by the security guard asking for my Passport until I returned the cart. My fate was sealed. To add insult to injury, we had no internet so we had no idea that there were 3 paint stores within walking distance.
We quickly ran out of paint mid afternoon on Saturday and I had to rush out to my second paint store to get us paint because EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday (and they are not joking about that here). So I brought my rolling suitcase and walked the 5 streets to the second (of three) stores I ending up going to. The guy did not speak a word of English (though not a surprise) and I ended up buying 5L of white paint (albeit the worst quality so that was frustrating).
We ran out of that too within a couple of days so I went to the third store to buy another 5L of paint. The guy spoke a little English and I left with the remainder of my paint (very good quality), a new round brush (they love the round brush here in Paris) and TONS of tape. Then there was also getting a ladder (echelle) to reach the crown molding. Luckily, my dear friend in Paris, Jeremie had an echelle for us to borrow. The painting took 6 days and I will do everything in my power to never paint my own place again. I remember there was a time about 8 years ago when I decided to never move myself again. The time has come for the same with painting.
Let me end with the fact that this apartment did require a TON of elbow grease but it is well worth it as we have beautiful white walls and molding, light blue doors, sparkling clean floors and a fresh feeling to this wonderful apartment.