Our apartment was perfect--very French with a view of Notre Dame out the kitchen window and six restaurants within fifty yards of the apartment. We could walk wherever we wanted to go, eat out or cook in, sleep late or get up early, and enjoy our favorite neighborhoods and destinations with no pressure to see or do anything because we "should." It was a wonderfully relaxing, energizing break during which I made some observations, none very profound.
- There are no romance novels in Shakespeare & Company. There are thousands of English language books on almost every subject. Harlan Cobin, John Grisham and Lee Child made the cut. Nora didn't.
- Hot water heaters run at night. It's a good idea to get a shower before noon if you want hot water.
|Steve in our living room|
- It's generally a Bad Hair City. That doesn't mean my hair was impossible like it is in Houston in summer. Very few people in Paris put much effort into their coifs so the bar is pretty low. This is good news because:
- The electricity goes out frequently for short periods which requires the resetting of lots of critical systems including the hot water heater timer and the internet connection. These periods inevitable coincided with me getting in the shower.
|Our Apartment Over Atelier Maitre Albert Restaurant|
- The goofy, overzealous American tourists that embarrass us in restaurants and cafes are usually treated with kindness and good humor by the wait staff. Sure, this is because they generally tip very well in a country where tipping is seldom more that a euro or so. Still, the Americans are welcomed where other Europeans and Asians (both poor or non-tippers we were told) are merely tolerated.
- Trucks pick up glass bottles for recycling several times a week at about 6:30 a.m. Restaurants recycle A LOT of bottles. We were above one restaurant and across a narrow alley from three others. The crash of breaking glass is rather startling, especially that first morning. Other trash is picked up a couple times a week. Luckily we live on a noisy street in Houston and were able to go right back to sleep.
- The neighborhood shopkeepers smile a lot and try to be helpful. Buying from the boucherie, poissonerie, chartucherie, bonlangerie, and wine merchant is much more fun than going to a grocery store. But beware the fromagerie...those women can be mean!