Sunday, May 25, 2003
It was great that we just went there without any plan. Various kinds of musical instruments & on different themes were played by young student musicians. A nice place for free concert and music if you are around Paris. We spent quite a long time. But, we could not attend the final grand Jazz program, as it was already around 9 PM.
Sunday, May 18, 2003
Jaya(my cousin sister) and her hubby Purbayan visited us along with Satyajit on very rainy Sunday. They came to Paris for their own private concert. They were on a tour to Europe and playing Indian classical music. Purbayan(sitar) and Satyajit (tabla) are very talented in their own field.It was our great pleasure to have them as guest. Due to rain we reached the concert bit late but it was a great performance. An evening, which I will remember for a long time.A very bad week with Metro strike ended in delight.You can find lots of web sites...
Friday, May 16, 2003
It started on Tuesday the 13th. My manager gave me a lift to work. On the way back I walked, it was long but nice walk through Bois de BoulogneWednesday, the strike was supposed to end; but it continued in a French way. So, I have to work hard to fix my bike and went by bike to work. In that process I got an ache on to my shoulder, which did not allow me to sleep for a whole week. And the strike continued till Friday. On Wednesday, Murly after realizing that there is no public transport, he walked 2 hours to reach work. On the way back some one showed him a shorter route.Thursday, Pamela after missing two classes decided to go to her French school and walked across Paris, which took her one and half-hour to reach only. Returning was not a fun for her either.On Friday things started getting better and on Saturday it ended for now.
Saturday, May 10, 2003
On the 9th of April we were supposed to collect our new Titre De Sejour (Long term VISA) from Cite Prefecture de Police. The interview was fixed almost 3 months ago and we reached there before our scheduled time to be make sure this time there is no big problem. But our turn came around 4o'clock which is almost one hour behind our scheduled time. And after checking all our paper she says oh! You need to pay 55 Euros now as you got a new passport. Then the trouble started - so I went to another counter to buy Notary Stamp for the same amount. But they only take cash which I did not had enough at that moment. So after asking them where is the nearest ATM I went out and on returning with cash....?The main entrance was closed so I tried to persuade a lady police to let me in as my wife, my passport every thing is inside and I am stuck in this "no man land". She didn't understand anything or doesn't wants to understand at all. But with repetitive appeal she understood or got bored with me to let me in. But to my surprise ? GOD!!! that counter got closed to give any Notary Stamp. So, trying to behave properly and without loosing any temper I asked that lady on the counter to get me some thing in written officially so that I do not become an refugee in France for next few days till I get my new visa. It again took some time and repeating the same problem she wrote it on paper that I need to come back on Tuesday morning after the long weekend of Easter. And best part was Pamela got her work done without any problem.The problem is French people cann't think other than French way and I sometime think they even don't know there are other way(s) to the same which might be better than their way. Just to say - to cancel your cell phone contract it takes two months after you send registered letter with acknowledgement but, taking a new connection it only takes an hour.Thankfully, no one asked for my passport during these past 3 days and I again had to wait for 2 hours in the same place for getting 9 month of Extension to stay in France.
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
Here is a set of stuff about flat hunting, contributed from many sources. One note. Most of this is for finding a flat on your own.Don't go near
Hestia.fr (many a tale of woe has originated from here) Get your 'dossier' together straight away. Needs photocopy of Present employment contract Last 3 pay slips Last 3 rent receipts (or in my case my 1 year mortgage statement from the UK) Last 3 utility bills (I put in my quarterly bills for water, Electricity and gas) Birth certificate (Not a must) Passport RIB (i.e. bank details) Last years Tax statementIt's like a competition; the person with the fullest dossier gets the flat.Sort out your guarantor. Due to French tenant law, it is not legal for a landlord to kick you out during the 3 main months of winter. Thus you can stop paying and they can do nothing ?till spring. In Paris landlords protect themselves by demanding a guarantor who will pay your rent if you default. To be eligible the guarantor must be on the French social security system. For most this is a parent.Foreigners can look to French friends, but beware, there is a big stigma to this. Since it is generally your parents that do this, asking someone else suggests that your parents are poor. Generally people will be shocked to be asked.Another alternative is 1% lodgment. 1% lodgment is really looked down on. Makes you seem poor. Poor people do not get flats in Paris.Last option is get your company as guarantor. Personally I?d push this. If you are family members in France talk to them.Apartment sites www.acheter-louer.fr www.explorimmo.com/static/figaro/ (Monday paper) Check regularly through the day www.locat.fr www.proapart.com fr.123immo.com www.alouer.com www.pap.fr Des Particuliers a Particuliers (Thursday paper get it by 7:30am) www.immostreet.com www.immostreetpro.com/etude_saint_lambert/hab_spe.php uk.seloger.comcheck regularly through the day (_en is English) fr.classifieds.yahoo.com/fr/rn(tends to be a bit far behind, pretty much everything is gone by the time it appears) The American Church (Quai d'Alma, go in person to notice board)Sites if you want to share. Not very common in France: - www.coloc.fr; www.colocation.fr; www.bonjour.fr;www.fusac.fr they sometime say they are looking for English speaking flat mates on colocation.fr. Fusac has both short term contracts and share ads. Best to get the Magasine, has more in it than the website.Finding where it is - Maps www.maporama.com www.ismap.com www.mappy.fr www.france.com (metro/RER/SNCF maps etc)Understanding the classifieds www.paris-anglo.com/housing/guide/housing_word.htmlMight be worth checking the Fusac site. Fusac is a free magazine mostly for the ex-pat community. Great for buying second hand furniture etc, but apartments will be expensive, because most will be short-term. www.fusac.frFurniture, etc.: - www.ikea.fr (the classic) www.habitat.fr www.conforama.fr www.mezzaline.com (seems to be pretty kiddy orientated, but there is furniture)White goods: - www.darty.fr www.conforama.frOther things to note: You pay the insurance on the Flat. The difference between furnished and unfurnished is pretty big. In general it is more than 250 euros per month for a 1000 euro flat. The notice period is 3 months, for an unfurnished flat. 1 month for furnished (I think). The deposit is between 2 and 3 months You pay the agency fees, all of them. These vary. Can be up to 12% of 1 years rent. For unfurnished the standard contract period is 3 years. For furnished the standard contract period is 1 year. You can escape your contract without penalty if you leave the country. You must have a bank account. Can be awkward, as you need an address before you can have a bank account. If your French is poor, try running these through Babel fishbabelfish Specify the address in the web site box.Drinking and eating: - www.parispubs.com www.theauldalliance.com www.mooseheadparis.comArrondisementsGet used to the Arrondisement (district) numbers. It?s like a snail; the 1st is the very centre of Paris.And it winds out in a spiral to the 20th.Good areas are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 15th. Though of course not the whole of them, they have their bad and their good parts.However, the 16th and 17th are only good if you happen to like little old ladies wearing fur and dragging ratty little dogs around (you know, the types with tartan jackets and yap lots, constitute a light bite for a proper dog).The best areas that you are likely to be able to afford are 3rd, 5th, 6th and 11th. Families might prefer the 15th The 5/6th is the Latin quarter. It is probably the liveliest part of town, it doesn't have a bad part.Lastly: Think about buying. The loan rates are pretty reasonable. The housing costs are much cheaper on the purchase side than on the renting side. You can get English speaking notaries to make life easier for you? Down side. Even after you find a place, it will be 3 months minimum before all the paperwork is sorted out.