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46 Rue Ducau | by The Searcher
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46 Rue Ducau

Back in 2011, part of 2012, I lived in Bordeaux.There is a remarkable amount of help for people moving to France, especially for jobs, to get them settled (yay socialism!) I was basically assigned a personal helper person, who guided me through all of the steps needed to secure an apartment. But while she was extraordinarily helpful, she was also fond of hazing foreigners. Her service worked with several real estate agencies, and these agencies always had hellholes to unload. Lots of tag-teaming between her and the agent too; “what a rare find”, “really difficult to rent to foreigners”, etc. And when you’re living in a hotel for over a month, it can be difficult to call what you hope is a bluff.


The first place was essentially a rat-infested basement (“What? No those aren’t rat droppings, that’s just dirt. With… paw prints...”) including a 9x9 “patio” with four story walls as the only light source. Tiniest prison exercise yard ever. Oh and the bedroom and bathroom were on the 2nd floor. Up a ladder.


The second place was 40 minutes out in the suburbs, a generic apartment building that could have dropped straight out of Mesa Arizona. The third and fourth places I didn’t even look at, they were so far away I suspect they were in Spain.


After turning those down, I guess I survived the hazing. The fifth place, the final place, was sublime. Five minute walk from the river (and work), the Jardin Public a block away, it was everything I imagined an apartment in Bordeaux to be. 450 years old, ancient wood floors, two foot thick stone walls, Cobbled streets, cathedral across the street, neighbors fighting and throwing clothes out the windows weekly.


That’s where I lived. I miss it.


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Taken on September 25, 2013