Wednesday, June 12, 2013

These are the People in my Arrondissement

I love my arrondissement and I have never felt more at home than I have in the 7th.  After three weeks of drinking café crèmes, buying apricots and demi-baguettes, and visiting the papeterie for writing supplies, I have come to know some of my neighbours.  

Je vous présente mes voisins....
  • A fawn coloured senior French Bulldog with one red bulging eye.  He is walked daily along rue Cler by a woman who only wears mini-skirts and has to bend very carefully when cleaning up after Monsieur Bulldog.
  • A trio of tiny nuns dressed in navy blue habits that grope and fondle the produce at Top Halles.  They have animated discussions about grapefruit sizes and are very selective about which green beans they buy.
  • There are always a couple of rich American ex-pats in their tennis skirts, eating croissants at Le Petit Cler and discussing their summer travel plans.  "This year we only get one week in the Hamptons because we have to visit Chip's parents in South Beach."
  • A group of clochards that straddle the unused vélibs at the intersection of rue Cler and rue du Champ de Mars.  They drink canned beer and sing boisterously.
  • The woman who serves me every day at the boulangerie and welcomes me with a cheery, "Comme d'habitude, Madame!", as soon as I walk in the door.  She hums the whole time and never stops greeting and thanking customers.  
  • A stunning petite woman with short dark hair and toned legs that  wears a different pair of red-soled Louboutin's every day.  She glides across the cobblestones of rue Cler like she is wearing ballet slippers and not towering four inch works of art.
  • A woman who reminds me of Inspector Clouseau.  Every morning she sits near me at Le Petit Cler, trench coat tightly wrapped around her, whispering in French with one hand cupping the mouthpiece of her cell phone.  With her free hand, she unwraps chocolates and sneaks bites in between whispers.  She always has a copy of Le Figaro but I have never seen her read it.

Moment of perfect happiness...

Spreading a thick layer of market bought blue cheese on a still warm demi-bagutte.  Blue cheese is the new margarine.  

My new "secret" staircase at Tuileries Gardens.  It lets me enjoy my favourite view of Paris while avoiding the tour buses.


Cassie Piasecki said...

Great post!!!!! Keep them coming!

Anonymous said...

This was a great entry!
It totally smells like the makings of a fun screen play or a short story with several stories with in the one story. How fabulous life must be for you living 24/7 in Paris.

Being a Francophile myself and a lover of used books, creative writing, weekly cigars, classic films blah blah blah… I would love to be an ex-pat and make that happen for myself too. If not, then at the very least, I want to visit for 3 months at a time each year. Thanks again for this nice visual appetizer.

Sylvia S. said...

Love it! Every piece of it. The way you are slowly integrating into the neighborhood. The way you have to describe things and people around you. The way you convey the atmosphere of Paris.

What is going to happen after your short break in Paris, have you decided to move permanently?

I hope you continue sharing your experiences on how to make it happen, I might learn something.

Erin said...

Hi Sylvia,
Your comments mean so much! Merci!!

After my short break, I will return to Victoria and my lovely job. I hope to finish the first draft of the book by the end of this year and return to Paris next summer for more research and writing.

My husband and I are hoping to move permanently within the next 5 years but a lot will depend if I can make a living as a real writer :-)

Can't thank you enough for reading! Erin