My Pad

I’ve had a few questions and comments here and there and I thought I would clear up the whole mystery of where and how I live. I know there are hundreds out there wondering. Some people have said, “You’re in Paris? I thought you lived in Provence.” Actually, I am lucky enough to live in both places, though not at the same time. When I first married Maurice and moved to France we lived in an apartment he bought in Paris. When he retired we built a house in Provence. At the time we thought we would be living there just about full time but after our first winter there and the drama of the plumbing that wouldn’t work that had us heading back to Paris on friggin’ Christmas day, we decided to just live in Provence from Spring to Fall. It gets cold there in the winter, believe it or not, and a little desolate and deserted feeling, a little depressing. Usually we go somewhere for vacation, somewhere warm, often make a trip to the States or just hang out in Paris, not a bad thing.
Maurice bought our place in Paris before we married. I like it, on the whole. It seemed very small to me when we first moved in, with a broad entry hall, a very narrow kitchen and three rooms and a bathroom. We are on the third floor if you are a European or the fourth if you are an American and there is no elevator. This is really hard when you are carrying up luggage or groceries and I sometimes wonder what we will do when we get really old. There is an elderly lady two flight above us and she still seems to do well-so far.
Some people want to see the kitchen. There isn’t much to it although it was what we redid first. There is a small washer/comination dryer hidden behind a false cabinet door. It is so small that I have to do loads more often than in the States where there are those luxuriously huge washers and, unfortunatlely, it takes hours to do one load and things end up mysteriously wrinkled and, thus, I have to do more ironing than I used to. I have an electric stove and oven-gas wasn’t a choice- a small refrigerator and a really small freezer. When the kitchen guy planned it all, he planned the microwave to go above the freezer-I could imagine hot liquid pouring down on me from the great height when I tried to remove some cooked dish. The reason we didn’t put it up there-besides the possibility of second degree burns- was because the space wasn’t big enough and because the freezer door is attached to a false cabinet door, we would have the freezer door open every time we wanted to microwave something. Seemed strange to me.

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The washer

From our bedroom we can see the street and the buildings straight across from ours. Sometimes I can see people inside them working at their desks or, even, in their underwear (note to self: you can see people behind sheer curtains at night if the lights are on). From our kitchen and living room we can see a courtyard down below, split into four parts as four buildings are joined together forming a square within, very common in Paris. Little buildings are in each square for garbage cans, bicycles and baby strollers. I can also see people across the way: an old couple behind grimy windows with a curtain hanging in tatters, their hair shining silver in their ceiling light, a young man with cerebral palsy, constantly moving in an unending dance. I also see families in their lives, then the shutters will be closed for months and, soon, there is a new family or couple, painting the walls and moving in. Sort of like the movie, Rear Window, but no murders and I don’t have binoculars.

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My new blog: Side Roads of Europe

13 thoughts to “My Pad”

  1. Why do some apartments have shutters and others have those lovely ornate railings which I associate with Paris? Thorughly enjoying the insight into your home.

  2. Linda, thank you for sharing a little more about your Parisian home….I love that little kitchen with the sink at an angle by the window!

  3. I think you have a fantastic apartment and I love your kitchen. I lived in Germany and the UK for years so I know how different from the US things can be. I love your “courtyard”! In Germany I feel in love with European appliances and I am so frustrated when I’m in the US and can’t buy them. I love the smaller refrigerators that fit so well under the counter top (not those little ones in the US that don’t work)! And the dishwashers and closewashers that heat the water themselves. And our dishwasher had special salt to use to ensure that hard water was not an issue. This “bigger is better” attitude isni’t a good thing! (Although I would want a lift – my knees are shot!) Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Pretty much a fairy-tale life, I think, split between Provence and Paris! Lucky, lucky you.
    Your kitchen looks like it’s designed well for being a small space. It is so uncluttered! I’m constitutionally incapable of anything but clutter. It’s awful –I think it must be a gene.

  5. Happy New Year Linda! Your Paris apartment is great – thanks for letting us peek inside. That Elliot is so cute – hope he doesn’t end up blue hanging out on your new shedding rug!!

    Know what you mean about those European combo washer/dryers – terrible things – had one in the apt. we stayed in in England in Oct. It ran for hours to comlete a load, and then more hours at the ironing board to get clothes looking presentable! We US housewives are so spoiled with the equipment we have available to make life easy!

    Enjoy your Winter Paris break – Provence will wait.

  6. Well, thank you, Linda, for the tour! Especially the look out the window. It all is so different from here . . . I’ve done wash in France, and it does take a year and a day per load. It keeps mysteriously stopping and then starting up again.

  7. How wonderful to have a lovely Paris apartment AND a place in Provence. Thank you for the photos … and I love Tut Tut’s comment about doing laundry overseas, especially about the machine starting and stopping mysteriously. That brings back so many amusing memories.

  8. I really love the movie Rear Window…Hitchcock is perhaps my favorite filmmaker, ever. I actually thought of the movie Rear Window when I took a look at those pictures of the courtyard and the various apartments surrounding it. Glad it’s a safe version! :0)

  9. Thank you so much for the pictures! I’m apartment hunting in New York and so I understand very well what you mean about tight quarters. It can be a shock at first. And I agree with you about seasonal places (ie. Provence) being depressing off season. I used to fantasize about being on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey year-round but spent some time there over the winter and found myself missing the tourists. 😛
    Such a beautiful home!

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