25 July 2010

Apartment sought, apartment found

Following about six weeks of searching and four visits, we've found a new apartment! It's the first time that we've gone through this process and from what everyone tells us, we got off easy. That said, the quantity of documentation required to rent an apartment in France is worthy of its own post (to be written shortly).

The new apartment is about 50% bigger than our current place, is in a better situated neighborhood and, most importantly, has a balcony along its entire length. The entire process went extremely quickly, with Esther calling in response to an ad on Thursday morning, her visiting Thursday afternoon, me visiting Thursday evening, the owner choosing our dossier on Friday afternoon, and us signing for it on Monday evening.

It's entirely empty (except some cabinets in the kitchen and the bathroom) so we're very quickly going to be in full furnishing mode, doing our best to avoid IKEA and to bring some character into the house. Given that it's a typical 1980's construction, "charming" doesn't come to mind when viewing the building from the outside, but it's well laid out inside and has wonderful views on the Haussmannian buildings across the wide, tree-lined boulevard. We will have plenty of space inside to organize it intelligently, it's just going to take some time to fill it all in.

Naturally, pictures will follow as soon as I have the chance to take some!

14 July 2010

Hiking in the Vosges

A little behind on this one, but better late than never. In mid-May, Esther and I took a long weekend to go hiking in the Vosges Mountains in eastern France, near the border with Germany. It's a beautiful part of the world, though not always known for its beautiful weather, an aspect that we got to experience first hand. Despite getting lost in the fog on one of the days, it was a great few days hiking around and experiencing the local culture (an enjoyable mix of French and German).

Here is a brief collection of photos:

Hiking in the Vosges