A true odyssey. Nell had found this apartment on the internet, called, and been told she needed to visit it to rent it. I called during the week and made an appointment for Friday afternoon at seize heures trente. We (Karl Rubin and I) left Limoges at midday. We stopped at Bures on the way up, because I thought I might be able to pick up a checkbook, or at least a check. Not so, but I established contact with the bank, and got a business card with a personal phone line for Nadine Fortat, the boss banker. We took the N118 into Paris and made the appointment with 20 minutes to spare (despite my unnerving swerve across 4 lanes of traffic to get onto the Seine expressway).
From the door on the street you could see the Eiffel tower. At 4:30 a father and daughter showed up, also interested in the apartment, and I thought we had lost it. A pity, since it was a lovely apartment on the second floor facing an interior courtyard. But as we were leaving the agent said that we had a good chance, because we had agreed to guarantee with a caution bancaire (escrow account). Karl and I drove to the hotel, with a few excursions the wrong way down bus lanes, and an encounter with a policeman who objected to my illegal U-turn.
As we were about to turn the car in, I got a call on my cell-phone from the agent. We had the apartment! As long as we could get a deposit of 700 euros to them in the next 25 minutes. So, back across Paris, Karl navigating, miraculously arriving with 10 minutes to spare. I rushed out to a bank machine, extracted 200 euros, then returned to start negotiating. Soon the head man came out. The business card for the BNP in Bures proved invaluable, since the essential Nadine Fortat was still in. To cut a long story short, we got the apartment, despite many opportunities to fail.