Friday, May 3, 2013

Last Friday in Paris

Well, this is my last full day in Paris. I arrived here on Friday, March 17th.  My guests left and arrived on the same Friday in April that I moved into a new apartment. Friday seems to be significant this year. It seems so long that Janet and I were in London or when The Dancing Queen visited. I am always sad to leave and there is always so much left for my next visit.

I find people in Paris friendly and happy to engage in conversation. Aurélie, who will closing her restaurant at the end of the year, is looking forward to sitting down to lunch with me next year. Mildred is still enjoying teaching Le Cours de la Civilisation française de la Sorbonne although her husband is retired. She will soon be a grandmaman. I will go back to Isabelle pour des cours particuliers (private French classes). Yesterday, I visited the Institut Oneto on Montparnasse to have the same lady wax my legs as last year. She came in early for me today and her soins de visage (facial) is amazing. She uses her fingers on the neck, shoulders and face to massage and gently stimulate the circulation. My face is so smooth right now. I will be returning to her next year as well.
I love this place.
I always learn a few things about daily Paris life every year. All Parisians are not rich and thin. You can easily find clothing whatever your age or size. If you are wearing sizes 42-48 (12-16), you will find clothing in department stores or smaller shops catering to older French women. Rue Saint-Placide is a good street for regular clothing. Do not be a snob and you will find some bargains. I bought some thin linen t-shirts for layering at Monoprix. A lovely sage green scarf was waiting for me at my Port-Royal market yesterday.

There are many free concerts in churches. You don't need to pay for the pricey St. Chapelle concerts. Read signs and you will find them. This year, Janet and I went to a free concert in Montmartre and I saw a sign for musical week-ends (free) at Val-de-Grâce. If you like jazz, Café Universel on rue St. Jacques offers free music and an open mic day. You can go early and it's just locals having a glass of wine and enjoying the music. Barb only paid 5 euros for her milonga dances and that includes tea, coffee and snacks.

Paris city museums are free. If you haven't visited the Carnavalet , Musée Cognacq-Jay, Victor Hugo's or Balzac's houses, you can view any of the permanent collections gratuit. You can pay tourist price or neighbourhood price. I live next door to Poilâne, there are tourists looking in the windows all the time.
Breakfast: croissant, café, some bread and orange juice cost 10 euros. I ate there once. I can buy a croissant or a pain raisin for less than 2 euros. I make my coffee and buy yogurt and oranges at the market. Today, I left early for my appointment and had a coffee and croissant standing at the bar at Café Bullier (3 euros). Restaurants off the main squares are always less expensive and more often frequented by neighbourhood folks.

My Paris is a very every-day Paris. Alas! I didn't buy the 590 euros boots. I'm a retired school-teacher whose friends are mostly retired or soon-to-be retired. Comfortable walking shoes are necessary but the lovely boots not so much. It is a luxury just to be in Paris, to look at the beautiful objects in the window and to dream!
These will have to stay in the window!

6 comments:

  1. I agree. I find people much friendlier here than in New York. They're more sociable in so many ways and any place too.
    It makes such a difference.
    Glad you had a wonderful time.
    Carolg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are polite and respectful, the people of Paris are wonderful. If you speak French, even better.

      Delete
  2. This is the Paris that we love as well -- I find that having a budget and a longer stay opens our eyes to a Paris that is much more real than the one so often depicted. Especially if one enjoys walking! Of course, speaking French expands one's view of Paris even more, and your very good French has allowed you to form friendships. That deepens your relationship with the city even more -- and you're layering visit on visit for a rich chronological depth. It will be hard to say good-bye, but you'll surely be back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyday Paris is a wonderful place. Having friends here makes it even more special. Your last post made me think of Mildred with grandchild on the way, retired husband and still full of enthusiasm for teaching. I have never seen such a thorough marker. She must spend an hour on each paper. Walking is essential here because every new street is a new adventure.

      Delete
  3. I think traveling on a budget affords more opportunity for spontaneous fun. Sensible walking shoes are a must!
    When Mr. HB and I traipsed around SF for 6 hours every day I knew I had made the right choice with my footwear!

    I love that you are living like a local as it seems so much more genuine than hanging out in the ritzy hotels and rubbing shoulders with tourists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love to walk and comfortable footwear is essential. Last year, I did use a pedometer and found that some days I had walked 15-20km. I love my part-time Paris life because it really feels like this is my part-time home.

      Delete