paris apartments. Paris. Voltaire apartment.

(Paris day seven)REFLECTIONS.. if I lived here.

I awake on our seventh day in Paris, with the light streaming through the window once again. Last nights rain gone and the hot sticky temperatures of the past few days cooled. We have four more mornings to wake up here.  No firm plans for today, just decide over  a leisurely breakfast.  This is the life!

I snuggle down in the large comfy bed next to the sleeping Michael.  I am so glad he is here.  I am glad he is here to share my pleasure in this trip, for although he enjoys Paris,  he does not have the passion that I have and is happy to come twice a year. Usually I prefer the freedom of  travelling alone,  but this time I am glad he is with me.
We have both said, we could live in this apartment. There is something about the apartments that Olivier manages/owns that makes them feel homely.  Maybe it is the small, thoughtful, touches like a sewing kit, and umbrella, shelves and hooks in convenient places, Paris guides and some fresh gerberra in a vase when we arrived.
I also have come to love the area, Oberkampf/Jean Pierre Timbaud.  Not the prettiest part of town, but a gentrified, previously working class diverse area.  A few years ago I couldn’t see the attraction, I wanted chocolate box, I wanted the prettiness of the more popular areas. Now  I  can leave all that behind and I love the realism of this area, the urban grittiness. The traffic, the litter and the people.  Real French people, as opposed to tourists, Friendly shopkeepers and grumpy ones who say bonjour and recognise you. 
 The metro is so conveniently on the doorstep,  with lines 5 &;9 and Republic is only a few minutes walk with more lines, add a bus that goes all the way toBelville or  Montparnasse or Gare du Nord and Vincennes and you can get anywhere  Even walk through the Marias and to the river.  Although if you wanted to stay around here, everything is on your doorstep. Bars,  Cafes and shops. hairdressers. a fascinating ironmongers. The Parmentier market, twice a week.  4 velib stations within a few minutes, two supermarkets, laundry, cinema and the circus.

What is is about Paris that makes me and lots of others keep wanting to come back for more? 

It is not the beautiful architecture, or the magnificent art,  the usual Eiffel tower or Notre Dame,  for I have seen these so many times I no longer see them.  No it is the  atmosphere  Paris has.  The acceptance of eccentricity yet the intolerance of  disrespect.

But would we really want to live here? 

We spent a month on holiday in Montmartre, a couple of years a go  and boy was I glad to go home.  Being “on holiday” for four weeks is exhausting!  Living here would be a whole new ball game. For now I am different.  My visits are more about meeting people than sightseeing.

I watch some workmen on top of a roof opposite arriving for work.  The shake hands and kiss each other on the cheek. on top of the roof!  only in Paris!

If I lived here .….I would get up early every morning before the city has woken up and walk up the street, breathing in the fresh smell that  Paris has in the morning, then  go and have coffee every morning at the Cafe de Metro. Making friends with Madame and Messieur.   Then  I would go home to wake Michael.  I would take my shopping trolley twice a week to the Parmienter market making friends with the butcher, the  fishmonger and greengrocer.. and Michael could enjoy making  lovely meals.  I would ride my bicycle all over the city. I would ask my friends round for brunch and we could gossip. and I would have people to stay.  We would listen to music in the streets and give food to a homeless person who lives in the parc nearbye.

I would have no need to visit art galleries and other tourist places, but I might just do one tourist thing a week just so I would know to  show my visitors around and remind my self whet a beautiful  and interesting city this is.

I would wear a scarf all the time and practical shoes. (have you noticed that Parisiens don’t wear high heels much, because they do so much walking) and I would adopt the “I am a feminine sexy woman” attitude that French women have, because it is catching.   I would go to the hamman once a month and indulge myself with mint tea and sticky cakes afterwards

..and I could take French lessons to improve my French, and meet people, because I could then speak the beautiful language all the time, and people would correct me, ( because I will never speak French perfectly)  and I would laugh and be glad.

