Saturday was moving day. One big advantage of Airbnb over brokered rentals is that cleaning is almost always factored into the total price. Back when I rented apartments through brokers there was always a possibility that the owner would hold back some or all of the deposit because the apartment wasn’t cleaned to his/her liking. I’ve heard horror stories from other renters about substantial deductions due to trivial points such as water spots on glass panels of the shower stall. As a result, in prior years I would take the better part of a day to render the apartment spotless. In the Airbnb regieme I just tidy up, sweep the floor if it’s obviously dirty, and take out the trash.
I had really enjoyed the Uber trip from my first apartment this year to my second. The car was a top end limousine and the driver was friendly. So I got his card and arranged for him to pick me up at 10 am on Saturday morning for the move to the 5ème. In retrospect this was dumb, because I knew he lived quite far from Paris. Who wants to have to get out of the house by 9 am on a Saturday morning for a 20 euro fare? As it turned out, he cancelled by email at the last minute, but I didn’t see the message until later, since (as the attentive reader will recall) my cell phone had been stolen. This resulted in the only significant issue I’ve had due to the lack of a cell phone, though not that big of a deal.
Another SNAFU was that the host at my third Airbnb had initially asked me to arrive at 11 am, but texted at the last minute that the room wouldn’t be ready until 1 pm (which happily turned out to be noon). That text I saw before leaving home, but decided to proceed anyway and just chill in the ‘hood while the room was being prepared.
The very helpful and caring host of my second Airbnb, Yann, helped me downstairs with my luggage and walked me to the Uber rendezvous. Since he knew I had no cell phone he said he would check again in 15 minutes to make sure I had been picked up. I was still standing there when he checked so he suggested that I hail a taxi instead, then walked me up to the nearest cab stand. This is above and beyond the call of duty! But in fact, I would have eventually hailed a taxi myself, so the situation wasn’t a real crisis. The taxi fare was ess than 10 euros, so I saved money as well as learning a good lesson.
The very helpful and caring host of my 3rd Airbnb, Alexander, biked up just as I arrived, helped me upstairs with my suitcase, and apologized profusely for the delay. I quickly found a neighborhood place to have a beer and wait out the final cleaning. The local patrons were surprisingly friendly — which I really never found on rue Montorgueil. One of the regulars told me his life story, in French (with English backup), and introduced me to some of the other regulars. Time passed quickly, and soon enough Alexander was showing me around his beautifully-renovated apartment.
From pictures the neighborhood had looked like a typical Haussmann area, but I’m coming to feel that Les Gobelins is a quite special “village” within the city, lacking the mobs of French and other tourists that invade the Village Montorgueil every afternoon and evening. One of its signature features is big stuffed teddy bears (nounours) in almost every shop window:
While the neighborhood is in general quite safe, even here one feels the impact of the troubled times. On the Saturday morning of my arrival some gilets jaunes had gotten into the building’s courtyard and thrown a pile of newspapers in front of the offices of a printer’s union.
My host had given me the code to open the outer door, but had told me that it was only required in the evenings. Since this attack, however, the code is required 24/7. Just a straw in the wind…