Understand the “étage” when booking your Paris apartment.
In today’s post, I share a few tips to help you choose the ideal flat for your stay in France.
1 – The word “étage” means floor. Here’s an example – The third floor of a building is written in two formats: The full expression (third) “troisième étage” or the short-hand (3rd) “3ème étage.”
2 – We use “ground floor” and “first floor” interchangeably in the United States. This is different in France. The ground floor is called “rez de chaussée” or RDC for short. For security and noise reasons, I do not suggest that you book an RDC apartment.
3 – After the RDC, or ground floor, the floors are numbered. What we would call the second floor in the States is called the first floor, or “premier étage” in France, and so on.
2nd floor, France = 3rd floor in the United States
3rd floor, France = 4th floor, etc.
4 – “Sans ascenseur” means no elevator in the building. Therefore, you must understand what level you are on and consider this if there are mobility issues or heavy luggage. There are no building codes for ancient stairwells here! Expect narrow, uneven, and steep staircases. Example: Using the formula above, if you book a flat on the sixth floor, you’ll climb SEVEN flights of stairs daily!
5 – If you have mobility issues, please consider booking a lower-level apartment or TRIPLE check that the elevator is reliable. Some buildings are known for having elevators that break down regularly.
6 – Looking for that fantastic Eiffel tower view? You might be considering a chambre de bonne, the old maid’s chambers of the building. These are inexpensive as they’re poorly insulated and tucked under the eaves of the building. You’ll find them cold in the winter, very hot in the summer, and often with unusually steep stair access.
Want more tips like this? Have questions for me? Send me a DM and I might feature yours next!
Bisous and bon voyage,
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