“It’s good to wake up in Paris.”

Charlie said this as we stepped through the gate of our apartment building last Sunday and onto the sidewalk, having arrived in Paris the day before.  Paris is so beautiful we can’t take it all in.  Building after building, block after block is a work of art.  Then there’s the Louvre where we went Thursday.  I didn’t realize that the museum was the royal palace before Versailles was built, and the beautiful and multi-block Jardin de Tuileries that stretches out in front of the Louvre had been the royal gardens.  With all that wealth and beauty reserved only for the royal family, it’s easy to see why the French Revolution happened.

Our apartment is très petit.  I guess that’s all part of the Parisian experience though.  I came across this video yesterday.  The apartment building in the video looks very similar to ours and is on a nearby street.  The young woman in the video lives on the seventh floor which we do also; in Paris that’s called the fifth floor (Ok, “cinquième étage”) because, as in Montreal, the first floor is the ground floor – Rez de chaussée – and I don’t think our floor counts as anything because it’s part of the roof.  We have a little more room in our apartment than the woman in the video – but just a little.

http://m.thelocal.fr/20141105/paris-how-to-live-in-a-8-metre-square-apartment

Sunday we walked to the Arc de Triomphe and walked up the inside stairs to the top, no charge that day because national monuments are free on the first Sunday of the month.  Napoleon commissioned the arch to honor La Grand Armée, but it wasn’t completed until years later, after his death.  Laurel and I wondered why it took so long to build an arch, but it made sense when we saw it.  As with nearly everything else in Paris, it’s very ornate.  We read up on Napoleon before heading over and learned that he was quite forward thinking from a societal perspective.  According to Wikipedia,

He was seen as so favourable to the Jews that the Russian Orthodox Church formally condemned him as “Antichrist and the Enemy of God”.

On Monday we went on a tour called “Paris Off the Beaten Track.”

On Wednesday we walked to the Eiffel Tower but didn’t go up because the line was hideously long.  We’ll probably try again another day.  The walk to and from was wonderful though, and we ate at a Chipotle afterward.  (Not very French, I know.)  That Chipotle location was in a mall with a Mark’s and Spencer grocery/department store across from it.  There we found peanut butter, gluten-free bread, and gluten-free crackers!

Thursday was the Louvre, and today, Saturday, we were scheduled to go on a 3-hour graffiti tour across town.  When we arrived, we were surprised to find about 25 other people there. (Our Off the Beaten Track tour was just us – both scheduled through Airbnb.)  The tour guide is an intelligent, earnest young man but not a gifted public speaker.  He spent at least twice as long as he needed explaining things, and after an hour of standing in only two places, I decided I couldn’t stand (literally) another two hours; so Charlie and I walked around on our own while Laurel finished the tour.  I gave her some money, and she bought a pain au chocolate after the tour and then took the train home.

And one more thing – Shortly after I posted my last Turkish blog post on Halloween, I received an e-mail from my realtor in Colorado.  He said that a condo on which I’d made an offer recently but that was not accepted because of another offer was now back on the market.  I made another offer which was accepted, and I’m scheduled to close November 21!

On the street where we live

On the street where we live

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From our "Off the Beaten Path" Tour: Ludovic, our tour guide, pointed out these space-invader tile graffiti/artwork on a number of buildings.  We've since seen them on buildings in other arrondisements.  He said they started showing up on Parisian buildings in the early 1990's.

From our “Off the Beaten Path” Tour:
Ludovic, our tour guide, pointed out these space-invader tile graffiti/artwork on a number of buildings. We’ve since seen them on buildings in other arrondisements. He said they started showing up on Parisian buildings in the early 1990’s.

Place de la République with the words of the French motto inscribed around the base: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.  In the block to the right of this monument is a McDonald's and a KFC.

Place de la République with the words of the French motto inscribed around the base: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. In the block to the right of this monument is a McDonald’s and a KFC.

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From today's graffiti tour

From today’s graffiti tour

Parisian City Hall/Hotel de Ville: We learned from Ludovic on our Monday tour that each arrondissement has its own mayor and city hall, and then the city as a whole has a mayor and city hall.  The current mayor, Anne Hidalgo, was born in Spain (as "Ana") and is the first female mayor of Paris.

Parisian City Hall/Hotel de Ville: We learned from Ludovic on our Monday tour that each arrondissement has its own mayor and city hall, and then the city as a whole has a mayor and city hall. The current mayor, Anne Hidalgo, was born in Spain (as “Ana”) and is the first female mayor of Paris.

Notre Dame - we'll go back another day when Laurel is with us and when the line is (hopefully) not so long to get in.

Notre Dame – we’ll go back another day when Laurel is with us and when the line is (hopefully) not so long to get in.

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St. Michael/Michel the Archangel slaying the devil - There is a plaque next to it dedicated to the French soldiers who died defending Paris in 1944.

St. Michael/Michel the Archangel slaying the devil

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6 thoughts on ““It’s good to wake up in Paris.”

  1. Wow, really cool. Love Charlie’s quote! It seems like Europeans are so much better at utilizing small space efficiently. You should now make a video of your apt.

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