People living in Paris, like in probably every other major city in the world, fight for space. We live in small apartments, hardly conducive for anyone to live comfortably, because that’s all that’s available, not to mention all that we can afford.
I lived in a small city called La Roche-sur-Yon in the west of the country for two years. I had a decent-sized bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen, hot water, and a small backyard garden. The train station was just across the street from my front door, and my university was a mere 10-minute walk from my place. The price for all of that per month? 250€.
Then I moved to Paris after that. I lived in a teeny tiny apartment for three years, with pretty much the same amenities and WiFi, the metro was 10 minutes from my place, and work was either a 30-minute train ride or a 40-minute bus ride. The price for all that per month? An unbelievable 550€, and this was already cheap-ish!
Now, I live with a Filipino family that has sort of adopted me. I’m fortunate because I don’t pay rent, but I do chip in for groceries. It’s still not a big enough apartment for three people to live in, but we do manage. Besides, it’s not exactly small either.
I look around and I see my neighbours living in similar-sized apartments and they make the most out of every nook and cranny of their living space. They hang flower pots on their minuscule patios. Some of them have a sofa bed that serves a double purpose because having a sofa and a bed will otherwise eat up all the space. Some of them are families of 4 or 5, and each family lives in a studio because that’s all they can afford. It’s sad, really.
But hey, this is Paris after all, right? Somehow, I get the feeling that we all share the same sentiment: we’d rather live here than elsewhere, and we’d rather sell a kidney than leave Paris because this is home. This is where we want to live. Any other option is just unthinkable.