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L'enfer c'est l'immobilier (Hell Is Real Estate)

By Tory Hoen

Remember in my last blog when I talked about the wonders of Parisian real estate? I take it all back. In terms of real estate, this week has been one of soaring highs and devastating lows. Most recently, lows.

But let's start with the highs. This past weekend, I spent a paradisical 48 hours at the chateau of a baron that I happen to know. Two barons, actually.

We went for walks, picked blackberries, played croquet, drank 25-year-old wine, built fires, played dress-up, cooked lobsters, hula-hooped, rode motorcycles, and admired D'Artagnan's signature (I jest not).

As we pulled away from the chateau on Sunday evening, doom was in the air. Not even our artful rendition of "There Must Be More Than This Provincial Life" could dispel my mounting certitude that something dark and dangerous awaited me in Paris.

And I was right. Back in my little studio, I was greeted by the familiar smell of hot, old cheese (I live above a fondue restaurant). A few moments later, I was also greeted by a very angry man pounding on my door. He looked more Armenian than Savoyard to me, but before I could remark on his swarthy appearance and accuse him of falsifying his heritage for the sake of his fondue enterprise, he accused ME of flooding his restaurant. And, as it turns out, I had! Or at least, my apartment had.

Apparently a pipe had broken—or had never worked in the first place. According to him "there was water everywhere," "his clients were leaving," "the old people were sliding and they were scared" (what?), and "I had cost him everything." Whoa, buddy.

I considered slamming the door and cowering in the corner but thought better of it. I was to the flood what he was to the gruyere fumes: undeniably culpable. And more importantly, he knew where I lived. There was nowhere to run.

So what to do? First, whiskey. Next, call for help.

And now, three days later, having been thoroughly educated in the rhetoric and subtleties of French plumbing, I am still not allowed to shower in my apartment. I am FILTHY, and part of me thinks I deserve this filth. Things had been going well… too well… suspiciously well.

Ah, life! One day, it invites you to a chateau; the next, it sprays you with dirty shower sludge.

In Paris, as anywhere else, pride goeth before a fall.

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