Friday, August 22, 2014

Then and Now



Yesterday I went back to my old nabe/quartier the 19th arron. for a number of reasons...


Where I live now is quite a step up...understatement of the year.


My old stairway (52 steps that kept my derriere a lot smaller).


My grand stairway now has history I can't begin to imagine. Resolved: take the stairs more and the ansencer less!


The old place was TEAL city.


My Brit landlady showed me how to light the hob (a totally frightening mystery to me as an American).
"Now remember, if you go away 1-2 weeks, do turn off the gas" she warned me.
I didn't actually get up the nerve to 'light the hob' for THREE WHOLE MONTHS. I never 'turned off the gas' either. Fortunately I didn't burn down the house


Once I got the hang of lighting the hob it became my BBF. I adored that little cooker. So much better than the electric burners I have now.


Bear really loved our work area.


Good thing I dragged our objet trouvé, the pink secretary chair found in the street, to the new digs. He's settled in nicely thank you very much.


The old place had it's charms but I don't think I could have managed too many tea parties there...


The new diggs are streamline. A place for everything and everything in it's place, if only I could remember where I put stuff. If you've ever lived on a yacht please advise.


My raison d'etre for visiting the 19th was to rejoin piscine Pailleron.


This has to be the most gorgeous pool in a city with many divine pools. I grew attached to the 5 heated pools and the local families attending. Piscine Pontoise may have the beautiful people but it's a bit elitist and trés froid.


I really missed the parc Butte de Chaumont a few steps away.


So many wishes were made here that came true...


Lovely flower beds too.


The Franprix next to my old joint may be the ONLY place in all of Paris you can find chunky peanut butter (from Nicaragua no less). Believe me I have looked and looked.


Course I will never complain about living next to la Seine.


It's a life changing experience words can't describe. 
6:44 AM this morning the view out my window is pretty spectacular.
A Big Merci to all who subscribed to the Paris Sketch Letters!
You've helped make my life in Paris unforgettable.

51 comments:

  1. No such parc on the island but the peace when the tourists leave !

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  2. A lovely neighbourhood, indeed! :-)

    I found chunky peanut butter here, at the natural foods store. It's made with organic peanuts and comes from Germany (!). Unfortunately it is salted, so I keep buying the very good creamy variety made by the same company. Have you ever tried peanut butter with Nutella? ;-)

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    1. I am enchanted~ utterly and truly.

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    2. The Nicaraguans do it better.

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  3. Louisa4:50 AM

    LOVE seeing your life in Paris up close and personal.
    Thanks for sharing your great adventure!

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  4. Loved wandering through your before & after abodes. funny how it's the little things we miss, such as your preferred peanut butter, and then the familiarity you liked about the swimming pool. It seems as long as 'Bear' can tag along with you where ever it might be he's happy :)

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  5. Maureen7:10 AM

    I know you miss some things such as the friendly piscine and the Butte but to live on Ile Saint Louis near the Seine and beyond Notre Dame - WOW. You never mention Bertillion, What self control. I would have to fight my way past-:)

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  6. Yes, your new digs are more classy - but the old one had charms too.
    I must say the staircase with the worn down middle makes one realize what little ants we are in the history of the universe.
    So glad things seem to be going well in Paris ....which I will get to in the end.
    Had a little gas burner like you in Maroc (where the gas came in bombolas) - and lived to tell the tale.
    Miss you.
    Had a delightful tea (and later drink) with Vivian the other day.
    Buster makes his salaams.....
    oxoxo

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  7. Each has it charms, but with Paris' marvelous transportation system, you can have both easily! That pool does look wonderful!! Love the skies everyday---here and there.

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  8. Bonnie L8:59 AM

    Next trip to Paris I must go to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont and make some wishes. If only it were that easy! Me thinks talent and a lot of hard work have something to do with your success. You are such an inspiration, Carol. Proof positive that one can live their dreams. Thank you for delivering that message with every blog post & every sketch letter!

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  9. loved the photos Carol...especially the sun coming up on the seine...gorgeous

    Can't help but notice all the Ikea in both apartments...I just wonder how they schlepp it home?

    take care...watch out for Lisa from my part time paris...she's stalking you in a good way...:))

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  10. I like both too..I have memories from both:)
    Love that your wishes come true..I need to find a waterfall:)
    Went to see The 100 Foot Journey yesterday..the star works in Paris at one point..and yesterday of course we watched Qui Sera le Prochain Grand Chef Patissier..:) Next week Pierre Hermé is on..
    Who do you think I think of with all this French food ?Pastry Chefs?And Paris skylines..
    You certainly deserved your Paris wishes to come true..Don't think I have ever "met"anyone who pursued her dream like you.
    Bravo ma belle.

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    1. Isn't it funny? I thought I was moving here to save $$$ on airfare. I didn't know I'd fall in love.
      Totally unexpected. The sensible plan turned into a dream.

