While she grew up in Portland, Ore., and he's Swiss, Sandra Menashe and her husband, Marc Pavillard, have a love of all things French. So they have decided to fulfill a lifelong dream and pack up and move to Paris. Instead of renting for a while to see how they like it, they are ready to buy. Plenty of challenges await them, though. Because agents only represent sellers, it's hard for buyers to get the lay of the land in Paris. In addition, qualifying for a bank loan is a quirky and very personal process in which buyers must prove they are healthy and will live long enough to pay off their balances. Parisian apartments have their own set of idiosyncrasies, too--the kitchens and bathrooms are very small, and closet space is nearly always limited.