My trip got off to a bumpy start yesterday morning. I strained my back trying to close my suitcase. I cut two fingers on a zipper. I chipped a tooth while threading a needle. And then I fell on the ice as I was taking out the garbage.
But none of that matters now. I’m in Paris. WAHOO!
I’ve been to Paris six or seven times before. Esteban and I have a timeshare, so we usually trade into an apartment in a lovely little suburb on the city’s eastern border.
But this time I wanted to experience the city — I wanted to live like a Parisienne. So I took the bold step of signing my name to a lease in a foreign country and I rented an apartment right across the river from Notre Dame.
My first reality check came as I schlepped my overstuffed bag up three flights of rickety spiral stairs. The second came when my rental agent opened the door to the apartment. It barely resembled the spacious, airy studio I’d seen online. Damn you, wide-angle lenses!
And the third reality check came when I started looking for a place to put my clothes: There’s only one closet, about a foot and a half wide. My Ralph Lauren tweed jacket is now spooning with a Dust Devil.
I was further dismayed to discover that the phone, wi-fi and cable come in a sort of “choose any two” package: When I arrived, only the TV and internet worked, so they sent a repair person with a new phone. Now the phone and TV work — but, alas, no more internet.
Oh … and what can I say about the laundry facilities? This is apparently what the rental agency meant when they said “dryer included:”
At first I was disappointed, and I found myself wishing I’d just stuck with the timeshare. But then I realized that I was missing the point: I’d wanted to have a more authentic experience of Paris, and this is it. Plus, it really is in a great location …
To combat the jet lag, I went for a long walk in the afternoon. The sky was a heavy gray, but I didn’t care. I was excited to tour a private museum devoted to Chopin — and to munch on my first crêpe sucrée. Here are a few of the things I saw along the way.
That’s all for today. Until tomorrow …