I have so much to say about Paris, I hardly know where to begin, so I think I will start small and expand outwards.
I am enchanted by the way Parisian accommodation works. I have rented a tiny airbnb apartment in the Ménilmontant area (sort of on the border between the 11th and 20th arrondissements). This is not a part of Paris I know at all. In the past I have stayed in Monmartre, the Latin Quarter and the Marais (and probably elsewhere….I have spent quite a lot of time in Paris. It is my favourite city in the world).
I received check-in instructions from my host, which did not make perfect sense to me, but I thought I would figure it out….and when I got to the address, I realized that when Jay, Jamie and I stayed in the Marais in 2006 (I think), it was a very similar system for entry. First I entered a code on a keypad to gain entrance through a barred gate onto the street into a very small area, visible from the street, where I faced a locked metal door, with another keypad beside it.
I entered another code which admitted me to a small outdoor corridor leading to the actual door to the building, which, as it turns out, was not locked (and remains unlocked.) So far so good, except I had now used all the codes I’d been given but was still some way from the flat. 5 sets of spiral stairs away, in fact. Ahem. Quite the climb with two bags – fortunately they are small.
When I reached the fifth and top floor, I knocked on the door to my left (which the host had identified as “mine”) – and Olivia was there to greet me. There was barely room for both of us in the flat – and after giving me a brief tour (more like a turnabout), she left me. It is perfect for one person: a small living/dining room/study with view of the neighbours (at night, no need for TV, I can watch all their activities!); a small bedroom with miniscule balcony looking out on church steeple and more lovely rooftops; a closet of a kitchen, but well-equipped, as long as I don’t dislodge anything, including a washer; and the piece de resistance: a bathroom which is a shower stall containing a sink and toilet. As my host said, you wash down the whole room every time you shower.
It takes some getting used to, but it is a delightful challenge. Another student in my course (much more to come about that!) took the option the school of living with a family, an option I considered briefly (more French practice, cheaper). She lives in a lovely location and a large flat but the woman of the house sounds like a royal bitch who mocks her French and refuses to wash her towels (she has been there almost 3 weeks.) In comparison my arrangement seems like heaven. And I do love the views!
And it is only a 50 minute walk (flat out) to school.
So if I walk both ways, does that offset the whole baguette I eat each day, not to mention the wine…?