We found our way to our Parisian flat – home for the next few days. It was our first experience renting someone’s apartment off of a website (HomeAway.com), so we were a little nervous.
The flat was was in the Latin Quarter, surrounded by small restaurants, bistros, chocolatiers, and pastry shops. Across the street was the oldest church in Paris. Entering the flat it looked a little sketchy, complete with dark halls, a jail-like gate, and winding staircases.
Kinda: Haha! Kristian’s face when she got to the front door was priceless. It was in a dark hallway, and she was trying to stay upbeat. She kept smiling at the girls and saying things like, “Oh this will be fun! How cozy! It will be beautiful!” But her eyes had a slight look of terror.
Thankfully, when we opened the door, we stepped into a beautifully-decorated Parisian flat complete with crystal chandeliers, an architectural stone wall, pretty French linens, and a small kitchen stocked with coffee and teas. We breathed a sigh. It really was a great space. Plus, the stone walls were solid and built sometime around 800AD, so none of the street noise reached us.
But the thing about authentic Parisian buildings is that they’re old. Really old. And so is their electrical wiring.
That evening Ashley decided to put her six-outlet American power strip into the European outlet, and sparks flew. She jumped back in horror as it exploded. All of the electricity in the apartment went out.
Kinda: I hadn’t read the rental agreement, and I kept thinking of how much I had in savings if we destroyed an entire Parisian apartment. I thought I remembered Kristian saying the apartment had cost the owner one million. I, on the other hand, had a granola bar.
We grabbed our flashlights (See: Packing list of unexpected items that you will need) and started looking for the breaker box. We found it and threw the breakers.
Then we found a really old metal lever on the wall – with writing in French, of course. It looked as if it was straight out of a Frankenstein movie. We had no idea what it was for, but it said something about electricity on the side. If it was a fire alarm, we would have another problem to deal with (but also possibly French firefighters).
Kristian: Kinda pulled the lever, and I encouraged her from the sidelines “promising” she wouldn’t get electrocuted.
Kinda: Encouraged? Encouraged?! This has happened before, you know. Where something dangerous is happening and Kristian “encourages” me. You can hear her on the video, “Go ahead Kinda, it won’t electrocute you.”
We pulled the lever. Things popped loudly. There was a flash of light. Our breath caught. The electricity came back on.
We were saved.
Travel Costs: Apartment Rental $50(USD) per person, per day.
See the story from the beginning! Part 1: Arriving in Paris, Losing People on Trains.