My best friend Margaret, who worked at the same place I did was also a victim of lay-off. About a year ago when we knew lay-offs were imminent she told me she was thinking of going to France for to learn French. The lightbulb went off over my head. We talked and decided it would be a fun adventure for the two of us. In a month she and I will be flying to Paris to spend 5 glorious weeks.
Although she will be taking French courses part time I will spend my time as a woman of leisure. She is registered for classes three mornings a week, so we'll still have plenty of time together. We are not staying at the same place. She was able to get student housing and I have rented an apartment.
The apartment hunt hasn't been a lot of fun. September is still considered high season and I had a list of criteria the length of my arm. I spent many many hours researching online. There are a ton of agency and non-agency websites where you can peruse one apartment after another. I finally nailed down a place through http://www.parisattitude.com/. They've been great to deal with. The only downer is the added fees. There is an agency fee, a cleaning fee, insurance (mandatory in France), and cost of utilities is also extra. My suggestion to anyone looking for an apartment would be to start early!
View Larger Map
The area looks promising. It's in the 4th Arrondissement. There are a lot of cafe/restaurants nearby, not to mention shopping. The apartment itself is small, but that's standard there. It's a studio alcove, so it has a living room area and a bedroom area which was important to me. I didn't want to have to make up a pull-out couch every day for 5 weeks. It also has a large terrace with a table and chairs so I can step outside to drink my tea in the morning.