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  11. Anonymous9:34 AM

    I love your posts and you have tempted this senior white knuckle flyer to venture into a(shudder) plane and attempt the ???hours and hours of stark terror so that Husband and I might see Paris before we exit this life. Does anyone have any hints or tips for doing this on a paupers budget. Are there hostels for senior tourists? Any suggestions for best time to come and how long can one stay as a tourist. Is it possible to live for several months economically? Sorry to post anonymously but I can never access the other choices given. The info I enter is never accepted even though I have noted what have entered.

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    1. Bonnie L10:13 AM

      Yay! Good for you that you are going to see Paris. Flights from my area are over night so I take an ambien and sleep! I don't bother with taking the airlines sub standard meals. After all, you will be in Paris in the morning so save the calories!
      Renting an apartment is a great cost saver; you can do some of your meals there, certainly breakfasts. We rented from AdrianLeeds.com last trip. Also check out VRBO.com. Good luck, you are going to have the best time!!

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    2. A lot of questions Anony. There are websites that answer most of them. 90 days is all you can stay with out special visas.

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    3. Anonymous4:09 PM

      Reply to Anonymous...Paris on a budget. I suggest you look into joining SERVAS in your own country before you leave. This international organization is based on the philosophy that the more people get to know each other personally across the world, the more chance there is of having World Peace. So you can stay for two nights with SERVAS hosts and get to know the real France and the real French, as long as you treat your stay as an opportunity to get to know people and not as a convenience. On joining for a small fee you will be provided with a booklet of all the SERVAS hosts in France and if you contact a host and they agree, you are accomodated for two nights and eat the evening meal with your hosts. You can be a host in your own country too. There are many small hotels at reasonable prices if you look on the internet but three months is quite a long time. And the best thing is the Chambre d'Hote, the French equivalent of Bed and Breakfast - very reasonable.I have even stayed in chateaux which belong to Chambres d'Hote websites..one had a moat all around it! Near Le Mans. Chateau de Besonnais. Enchanting. Gwendoline in Australia. Anon for the same reason as you. Best wishes. Thankyou to Carol for wonderful insights into life in Paris. The best blog ever. (I never ever stay in a place without a lift).

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    4. Thank you Gwendoline in Australia!
      You never disappoint ;))

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  12. I loved my apartment on rue St. Jacques across from Val de Grâce as I got to know all of the neighbouring businesses. The grocer gave me a photo of the quarter when I left. This being said, I rent a different apartment each year so that I can experience the city in a different way. The stairs are such great exercise and shopping for groceries so much more fun. Your old apt. looks charming although I am always a little intimidated by French cooking and heating systems.

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  13. How nice that Bonnie L answered Anonymous' questions. Those would have been my questions, too. I hate to admit that the last time I flew I had a panic attack. I suppose Valium would fix that.
    What a wonderful life you have created for yourself, Carol. I wrestle with the possibility of breaking out of my rut and changing my life every day. It takes lots of courage. Just to tell you.....the other day I looked at RED glasses frames. My son is getting married soon and I thought about updating my image for the wedding. He already thinks I 'm a little bit nutty, anyway.
    Is Rachel Koo your landlady? She is adorable.
    Thanks so much for your photos of Paris and your thoughts.
    I Googled "Piscine Molitor" the other day and discovered that it is a private club now. Of course,
    if I had not seen "Life of Pi" I might never have known about it. What a beautiful pool it is and the one you posted, too. I just bought a Paris guidebook at the local Habitat for Humanity store. I am going to digest it. Then I can say everything I know about Paris I learned from that book, House Hunters International, and YOU, of course. Now I am going to look at Adrian Leeds.com.

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    1. Researching Paris!
      Is there anything else like it?
      Ah the hours I've spent/wasted/enjoyed.
      I miss that...

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  14. Frank B.11:08 AM

    you live in the same building as racheal khoo?

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    1. No, I sublet her studio for 8 months. She doesn't live there any more.

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  15. kathleen11:15 AM

    The walk down memory lane from the old digs to the new – and the last few photos were almost heart stoppingly beautiful!

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    1. Kathleen11:26 AM

      p.s. what were you cooking (looked like lovely tomatoes in something delicious…?

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    2. Coco's tomato tarte tatin
      All here: easy peasy
      http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.fr/2014/01/rouge-tomate.html

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  16. I think last time we were in Israel's they had peanut butter - we always go there for a few treats while we are in Paris.

    How long do you get to stay in that apartment?

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    1. Dunno. Depends on how well I take care of the marble floors
      Anyone know about caring for marble floors? SOS

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  17. Jane G.11:54 AM

    "quartier" sounds so much better than "'hood"!

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  18. Carol, thanks for the step back in time. I loved seeing what your old place looked like. And that pool is gorgeous...I can see why you've returned to it.

    I will be back in Paris in November for the Intermediate class at LCB. Hopefully we can meet up this time! Xoxo Katie

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    1. That would be terrific Kate!

