Eyeful of the Eiffel in the City of Light and Fog
In spite of the gloomy gray foggy typically Paris winter weather, we filmed yet another House Hunters International over the weekend, making this the 10th in which we’ve participated. As is the usual ‘formula,’ there were three apartments that ‘contributer’ Patrice Armstrong visited with her friend, Ulla — three very different apartments for long-term rental in three very distinctive locations: 1) a studio apartment next to Notre Dame with a large terrace, 2) a newly-renovated one-bedroom next to La Tour Montparnasse with an “American kitchen” (open plan) and 3) a contemporary one-bedroom apartment in a high rise building with a view of all of Paris and of course, “La Grande Dame” herself, La Tour Eiffel.
At 8 a.m. on Saturday morning as the 96 bus worked its way down rue de Rennes approaching the Montparnasse Tower, it was ‘clear’ that the fog was so thick and low on the landscape, that not only could one not see the big black monstrosity of a building, but neither would one get even a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower — a major part of what would make the episode exciting and fun. Therefore, the crew who had come from London to film the episode, opted to reorder the schedule so that the apartment with the view of Paris would be filmed at the end of the day when HOPEFULLY the fog would have lifted.
Meanwhile, they battled for light. Winter days are short and light is precious. The sky in Paris is typically a perpetual white-blue-gray with transfused lighting — the kind that photographers work hard to achieve in their studios, turning snapshots into picture-perfect postcards thanks to an even tone and surrealistically sharp quality. But the gray day made havoc for the videographer trying to capture the exciting cityscape of “The City of Light” from the 11th floor apartment.
By dusk, the fog had lifted exposing the tip of the tower and we all felt relieved and redeemed…another episode ‘in the can.’ It will take a couple of months before the editors splice together all the ‘bits and bobs’ into one coherent and meaningful story. The contributor, an American woman who was brought here to work for one of the big yoghurt producers, was full of life and personality that the director called “TV gold!”
She kept us laughing with her hilarious comments as she visited the apartments, making for a very ‘smiley’ episode. The culturally different things that shocked her most and cracked us up without reserve were…when she first saw only two stove burners in the small American-style kitchen (“Adrian, what the heck is that!? You’re telling me people cook on those things?”), when she realized the toilet was separate from the bathroom and there was no sink in which to wash your hands (“You must be joking! I have to go to the kitchen to wash my hands? I better keep a lot of sanitizing gel in there!”) and when she first saw the Eiffel Tower from the balcony of the high-rise, and screamed so all of Paris heard her, we thought she was going to jump so high in delight, she’d go flying over the balcony and we’d lose her forever…to the City of Light (and Fog)!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Wednesday morning I am heading down to Ansouis in Provence for a real American Thanksgiving dinner with American friend, Barb Westfield and her invited friends. I’ll be writing you first from the TGV and then her gorgeous large and spacious village house that she rents when not making turkey (visit vrbo.com/30388). Meanwhile, if by chance you are spending Thanksgiving in Paris, then you may want to take advantage of having dinner chez “A Priori” — offering a wonderful Thanksgiving evening menu, all inclusive with cocktail and wine at 45 euro per person (Or do lunch for 36 euro). Reserve now, because it books up fast! Call +33 (0) 126.96.36.199.75.