Wow! We are now on our second full day in Paris and beginning to settle in. Our journey began on the 29th with a flight to London where we spent the night before catching the Eurostar to Paris. Paris! It’s been eight years since we’d been here and it feels like we’ve been talking about “our month in Paris” for about a year now. Arriving here in the sunshine, walking past the ubiquitous cafés, seeing the trés chic French women smoking their cigarettes and sipping their café cremes, seeing the gorgeous produce in the markets, walking along the broad Parisian streets – this is the stuff we’ve been mulling over in our heads – and now we’re here. And it’s fabulous – and very hot! Hauling our heavy suitcases out of the Gare du Nord train station we were hit with some serious heat when we emerged from our train. If you believe what we’re hearing, we’re in the middle of one of the worst heat waves in recent memory. And while it means we may not have taken in quite as much as we normally would have in our first couple days, we have kept busy. Our first night was spent in a highly air conditioned hotel (hooray) and after checking in we met up with Matthew and Ashli, who are also spending the month, and enjoyed a delicious celebratory dinner that consisted of (for me) escargot and steak tartar! It was delish!!! You can see pictures on Ashli’s blog (I wasn’t quite ready to pull out my camera).
Yesterday, Scotty and Matthew had to check in at their school, the Institute de Cathlique, where they’ll be in language class every morning. Ashli and I accompanied them over there and sat in a very cool stone corridor for a couple of hours while they took their tests and registered. It was so pleasant to find a place like that in the shade that we were both happy to just sit there and chat! This is also when I really realized how acclimated to Scottish weather I have become – if the mercury heads north of 75 I am a sweaty mess! The French appear to know how to handle the heat much better than their Anglo neighbors though – people here dress comfortably and sensibly, while in Scotland the first signs of heat seem to melt away the inhibitions and common sense of a large swath of the population. If it were this hot in Edinburgh, Princes Street Garden would be a sea of flesh in varying shades of white, pink, and scarlet. It is quite hilarious – both Scotty and I have seen men strip down to their skivvys and sprawl out in the parks of Edinburgh. Anyway, back to Paris, Scotty had a hilarious exchange during his verbal exam but I’ll have him write about that himself. Once the guys rejoined us we walked back toward St. Germain, picked up some sandwiches and enjoyed them in the Jardin du Luxenbourg – an absolutely exquisite spot in the city that is packed with people seeking out some shade.
At this point we were supposed to go check in to our flat! We’re renting a tiny little place in the 5th ere that is up 6 flights of stairs (no elevator!) but has superb views of the city – including the Eiffel Tour and the Pantheon. Our landlady is darling – she’s an American who married a Frenchman and has been living in Paris for the past 35 years. Once we had arrived and unpacked she ventured out into the heat to show us the nearby markets! It was so kind of her and we now know where to buy bread (and where not to!), where to buy meat, fish, essentials, etc. We’re just around the corner from the rue Mouffetard which is a bustling little market street full of all sorts of places to poke around. One of the places that Celie introduced us to is one of the best bakeries in Paris – apparently books are written about this place and they’re world renowned. Le Boulanger de Monge is a great bakery and I promise to take pictures later. We have an amazing view from our flat where we can watch the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower (I know, completely over the top!). Anyway, here’s a quick view of our little dollhouse:
And now the flat itself. After walking your sweaty self up 7 flights of stairs, you’ll probably need to pause for breath, but once you open our front door you’ll see this:
Just to the right of the kitchen, you’ll find our little bathroom. The shower is tiny but has great water pressure – and has nice cold water which we’ve taken advantage off to cool off.
Back through the kitchen toward the front door and you’ll find our main room. This is where we have our great view, a little desk, sitting area, and our bed.
So that’s the tour of our little Parisian bird house. I think it’s perfect for our month here and am so glad that we found it! I’m also so grateful that we have a landlady who is so helpful and personable. I promise to take more picture and post more about our time here. I needed a day or two to settle in and find my rhythm but I think that’s coming along and I’ll be back to blogging regularly soon. And if any of you have any suggestions on things to do in Paris, PLEASE SHARE. Just leave a comment below.