|Here the pilgrims rest|
My neighbourhood is called Val de Grâce because opposite my apartment is L'église Val de Grâce which was built in the 16th century to celebrate the birth of Louis Quatorze (the Sun King). His mother was childless for a long time so she wanted to say thanks to God. During the French Revolution, the Church became a military hospital. There is a great little museum about the history of French military medicine in the building. My square with its fountain and friendly clochard (drunk man) was named for Alphonse Laveran, a French military physician who won a Nobel Prize for discovering that the cause of malaria was protozoa. I studied French culture in my course at the Sorbonne but I learned a lot by looking up the origin of the street names because most streets in Paris are named for famous French people.
|The living room is bright and cheery and there is a desk by the window|
The apartment that I rented was just a few metres from the square. I loved the location and the layout.
I feel a little sad that I will not be returning "home" this time but I promised my friend, Janet that we will visit le quartier when she comes to visit. We got to know the locals who greeted me and any Canadians who were with me with "Bonjour, Madame" any of the countless times we met them in the street. French shopkeepers like to stand outside their shops. I don't know where the idea of unfriendliness began because this was certainly not the case in my neighbourhood. One of my friends was horrified when the clochard (our street guy) started talking to me one day. Actually, he was kind of a friend. I had seen him washing in the Fountain Alphonse Laveran and had averted my eyes when he was performing other bodily functions. When each of my Canadians returned home, I collected their coins in a ziploc and gave them to him.
|My friendly grocer and his assistant|
|The lovely girl at the boulangerie|
|Aurélie de La Pomme d'Amour|
|My friend, Janet, was in love with the traiteur (deli man)|
|My hairdresser ( the roots need a lot of touching up in 5 months|
So, why am I not renting the Val de Grâce apartment this year. As my brother, Bob, would say "It's all part of the adventure."