Friday, January 29, 2016

Settling In...

It's déjà vu all over again: we travel safely, our luggage travels safely, we reach the flat safely, turn on the water, the gas, the heat, unpack and stow the suitcases in the cave. And then for about ten days we sink into the deep impenetrable fog of Jet Lag! We try everything: sleeping pills, melatonin, face masks, ear plugs. To no avail. The old maxim that it takes one day for every hour of time difference seems to be true. All of which is to say, that nine days in, we are slowly emerging and beginning to pick up the threads of our life here, and to catch up on what's new.

In the flat itself, after a six month absence, there are shelves to be dusted and mugs and cups to be washed...

...the larder to be sorted and stale stuff dispatched into the "poubelle"...

...there is the annual, required, examination and maintenance of the chaudiere that provides heat to the radiators and hot water.

Once you take the front cover off, there's an amazing array of pipes, toggles, vents and dials.

Luckily, the technician is an old hand. He's come every time for the last three years...

...always glad to see us and to chew the fat with Matthew ("tailler une bavette")!

Within the building, fiber-optic cable has been installed since we were last here, which meant a visit from the Orange Fr. representative, who has duly hooked us up to this superfast internet highway.

Little green lights on the black boxes wink at us from beneath the sideboard.

My little temporary recording booth got set up perfectly and a new reading may be heard next Monday 10 am PST on -- "Good morning and welcome to Turning Pages at Nature's Pace....."

The biggest change in our immediate neighborhood is our building itself. Gone are the graffiti-scratched messages and symbols that previously adorned the ground floor walls. The space has stood empty for five years, after HSBC moved out, giving the building a grim, derelict facade at street level. Happily, a high-end Swedish sneaker boutique has moved in (Sneakers'nStuff), the granite walls are scrubbed, stained, polished...

...and the interior packed with very expensive sneakers! I don't quite understand it, but it appears some people buy a pair of sneakers and then just keep them, wrapped in tissue paper, in their box -- some kind of long-term investment?

Within the building, there are new tenants, including yet another film company -- we now have Recif Films, Ozon Films, Films du Kiosque, and, not forgetting, up here on the 5th floor, our very own January Films. A veritable Cincecitta in the making! This means new security, new locks, new magic grey plastic discs that magically let us in.

Happily, our close neighbors are still in residence. Their children brought us fresh baked cookies to say "welcome back"!

And my dear "Keep Cool" gym still offers plenty of ways to keep fit on the rue Clery.

Across the city, over in the 5th arrondissement, we're happy to see that the Pantheon restoration is completed, its beautiful dome once more visible on the horizon. Time for another visit!

Down the rue Montorgeuil, our local shopping street, all our favorites seem still to be in business. The city is quiet, though, even for this time of year. And there is a palpable presence of "authority", whether it's this police car that parked on the sidewalk, the driver behind the wheel, his two colleagues quietly patrolling the street, or the frequently seen posses of 5 or 6 soldiers in full combat gear. A startling sight.

But not enough to keep us from being out and about. Just two days ago, we went over to the Atelier Jault frame shop in the 14th arrondissement. Here, M. Jault examined our beautiful Marty Knapp photograph of Clear Lake that we brought with us. With his help and meticulous measurements, we selected a frame, non-reflective glass, a beautiful mat, and will return in early March to collect it!

And just last night, we were back at the Philharmonie de Paris where we heard Mozart's Piano Concerto #24, performed by Lars Vogt -- a big, burly, linebacker kind of a fellow, who played like an gentle angel -- and Bruckner's massive 5th Symphony. Deservedly, maestro Paavo Järvi and his Orchestre de Paris received a huge ovation.

So, I think the game's afoot! Next week I'm taking a tour of the Hôtel de Talleyrand, a late 18th century town house where Talleyrand received heads of state as first Prime Minister of France. Stay tuned!

À bientôt!


  1. Yes the blog is back have missed it welcome back to Paris xxx

  2. Lovely peek into so familiar reentry for you to Paris. Welcome back. So great to know you are just a train ride away mxm

  3. I'm thrilled to see one of my most favorite photographs has arrived safely in Paris! Thanks for bringing (continuing to bring) my pieces of our lovely California to your beautiful French city home.