This week’s Monday at the Museum post will show up next week, because this weekend I was busy being sick and moving for the *sixth* time in four years. Quel suspense !
The weather forecast for Paris is not good. One second — literally, second — it is sunny with blue skies that leave everyone wondering why they even wore their coat. The next second, the sky suddenly turns, opens, and freezing monsoons, sometimes with hail, begin. This happens on and off all day, so we have to be incredibly resourceful with how we dress and what we carry (like the biggest umbrella you can find, preferably).
In the midst of the crazy weather, I made the equally crazy decision to move (complicated) and did not have a choice in acquiring an unfortunate cold, all at the same time. This is when you realize God gave you friends and new apartments with elevators.
In my old neighborhood, I didn’t feel like I lived in Paris. Sure, I experienced the six-floor walk-up (and have now had three French apartments boasting such luxury; all were deemed worth it for the views) and the slanted ceilings one could only get being on the top level (even if, say, this made it to the point where you couldn’t stand in the shower). Quel luxe.
I was living in the 10th arrondissement, home to Canal St. Martin, lots of new, hip restaurants, and local stores that made me love living there. But, I’ve always been about 85 at heart, as anyone who knew me from the ages of 11-18 can attest (or really even now, cause it’s past my bedtime). I think the 10th was just too hip for me.
My new neighborhood is the one that Hemingway, unintentionally, implored all Americans to discover. This is the Paris that stays with you if you’ve lived there as a young (wo)man, when you’re poor but happy.
Sure, it’s a cliché that has extended through generations of expats in Paris, but this is the first time (ever!) that I’ve felt like I actually live in Paris. Some of it is because of the inconvenience (try finding a grocery store on Sunday afternoon in *real* Paris), some of it is because of the scenery. I live around the corner from the Jardin des Plantes, coincidentally my next museum post, and La Grande Mosquée, where you can get some excellent mint tea and pastries while sitting among beautiful tiles. My bus route home drives through Saint Germain and if you get off at the wrong stop in the freezing rain like I did, you discover florists and art supply stores and can watch the Seine roll along the banks in the (really crazy cold) wind. Rue Mouffetard is only a few blocks away, and there is a market down the street a few times a week that makes me feel like I never left Aix.
For a long time I blamed the weather for my gloom (my weather app now just shows rain clouds and gloomy skies for
weeks ever), but I’m beginning to think it was my location…and the fact that I couldn’t stand up in my shower. ♦
What is your favorite arrondissement in Paris? Where have you stayed before?
*These pictures were all previously posted on Instagram, because cold, sick, complaining Anne hasn’t take the real camera out yet. What Paris pictures would you be interested in?