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  19. So very lovely! Once again Carol, many thanks for posting these stunning photos. I'm glad that you and bear are so happy there. I definitely want to come back and stay in a studio or appt. rather than a hotel room. Like the option of cooking my own meals and living sort of like a Parisienne. I'd like to do 3 weeks or a month this time.

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  20. love living vicariously through your posts!

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  21. Diana2:56 PM

    If you are ever on the Boulevard St Michel not far from the Jardins de Luxembourg, could you have a look in and say 'bonjour' to the Foyer des Etudiantes, where I was living (an extremely diffident and awkward 19 year old student of French) during the events of May 1968. As you can imagine, it was a pretty memorable time & an experience I have never forgotten. I enjoy Paris Breakfasts & your sketch letters- makes me feel nostalgic!

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  22. So I am in the midst of packing today for a major move to the Miami area after a lifetime in the NY NJ Metro area - terrifying! I needed a break and your post was a beautiful, inspiring surprise in a sad moment. Your insights and observations, as well as reminiscing and forward thinking attitude was just what I needed thru my tears! What an odd coincidence that I actually had a moment to open your post today with all that is going on here! It cheered and inspired me.

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    1. So glad to hear it cheered you Geri ;)
      Moving can be Hell but then things fall into place and you settle down as if it never happened.
      Bon(ne) Chance !

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    2. Thanks - I need it - down to the wire here. The worst part is the decision making - tossing so many things but I will stop whining - I recall well your move to Paris - I knew you'd understand.

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  23. Love that grand staircase and the worn down marble. It's fun to imagine who might have climbed those stairs over the many years that building has been there.

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  24. Holy fricking cow ... That is the view from your digs? Well, you deserve it for so many reasons. I absolutely adore this post ...

    Karen in VA

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    1. THANKS Karen in VA (formerly CT)!!!

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  25. Carol, it's been great fun, and even educational (!) to read this post's comparisons of your current abode with a predecessor place to hang your chapeau. I agree with all those prior comments about how grand it is for you to have found this lovely place. That view. Goodness.

    Hoping you'll indulge me a little memoir of my own, inspired by your photo to lighting the hob. When I had my huge, but primitive SoHo loft ages ago, Columbus Day as mid-October neared and the nights grew more chilly, was when I observed two seasonal activities.

    First of all, I would go down to Canal Street and buy a roll of thick clear-ish plastic. I would bring it back to the loft and cut off lengths of this plastic that could cover the three tall and drafty windows on the end of the loft that did not face the street. I pulled the tall and very heavy wooden ladder over to that end of the loft, and with my trusty staple gun sort of upholstered each of those three windows. Keeping any sort of heat in that loft over the winter months was a challenge.

    Part two of my Columbus Day observation was dragging that heavy wooden ladder back to the center of the loft's 2000 sq ft space and getting my nerve up to light the strange industrial gas heater (with its electric powered fan that acted to distribute any heat. Well, to distribute that heat to the air occuring about 12 feet from floor level.

    I was always just a bit terrified to climb up to the top of that tall ladder, with my box of long matches, and a wish that the pilot light would take the flame from the first match I struck. Never happened with that first match, but every year I did eventually get the pilot lit. I never fell off the ladder. I never set the loft on fire.

    Yes, living there was primitive, but I so miss much about those days. And nights.

    See what your Parisian reporting set free from my memories, Carol. Merci! xo

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  26. Great collection of photos, Carol. I love the shots of the old place, but the new place by the river definitely has a much better view :)

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  27. Anonymous11:54 PM

    I love your blog and your sketch letters! Keep up all of that hardwork... So that after a day of my hard work I can come home and pretend I strolled through Paris and had some tea!

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  28. Thank you so much for your little Paris excursion pics. I would quickly trade my 1kg container of organic chunky peanut butter (Australian grown) for a day in Paris xx

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  29. Ohhhh happy sigh....

    Thank you so much, for all you share with us, in your blog. It is a treasure!

    Thank you!

    Thank you!

    Thank you!

    Tessa~

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  30. Louisa3:58 AM

    Umm...is that a DARTH VADER mask hanging by the window??
    Yours or landladys?

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    1. Not mine!!!
      That is a moving-in day pic.
      It went into the closet tout à suite !! ;)

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  31. Well, as a former Parisian, I used to always say: "If I buy a place in Paris one day, it will have to be on Ile St Louis..." -- You are living the dream, Carol, bravo! Lovely photos of your old and your new place. I like them both, since they are so Parisian in size and reminded me of my old apartment ;-) Bonne semaine, Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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  32. What a fun look back! Look how far you've come!!! :-)

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  33. Always fascinated by the tiny apartments in Paris...but since you would want to be out enjoying the city most of the time...small/compact is just fine in order to be there. In one photo, the stone steps honed by millions of climbing feet is superb! Enjoy your lovely art and words.

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