Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another Move

Bye bye to our old place in Brussels...

We are officially moved out.  I miss our old place and the space it afforded us (almost too much space--imagine!), as well as the St. Gilles neighborhood and its authentic character.

Speaking of authentic character, here's some St. Gilles for you!  We noticed this on one of our last metro rides in Brussels.  Note the dark grease spots at head-level above the chairs.  This is what years of public heads on a white tile wall becomes.


But on to Paris!

Our place here is big.  Giant really, for people of our (lowly) status!  64 m2!  Even the movers remarked on how big it is.  It was newly refurbished, so we don't have to deal with rotting cabinets or a crummy old potty.  But it sorta lacks character.  There are no wooden crossbeams or decorative moldings, but somehow that also seems to give it less of a creep factor (read:  ghost potential).  The other bummer is that the whole place (except for the bedroom) is tiled, which sorta makes it feel like you're living in a kitchen.  But it's nothing a nice area rug can't remedy.

Our place is just off the Republique metro/traffic circle/giant-lady-statue and a couple of blocks from the Canal St-Martin.  We are in love with our new neighborhood.  The Marais was beautiful and offered everything just outside our door.  But it came to feel touristy and too crowded on the weekends.  It felt less like my neighborhood and more like everyone else's.  Plus, it was all right there, shiny and bright and established.  The fun of where we live now is finding all of the good spots.  (More on that later.)  And it's definitely less touristy (though they do come for the canal), more real, and a smidge gritty.

But back to the apartment.  Here are some pics from the day we moved in:

See what I mean about the lack of character?  Oh well, it's clean and bright.

Taking an unfurnished apartment here usually means having to put in your own appliances.  I have already purchased a fridge and a washing machine.  An oven/stove is next on my list.  Until then, we eat out... not bad.

 The living room.

 Looking down the hallway with the bedroom on the right.

They used one of those cherry-picking machines to bring our stuff up to the 3eme etage (which is the 4th floor for those Stateside).  It's pretty nervewracking to see your belongings up on a lift like this, especially when they must go through the branches of a tree each time.  (Our place was full of leaves and branches afterward.)  But it all worked out and nothing but a cuckoo clock pendulum fell off, our gift to the neighbors downstairs via their balcony.

A lesson was learned, however:  Never go with the moving company who offers the cheapest bid.  So far, only one thing has turned up broken (a serving plate), but we've had a lot of "Are you KIDDING me?" moments while unpacking.  Like, glass perfume bottles being thrown together without being wrapped, while tubes of plastic chapstick were lovingly contained in paper.  WHAT?  They were a buncha dum-dums, for sure.

Though they did leave me with this incredibly labelled box...

Handbags, Parfum, Jewels

Jewels?!?  How did Zsa Zsa Gabor's boxes get mixed up with mine?  I never would have pegged her to take the lowest bidder!

One more thing.
Look who came out to say goodbye when I was leaving my old apartment.