The Art of Living {in 10m2}

I’ve found myself talking about the differences between France and America a lot lately. I know I’ve mentioned my apartment on several occasions. And for some reason, when I tell people that my apartment is 10m2 (aka, 110sf, or about the size of a shoebox), people think I’m joking/sarcastic. While I do love sarcasm, I thought perhaps a diagram may help remedy the situation.

[Technically my apartment is a “chambre de bonne” or former maid’s quarters on the top floor of a nice apartment building off the Champs de Mars. not pictured: the 6 flights of stairs up to the apartment, the toilette down the hall (hey, it gives me more space!!), and the giant suitcase hidden under a pretty table cloth next to my shower/sink (the reality is that no French apartment has space to hide big luggage)].

When I say there’s enough room for a yoga mat on my floor between my bed and my desk, I mean it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining (I’m just not going to do the math to convert how much I’m paying for 10m2 in dollars!). Really, it’s become a wonderful exercise in minimalism and empowering me in downsizing my life. Before I buy anything, I ask myself 2 questions: 1) is there actually room for it in my apartment? and 2) do I want to carry it up 6 flights of stairs? You save a lot of money and energy with this! My minimalist wardrobe – of only black, brown, blue, gray, and my accent color of yellow (which I just noticed matches my door and stairway!) – has proven to be more than I need, and I still haven’t gotten bored by my clothes or reinventing outfits. In the US, my wardrobe was at least 3 times the size as it is here, but less is more is a good tip I’ve learned from the French. While I’m not a messy person, I’m more of “pile” than “organized” person. Let me tell you, 10m2 helps teach you some lessons in that too. Or if I ever lose track of time, all I need to do is look out my window to see the top of the Eiffel Tower twinkling, and know another hour has passed.

But don’t worry, I’m still lazy sometimes – despite my desk being an arms reach away, I still will check my email from my iPhone in my bed. It’s funny, my standard for “big” has completely changed. I’ll walk into a Paris apartment, and say “wow, this is great, and big” and it’s the size of my parent’s dining and living room combined. But I think it’s safe to say that anyone who lives in Paris sees this as charming rather than tiny. It adds a little spice to life and forces you to be a little extra creative at the end of the day. Welcome to la vie Parisienne!

Although, I must admit I even find myself relating to the advertisements in the metro for Fondation Abbe Pierre that often shows incredibly small spaces that people/families call home. I have a new appreciation for living, to say the least.

P.S. Sorry no pictures inside! The “big” apartment reveal will happen next winter when my apartment will be “featured” [in the editor’s section] of Grace’s new Design*Sponge book! I will definitely win the prize for smallest apartment!

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