Apartment stories


Loan offers much better than my worst-case scenario are coming in, and with the compromis de vente (sale agreement, a legally binding document for buyer and seller) signed by all parties, barring exceptional circumstances, the apartment will be mine! These photos are from the advert (not mine), I’ll take other pictures when I have the chance — silly me forgot to do so when I had my handheld camera with me last time. The kitchen is a great size, and I like the bar. As mentioned before, the living room is decorated with fake rocks (which I’ll remove), and it has a cozy nook the right size for a couch. The façade is late art déco; the building is from the late 1940s/early 1950s. The arches on the upper balconies are repeated (without detailing) inside my place, over all the doorways. I love simple arches done like that on high ceilings.

As a few people (in real life and here) have mentioned, I’ve come a long way. The story, since its original telling isn’t online anymore: four years ago I broke up with my then-boyfriend of seven years. Four years before that, when my boyfriend and I arrived in Nice and found our apartment, he put the apartment rental agreement in his name only, explaining that it kept me safe from legal pursuit if anything happened. But when I broke up, he found a new place and I had no recourse on keeping the old one. As a foreigner with noone to act as guarantor, unmarried (single woman…), and a freelancer (i.e. no permanent job contract), landlords wouldn’t even consider renting to me. My ex also took all of the furniture, since without an apartment, I “wouldn’t need it.”

A few months later, I offered to take care of our cat, Malo, at my ex’s place for Christmas — I was living in a self-catering “apartment”, meublé in French, that didn’t allow animals. On Christmas Eve, I arrived at an apartment with no cat… no cat food dish… no litterbox… and no explanation. A few days later I learned that my ex had given away Malo as a Christmas present. (This parenthesis is where I gloss over my fury.)

A year after the breakup, I was still living in the meublé, whose owner was dropping unmistakable hints about renting my apartment to someone else for the summer. She started having prospective renters visit, since I had a lower rate than she could get from tourists in high season. One day in March, so depressed that I’d written about it on my blog, out of the blue I got an email from my current landlords, who read this site and so knew what was happening. They had an apartment that would be freed up soon — I visited and could hardly believe my eyes. It had a gas stove (I love cooking with natural gas), beautiful light, was furnished, and they hoped Malo would be able to enjoy it some day.

As if that weren’t miracle enough, a couple days after moving in, the “gift recipient” of Malo decided that cat fur was not something she wanted to deal with. That same day, Malo was back — and so was my bookcase, amazingly enough. Another big “thank you” to Landlord T and Landlord S, as well as family members who helped — without their generosity, I honestly have no idea how I would have managed.

Life has fallen back into place since then, accumulating my own furniture gradually, having a permanent job contract, and soon, my own home. I’m happy to say that living out of my hiking backpack in a dark, cockroach-infested hotel without my cat is now only a rough memory that I can look back on and sigh with relief. And I am so, so happy to have been able to stay in Nice. It has its quirks, to be sure, but I’ve come to love it. I never imagined while growing up in the countryside near Springfield, Oregon, that one day I’d own a place on the French Riviera.

3 responses to “Apartment stories”

  1. Nathanael Says:

    Up here in Paris, how I dream of a terrace! Or even just a tiny balcony. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’ve got 45 square meters in the 5th arr., with the living room actually getting sun sometimes. It’s my gilded cage. I got a good rental deal here seven years ago (670 euros a month), that I could never hope to replicate again. If they were to sell my apartment, it would probably cost about 400,000 euros. So seeing 120K with a spacious patio just makes me salivate.

  2. fraise Says:

    Wow, 670 a month for 45 sq.m is indeed a good deal! It would be a good deal here too for that surface area, though the Riviera is a touch less expensive than Paris. However, you’d have to have a really good location to get 400K out of selling a place that size without a balcony here — usually they go for around 140-150K.

    I still can hardly believe the deal I got too. Am very much looking forward to moving in!!

  3. cara Says:

    i just wanted to send my congrats from one Oregonian to another. i think it’s fabulous that you will have your own place that sounds like it will suit you and Malo! wish we could find something down here…darn Italians moving in and raising property prices…

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