When I received my first e-mail about a home exchange in Paris,I had no idea what an arrondissement was; let alone how to pronounce it.
The e-mail was from a French family of five. The wife, Julie, wrote, “We have decided to exchange our home in the 5th arrondissement because we like to travel and we think that this way of visiting a country is a good one.”
I phoned a well-traveled girlfriend for a definition of arrondissement and asked if a 5th of it was a good thing. She told me it was a very good thing.
Oh, how I wish I had first seen this blog post from French Entrée; I would have felt much more informed:
Ellie Cobbe explains on her website, “Paris is divided into 20 administrative districts, or arrondissements, each with very distinctive atmospheres and attractions. Arranged in a spiral shape which
begins in Paris’ historical centre and works outwards to the more modern areas of the city, we hope to draw out the best that each of these mini communities has to offer.”
The French Entrée website includes a Paris business directory, a list of concerts and shows, and details about cookery schools. All great information if you book a home exchange in the City of Light.
French Home Exchange
One of the top home swap websites is: www.homelink.org. Their site lists 1,799 home exchange members who have a home in France; 587 of them own homes in or around Paris. These members are looking for exchanges in a wide variety of countries including: the U.S., Ireland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Germany, Sweden. You name it, the members want to visit it.
My family did, in fact, home exchange with Julie and her family in the 5th arrondissement.The first week we were there we took a walking tour of our neighborhood, also known as the Latin Quarter. I was thrilled to learn from the tour guide that our 3-bedroom home exchange flat was only three doors down from where Ernest Hemingway lived when he wrote “The
Sun Also Rises.”
Oh, and get this, James Joyce lived about half a block away from our home exchange when he wrote “Ulysses.”
I felt honored to live, even if only for a few weeks, in the neighborhood of greatness. And I was reminded of, once again, why home exchange is a very good thing.
Where do you want to home exchange?