.Michael would be happy, because he could go off to the races at Longchamps, Chantilly and  Maisons Lafitte. for only two or three euro…he could invite his racing cronies and take them too. .. He could go to art exhibitions and spend ages studying each picture…..and we could go for long walks along the canal and have picnics in the Parcs,  when the weather is nice and he could spend time discussing the freshness of the fish with the fishmonger, even though he would never speak French!  and he will love to cook, but we will eat out maybe once a week trying different restaurants till we find one we really love.

And now and then I would catch a glimpse of the Eiffel tower twinkling in the night and feel that nice warm  content feeling I get, just to be here.

If course I will miss my family and I will miss the green hills of home and my garden, and I will get frustrated in the post office, when the clerk passes the time of day with a customer, even though there is a queue….. and I will get livid with the little old lady who thinks it is her right to push in.  The number of forms I have to fill in  will drive me mad and I will complain about the price of everything and I will have to pay my utility bills with my pension, so I wont be able to go on so many holidays because I will not  be able to afford it…. and I won’t get a free travel pass like I do at home!

Home is only a short flight away and I can visit often. and they can come to visit me.

But of course this is just a fantasy. and we have to go home…in four days.

Love from Bolton

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7 thoughts on “(Paris day seven)REFLECTIONS.. if I lived here.

  1. "The acceptance of eccentricity yet the intolerance of disrespect."Denise, I am in awe of this sentence (and this whole post). You are becoming a real writer in front of our eyes. This post speaks to me on so many levels ~ the joy of being IN Paris, the pain of knowing you have to leave and the aching need in your soul to just BE there. It's so hard to explain to those who don't have that yearning for Paris why it is the first thing you think of when you awake and the last thought in your head as you drift off to sleep.Beautiful, evocative thoughts……….thank you for sharing with us once again.Paris, je t'aime….Jo


  2. Once again, Denise, a post of yours is giving me cause for reflection. While I can relate to much of what you write and really like living in Paris, I guess that I'm just not as attached to it as Jo and you are. Perhaps my feelings will change on the day that we learn that we're being transferred to another country. In the meantime, I'm happy to return to my neighborhood that is far from tourist central and enjoy the interactions with the people we've come to know. We were the annoying ones chatting with the woman in the bakery on Saturday while the people in line patiently waited for us to finish. It's these daily exchanges that I'll probably miss the most when we leave.Thanks for including the link for "your" apartment. It's good to know for when people ask for a recommendation.


  3. Mk and Gwan,…. if I didn't belong to Ourparisforum and trip advisor I would think I was strange,( as my friends do) but there are thousands (millions?) of people who literally fall in love with Paris. So it is comforting to know I am not alone.Mk I believe you were a conscript to Paris (I wish!) and maybe the only cure for this malady is to be forced to live there and cope with the everyday challenges of life, in Paris instead of at home. Only expats like you really know what it is like. That is why blogs like yours and Sylvias are so interesting However, it occurred to me reading this post, that I don't HAVE to live in Paris to espouse the lifestyle I describe. I can do all these things here. So I am off to ride my bicycle and find a early morning cafe to make friends with Mr and Mrs!Love Denise


  4. You describe a vey appealing scenario. Sounds like Paris life is right up your alley.Your apartment looks lovely, so well-lit and cheerful. Thanks for sharing.I, too, would LOVE to live in Paris, at least for a year. In my fantasy, my husband's engineering firm would transfer him to Paris to work on some exciting project, and I would take classes in art history and French (though I would butcher the latter). I would explore the city every day, and I'd take my visitors to my off-the-beaten-path discoveries. My husband would enjoy photography and cooking, just like he does here, but in Paris he would get so much inspiration from being in a new place. Now and then we would plan a day or weekend trip to the countryside. That would be the life! Sigh.


  5. Pingback: A GAMBLERS MENTALITY?….. | denisefrombolton

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