Today we saw an amazing apartment in Bidart. It was on the cliff just above the centre plage, with a view of the mountains from one bedroom and a view of the beach and the ocean from the other. Just down the hill from the apartment is a little park and just up the hill is the center of town...quite unbelievable really. We applied for it but we have competition: fully qualified French folks with French jobs and histories, of which we have neither. We were asked for a "caution bancaire" which is a bank guarantee stating they will pay our rent for us if we don't pay it, a sort of an insurance for the landlord, required of non-residents. We tried, but we can't get a French bank guarantee without a French job and we can't get a French job for 1 more month. Although it was a little small, from now on all future apartments will be judged against this one.
Update: The rental agency just called. Since the caution bancaire didn't work out, if we can set aside a year's worth of rent in an account for three years, we can have the apartment. Uhhh...no.