Flat Hunt

photo: 'club here today'

Silly pranksters have been at work here.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 12. June 1999:- Just because there are no reports of stupendous events at the Café Metropole Club, it does not mean there is no activity at all.

It is like the work of ants. Each little soldier does his or her piece, brick by brick. One problem is that there is only one ant here. So the 'bricks' are not exactly like whole bricks, but every week a bit more almost gets done.

While a café has been tentatively chosen for the weekly meetings on Thursday afternoons, other cafés are under consideration. Some of them are shown on this page (not including the one above).

This selection of candidates are all in east Paris, far from the maddening traffic of the Seine's quays. In fact they are far from anything maddening, but they are not far from convenient métro stations.

If one of these were chosen and you paid a visit to it, after returning home you would probably be able to tell friendsphoto: express bar and relatives you had seen a part of Paris not normally seen on any tour. This does not automatically mean you will have been in the exotic 'back of the beyond,' but merely in a part of Paris where Parisians live. A few hours of it can not hurt at all.

But with the downtown café already more or less selected, part two of the business is finding new editorial offices. This is how I happened to find these cafés - by looking for an apartment to rent.

One big problem with doing this is getting a focus on an area, or a 'village.' Paris is generally said to have 100 of these and choosing one is no easy matter. There are socially extreme areas, but the bulk of residential Paris is socially 'average.'

Another factor to consider, is urban pollution. Big streets, wide boulevards may be nice to look at, but you don't want to live on one because of noise and dirt. There are certain major intersections to avoid too - with their constant traffic and the underground rumble of the métro trains.

After putting a slash through any area that is negative for one reason or another, there are about 49 'villages' left to consider. All of them have their many fine points. Making a choice is difficult.

Rents in Paris went up an average of 3.2 percentphoto: l'ideal bar in 1998. This is lower than in the nearby suburbs where the increase was around 9.4 percent, but the Paris' base rent is higher to start with.

The reference year is 1994, and rents are still 1.3 percent below this reference today, but rising. The average price per square metre per month is supposed to be 85 francs, not including heat and water. For both to be included - which is common - calculate an extra five to 25 francs per metre - to arrive at a real average of 110 francs.

The market is supposed to be fluid, but there is not much on offer to rent and what there is goes fast. There is some sort of promotion on now to sell apartments; or to buy them for monthly payments which are about the same amount as rent charges. It would make sense to go into one of these, but they require commitments of 15 to 20 years.

Agency after agency has apartments 'for sale' in their display windows - all from half a million to several million francs. When I go in to ask if there are apartments for rent; if there were signs in the window, they are taken down. "Already gone."

Still, the weather is not bad; not cold, not always sunny but not raining either. Seeing new streets in Paris is a source of visual curiosities and in this late spring, the plane trees have all their leaves out, dappling the sidewalks with shade.

There was a lot of sun yesterday at métro Avron, which is at a relatively large and unshaded crossroads between the 11th and 20th arrondissements. The Rue d'Avron disappears in a straight easterly line towards the Porte de Montreuil and the rest of the Boulevard de Charonne dips down to the Place de la Nation.

The other way, up Charonne towards Père Lachaise, the boulevard is lined with many treesphoto: brasserie l'etoile d'or and much shade, and it has a big central divider, effectively making the wide road into two one-way streets.

There is nothing special about any of this corner, but I feel it is somehow different. A complete swivel brings my eyes to a agency by itself. All I see in the window are 'for sale' signs but I go in anyway.

While waiting to speak to the person responsible for apartments for rent, I see the signs in the window facing outside also face inside and one of them says, 'Boulevard de Charonne, 45 metres carrée, 3990 francs, charges compris.' I make a date to have a look at it next week.

Readers' Reactions to the Café Metropole Club:

Instead of writing about the 'Club' not operating yet, some readers are coming to Paris anyway. If possible, arrangements are being made for informal sessions - all 'official' sessions will also be informal too - 'no suits, no ties! - and if I can get the apartment search over with and wrapped up, then 'Club' dates will be easier to make. Watch this space for the 'official' Café Metropole Club announcement of regular weekly sessions.
signature, regards, ric

In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini