In case you have the idea that David has some sort of paper fetish, I want to make it clear, it's not him, it's France.
We had to hall around a huge file of original copies of our taxes, paychecks, passports, current rental agreements blah blah blah JUST to look at an apartment.....and they all ask for different stuff for the paperwork you fill out just to say you are interested in the apartment.
This country is just obnoxious with paperwork. When I got x-rays of my knee they gave me the original and only copies to take home. And keep for the rest of my life because somewhere down the line if I don't have that x-ray I will die. In fact, we might need it next time we are looking for an apartment.
We went to the rental agency to sign sign sign and initial initial in triplicate today. The good news is our rental is for three years and if the government decides that rental prices are down, our rent will go DOWN. They can't just decide to change our rent. It's regulated. Our rent went up since we lived here, but only the small amount the government said was ok. And once you are in a place they can't get rid of you. We could stop paying rent for a year before the cops showed up to kick us out. And the cops really will show up to kick you out.
ps being envious of living in Paris is really dumb. We were searching for south facing apartments on a high floor with no elevator so we could afford to feel sunlight on our faces. We didn't find one because south facing apartments are so in demand we would have had to go to a black market or a shady back alley and do something illegal to get one. I don't know why people are obsessed with this city.... the weather is so horrible