I came to that realization this afternoon. I am sitting in my new apartment, looking out my window to Hausmann buildings opposite me. I’ve decided I need a set of small teaspoons. Really. Small spoons to stir my cream in my hot tea. So not the regular teaspoons. Since Café Richard down the street – a major purveyor of plates, cups and cutlery to Paris cafes – did not have what I want, I cast my mind to other sources. Several came to mind, but I settled on BHV because I like that big department store. And then I figured out what bus to take and return.
And then I sat back in my chair and realized, I own Paris. I know this place. I know locations. I know where to shop. I know museums even the Parisians don’t know.
Yes. You are shaking your heads, dear readers, thinking. “It took you til now to know that?” OK, sometimes I am a slower learner. And in this case, probably not slow learning but my self-image as knowledgeable “resident” isn’t always clear. It’s like when you wear a special blue that brings out your eyes and you just think you’re going about your daily stuff, and you pass by a mirror and you stop and think, damn, I look good! Same thing. Damn, I know Paris.
And this visit has put me into two new quartiers- and I came to know them quickly.
Paris is divided up into districts called arrondisements. I lived next to the 17th when I lived in Neuilly. This year I started in the 5th. Now I am in the 7th. The seventh is chichi. Posh. And this street is active. Other places I was on side streets. Not here. Always people walking up and down – except after 9 and til 9 in the morning. It’s relatively quiet even though I am on the first floor and look onto the street. Of course, if it gets noisy, I can just turn down or take off my hearing aids. Nice trick!
Within less than a block I have a grocery store, a boulangerie, tons of restaurants and even tourist stores. Well, I am two blocks from the Eiffel Tower. And maybe three blocks from the famous Rue Cler. I have never been too impressed with rue Cler – but Rick Steves loves it. Overrated now, I think.
The quick trip back for business was great, but now I recall why, since 2007, my trips to Europe have been at least 4 weeks. Traveling through time zones gets harder in direct proportion to my age. Or maybe exponentially harder… Add to that a head cold – not a happy camper.
It’s been two weeks last Wednesday since the cold began. Today I do feel somewhat better, however, I cancelled everything with the plan to stay in and finally get well. Except. My heating pad – the first purchase I made in 2015 upon arriving in Paris – has finally given up. Well, it’s not dead yet. It works intermittently. But intermittent doesn’t work when you have a back ache. Especially when the back ache is also intermittent. But they are not on the same schedule. I just consider it as the Norwegian Blue of Monty Python fame. The pharmacy across the street had one. Now I have it. And an ice pack. Both of which were together twenty euros more than if I had bought the same on Amazon. However, Amazon wouldn’t have delivered until Tuesday. So for 20 euros, I have three days of use. 6 euros a day – worth the price I think. And decreased hassle. This place has a gardien so my packages can be delivered here. I have had packages delivered to Norm, my friend whose apartment this is, however, Norm went down to the gardien to pick them up. I don’t know if the gardien will recognize me as Norm. Shrug. Spent more, guaranteed delivery.
Clop Clop Clop. Huh? I just jumped up to look out the window – 6 of the Garde Republicaine (horses and riders with SWAT helmets on – on the riders not the horses) were trotting down the street. That was a first for me in Paris. Well. Anywhere, actually. And ok, they were not trotting, they were just walking. But trotting is so much more horsey.
Back to the regularly programmed blog…
There has been a fierce wind blowing through Paris these days. My hair stands up, beyond the pretty image of wind tousled. And I am chilled if I left without my scarf. My trip to BHV was productive. 6 tiny teaspoons for tea. And two pair of pants. I am so liking French pants these days. Bought conservative in color but very patterned pants at C&A in December, now I have bright blue and cool green for the summer. Oh so Frenchy.
Point of Information: French terms of endearment. All these years I thought ma petite choue (or maybe mon petit chou) was my little cabbage. A term for one’s sweetheart. I thought my French friend was going to bust a gut, as we say, laughing. No. Absolutely she is not calling her hubby a cabbage. The term comes from chou a la crème – which means cream puff. This corrected my understanding since 10th grade French 1 class. Shrug. Except. I just called two other French friends for confirmation and both said cabbage on the first pass. Then they agreed that cream puff was probably right. One said, “Imagine, calling your sweetheart HONEY. Mon petit miel.” It was absurd to her. The joys of language.
So even if I own Paris, I am going to sublet it for the day to anyone, including tourists, who need it; instead, I shall curl up on the sofa and read or video binge. Tomorrow, more well rested, I shall reclaim my territory.