All is magnifique here in Paris, although the weather's been a bit gloomy with only one truly sunny day. But we have absolutely no complaints. We love our cozy little pied à terre on the rue de Suffren, as well as our new neighborhood. Yes, I'm in francophone heaven. We moved in on Saturday, September 10 and will be here until we rent a car and head for the southwest of France on Monday, October 10. The apartment is terrific: small but so sweet, and the location is awesome. It’s a one-room studio (5 meters x 5 meters) with a larger-than-expected bathroom. Next to the entry door, which opens right into the apartment with no foyer, is about 2.5 meters of kitchen space with a small fridge, microwave/grill oven, a sink, a two-burner stove and several cabinets. The studio is a marvel of efficient design in terms of the storage space it provides. We managed to unpack and put away all our belonging quite easily. There is a built-in floor-to-ceiling closet with just enough of a bar for hanging items and adequate shelving for the rest of our clothes. The plastic bag system has been a godsend and helps keep our clothes compact and organized. When we had looked at dozens of possible rentals online, we found that most were decorated in either stark white, black and chrome, or a jarring kaleidoscope of primary colors. Part of why we chose this apartment was the lovely, soothing decor; its muted browns, beiges and whites leave us feeling calm and welcomed. The neighborhood is quiet, on the western, non-touristy side of the Tour Eiffel, but there is plenty of residential activity with boulangeries, cafés, super-marchés and the métro close by. Right around the corner is the Champs de Mars, the vast public garden between the Tour Eiffel and the Ecole Militaire. No, we have no panorama over the rooftops of Paris, but the convenience of being on the rez-de-chaussée (the ground floor) and the fact that the Tour Eiffel is in our back yard outweighs the missing views.
Since we moved in, we’re continually pinching ourselves and asking, “Are we really here for a full month?” If this were a “normal” vacation visit, we would be packing up to head home already since we arrived a week ago today. Seven nights in a row is the longest we’ve ever stayed in Paris but this time we still have four more weeks to go. And we have plenty of ideas for filling those 28 days. Little things are helping us believe that we're true residents of Paris. I received an email from Paris Groupon yesterday, inviting me to join, we got our loyalty discount card for Monoprix (the French version of Safeway) on our last visit and we’ve started running/power-walking every day.
It’s been wonderful not having to rush to fit in all we want to see and do (most of which boils down to where we want to eat). I believe I’ve already mentioned that our general approach to traveling is “eating purposefully and wandering aimlessly,” and so far, this attitude continues to serve us well. We spend much of our days researching where to eat, traveling to the places we've chosen to eat, eating and then discussing what we ate. We’ve become masters of this simple agenda. The other habit we’ve apparently embraced is getting a late start to the day. I’m typically an early morning person but I can’t seem to get myself out from under the cozy, white duvet at my usual 6:30 or 7am. Other than getting out in the late morning to run, we’ve been lucky to be up and out the door by noon. Perhaps I shouldn’t be quite so critical about the late starts since our mornings in the studio have included catching up on emails, reading the news, doing our wash (our bathroom is equipped with one of those compact European washer/dryer combo machines), and eating breakfast. A quick note on the first meal of the day: I’m in petit dejeuner heaven! Anyone who has spent the morning with me in the past 20 years, knows that my breakfast of choice is a coffee yogurt mixed with Kellogg’s All-Bran. On previous trips, we’ve always stayed in a hotel and were on vacation, after all, so I never even considered having my regular breakfast instead of a buttery croissant. But we now have our cute little kitchen and can make our own meals when we choose. I was almost in tears when we found the cereal section stocked with All-Bran and the French version of coffee yogurt at the Monoprix. My treasured morning staples have added a touch of the familiar to my day but there’s room for modification. I’m sending Joe out for croissants tomorrow morning.