If anyone ever pays me to fly to Paris and stay in a hotel, I’ll do it. But otherwise, I cannot imagine voluntarily choosing any accommodation here other than an apartment. The one we’re staying in now, traded with the Famille Gilon/Ville, is at least the fifth one I’ve experienced over the years. Not all were house trades, though the longest one was, in 1990.
Today, more than ever before, I love the coziness of our situation. Outside the windows of the large dining room, I can see snow driving down, but it’s warm and well-lighted here, and I’ve got excellent wifi access to the Internet on my IPad.
Of all the house trades I’ve done since that first in 1990, I have to say I think this place has the most eccentric layout. It’s on the fifth floor, and it’s possible it used to be what we Americans would call a garret — or more likely a number of garrets or maid’s quarters that at some point were combined into a single quite large residence. The kitchen is modern and user-friendly, and I count comfortable sleeping accommodations for at least two sets of couples and a single. I call the layout eccentric because of things like the fact that:
— you walk directly from the front door into the dining room, and
— to get to two of the three bedrooms, you have to pass through the largest bathroom (but then again there are three rooms with toilets, which seems itself a luxury)
— to bathe or use the toilet in that largest central bathroom, you must secure three doors (and close the blinds on a window)
None of this is a problem, really, and adds to the charm of the accommodations. My only complaint is the almost total lack of places for Steve and me to put any of our clothes. The king-sized bed in the room where we’re sleeping is comfortable, but there’s barely room to walk around two sides of it, let alone stash a suitcase anywhere. We’ve found few drawers for clothing anywhere in the house, and all of them are stuffed to bursting.
Our solution has been to adapt one of the couches in the living room as a suitcase stand. We dug up and commandeered a few (3-4?) hangers, and the rest of our things we’re handing on the giant green plastic saguaro cactus in the dining room (which makes a more than adequate coat rack!).
Beyond that, all is trivial, and the neighborhood (the upper Marais) couldn’t be livelier, better-stocked, more beautiful or historic — everything one could want in a Paris neighborhood in this season of good cheer. Even here in the flat, the G/V’s have provided lovely touches of Christmas: a little (5-foot?) decorated tree in the living room, ornaments hung here and there throughout the rooms.
If Michael’s plane (due in about 75 minutes) can just land successfully at Charles de Gaulle and I can manage to get him safely back here, the final detail will be perfect.