Apartment Hunting: Part 1

Paris 18th arrondissement Paris street art Giacometti Paris 18eme Paris Street Art

Paris 20th arrondissement

Finding an apartment in Paris is like painting a Giacometti, hunched over in a tiny hotel room crammed with your life's possessions, exhibiting a great deal of bewilderment and persistence. After all the hard work and dreaming, the end product finally materializes- dark, depressing, and reflective of the increasing emptiness and decay of modern society, the rental equivalent of an existential struggle for meaning. We ended up living at Mama Shelter and taking our dinner in the restaurant every night.

Paris building

According to friends, Seloger, Lodgis, and LeBonCoin are fairly fruitful, but when we got here, every apartment we inquired about was already taken (I since discovered Book a Flat, which I love. They even have pet friendly furnished apartments). We limited our search to a few arrondissements and learned that finding a good place is about who you know. After some awful viewings (toilets outside the apartment, bathrooms in the kitchen), my husband's friend referred us to an agent who finally found us something worth moving for.

Mama Shelter restaurant Paris Philippe Starck

I was almost sorry she did, because we were at an Airbnb by Lamarck-Caulaincourt, on a nice winding street near Avenue Junot. Bululu Arepera, a gluten-free Argentine canteen, was right around the corner, next to a family-run vegetable market and mom-and-pop shop we came to love. At nights, we sat outside at Le Refuge, sharing drinks with the bartenders- I didn't even mind climbing 96 stairs in the metro everyday!

Paris Montmartre

For some reason, I thought all Paris apartments had crown molding, parquet floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows, but real people actually live in humid little holes they pay through the nose for. Cash-rich Parisians aren't exempt from rotting walls, asbestos, or bad foundations either. Our friend put down a year of rent- over a million euros- before getting his (amazing) place, only to have the paint peel a few weeks later.


Paris Avenue Junot

At any rate, I loved living here. It's one part of Paris that isn't quite gentrified yet, and every corner was practically made for Instagram.
Paris to Go

Paris Market Guide: A Market a Day



Click a day to get started, scroll down for a complete map of Paris markets with addresses and hours

Image Map


Marché d'Aligre

Marché Président Wilson

Bastille

Belleville

Marché des Enfants Rouges

Raspail Bio Market


I started shopping at the marché out of desperation. The prices and selection of Parisian supermarkets (no peanut butter!) frustrated me, and long lines snaked the aisles so I couldn't browse. Rue Cler is around the corner, but I thought, "Why wasn't I born during an outbreak of influenza, or at the base of a volcano? Why did I survive and grow to squander my potential by shopping on Rue Cler?"

When I stopped going to grocery stores, I fell in love with the brown radishes and golden raspberries at Serge Baudry, the vitelotte potatoes and tiny parsnips of Joel Thiebault, the fractal Provibio romanesco, purple carrots, green oranges I thought were Dioscoridian myths. Because the market is exclusively seasonal produce, every harvest cycle I learn to cook new ingredients- I once served a dinner that may or may not have had broken glass in it, so I need all the learning I can get! There's something so satisfying about preparing food that was in the ground yesterday, straight from the people who grew it.


You can read Emile Zola's Le Ventre de Paris here or in English here.

Updated to include this interactive Paris market map ( Inge's amazing idea. I'll do one for the gluten-free metro map, zero-waste shopping guide, and Paris city guide by arrondissement posts eventually too). You can now buy gluten-free crepes at Marché President Wilson and gluten-free cakes at Marché Raspail, made completely without animal products :). Click on each address to see hours.
Paris to Go

Maple Whiskey Butter


Maple bourbon whiskey butter

I'm ashamed to call this a recipe, because there's no trick to it. To make butter, pour heavy cream into a jar and shake vigorously for half an hour- three cups heavy cream makes a 1/2 pound of butter. I read somewhere that moms have their kids do this while watching TV, which is probably a lie. My arms shook involuntarily for an hour afterward.

Homemade butter diy jar
Use leftover heavy cream
When the butter is done, pour off the liquid (this is buttermilk) and save. Let it soften while mixing one tablespoon each maple syrup and gluten-free whiskey in a bowl. Mash with a fork until all the liquid is absorbed. Pat into a butter mold or keep in the jar- it's cuter that way. Serve on côte de boeuf.
Paris to Go

Hello!

I'm Ariana. I live here:

Paris Seine sunset Pont

Paris Butte Chaumont Eiffel Tower Belleville

Paris Place de la Concorde sunset ferris wheel
Bonjour! Je m'appelle Ariana. Je vis à Paris dans le 7ème.
Paris to Go