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What most people don’t realize is that getting a place to live in another country, especially FRANCE – is e x t r e m e l y difficult, tiring, full of angst, lots of sound pollution (phones ringing constantly while you sit patiently in the AGENCY)- motorcycles revving their engines outside the door – lots of fast french talking, lots of FRENCH period. After you have completed (what you think is) ALL of the paperwork, which you began back in your PARIS APARTMENT, think again. It’s not that easy. You must now, – while you are in the agency, trying to obtain the apartment you need – wait for the Electrical Analysis Inspector, who must check the electric outlets, gas, water & you must meet him. “Then YOU,” she says, (meaning David, my husband) “must HAND WRITE a COPY of the contract as GuaranTOR, (ALL in FRENCH) “– since my husband has to be a guaranTOR for me (moi) Marti Graham, the STUDENT. (We got a good rate for a STUDENT APARTMENT. It has to appear that I have no income, which is easy, because I don’t have any. Not a problem.
Anyway, this must be completed in person – in FRONT of the AGENCY CLERK.
you might
get the keys to the apartment……………

Before all of this – here was the progression:

Step 1) Find a place to live NEAR your job
Step 2) The job is in Marseille – do you really want to live in Marseille or do you want to live away from Marseille?

Step 3 ) FIrst check out Marseille – which we do by making two separate trips from Paris,  one on the TGV (expensive, if you don’t have a SENIOR carte ) or AirFrance (Zed fare from Paris – this is a “non-rev thing” as I’m retired from the airlines. ) The first was a ZED fare on AirFrance, where we went from airport to bus to main Marseille station to another bus, another metro, to get to our Hotel/Apartment – all with a fare amount of luggage and my bad knees.
This is to check things out. This is not only expensive, but extremely time consuming and frustrating to say the least because when you arrive, no one has the keys to the apts we had planned to see because it’s AUGUST/ VACANCE time – and apartment owners are no where to be found.
The few apps you do see in the city of your work – (Marseille) are found only by taking buses and metro’s in a totally unknown city – where you are just getting your bearings, and learning very quickly how to navigate to the addresses that are on the torn and ripped pieces of paper in your hand. When you arrive to these places, you must listen to the GuarDIAN – a diatribe of what you need to supply to them to satisfy that you are a good risk. THEN you see the apartment. If they had just showed us the apartment FIRST before going into the hour diatribe of what was needed, we could have saved them a LOT of talking time. They were incredibly  – UGLY – I mean UGLY in the nicest sense of the word. UGLY – didn’t even do it justice. The other apartment, well, though a quiet area near the Stade, (until there was a game, ofcourse, ) – had gardens about it, but the inside was a virtual prison, and we nixed that immediately as well.

We go back to Paris – without a clue of where we might live.

Stay tuned for  Step 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and so on – WHEN and IF I get WiFi – which I only have now

because I’m sitting at a MacDonald’s somewhere on the outskirts of Marseille………………

This is Gracie’s handmade card that I keep with me!!!!   🙂

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. No wonder I slept well after all that!

    September 7, 2012
  2. Good thing you have courage and determination!

    September 7, 2012
  3. Linda Wheatley #

    The only place I’ve been in Marseille is…a McDonald’s on the outskirts. Love hearing your stories.

    September 10, 2012

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