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Le Temps Passe Vite

“Le temps passe vite” are words on everyone’s lips. The older we get, the faster time seems to rush past us. That’s natural — it’s all relative, isn’t it? One year compared to ten years on earth is ten percent, so imagine one year out of fifty years. That’s just two percent. Changes one’s perspective, doesn’t it?

Friends who come to Paris for just a few weeks at a time are always crying the “I can’t believe the time passed so quickly” blues, having just settled in and gotten the hang of life in Paris when they must repack their bags and wait for the shuttle bus to sweep them away back to Charles de Gaulle Airport. (The City Hall of Paris just released figures that out of 27 million visitors each year to Paris, 17 million are foreigners. Americans account for the highest percentage — 18%, followed by the British with 17%.)

Last night someone at the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group asked my partner and co-coordinator, Marie-Elisabeth Crochard, about how we met almost ten years ago. It seemed like just yesterday when she was the Director at the Berlitz Champs-Elysées and I was looking for a facility to host the group. She laughed when explaining that our relationship had outlasted two of her past husbands! “Le temps passe vite” we agreed.

It seems to pass even faster here in Paris. Over Thanksgiving turkey while visiting New York City, one of the guests divulged his dream of retiring to Saturday afternoons riding his lawn mower and relaxing in front of his television every evening after a meal someone else had cooked for him. I didn’t divulge my own thoughts…”how terribly boring, to watch life go by at such a slow pace that watching the grass grow could become one’s focus.”

You can tell from just these missives how no moment is spared, nor opportunity is missed here in the City of Light. It’s impossible, even if all you’re doing is watching the passers-by from a café table. They move a bit faster than grass, thank goodness. People who look forward to their retirement in Paris dream instead about filling their lives with cultural

experiences, such as visiting more museums, taking courses to paint or cook and traveling more…enriching their lives…not just letting their lives pass them by while riding a lawn mower.

Personally I find life in Paris like living inside a tornado — not inside the eye where all is calm while the winds swirl feverishly around, but swept on the tail of the winds, allowing the force of it all to carry me along. There is simply too much life to live in too short a time here on earth. Those ten years turned to fifty pretty quickly, each moment becoming a fraction smaller than it was a few moments ago.

So, it took a few moments before his words sunk in, the seller of the West Village New York City apartment on which we had made an offer a week earlier, when he said emphatically, “I’m trying to tell you that we’re accepting your offer! We want you to have it!”

We had so resigned ourselves to not being the lucky winners that my daughter had continued to visit available apartments. I remember when she was uttering her first words…not so long ago…and now she’s a grown woman soon to be the proud owner of a “pied-à-terre” in a tiny corner of New York she says makes “New York tolerable.” (Paris is tough to get out of one’s system.)

At first there was a rush of excitement from the news…and then fright settled in, my head whirling with thoughts of how would we fit it all in — every precious moment to accomplishing all there is to accomplish in one day, one week, one month, one year, one lifetime.

Then I remembered the lawn mower. If that’s the pace most appealing, then that’s where I’d be now, riding the mower up and down the grassy lawn…but we certainly wouldn’t be saying “le temps passe vite.” Instead…well…words escape me.

A la prochaine…  

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

 

P.S. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet! We’re meeting in Miami February 16 and 17 to teach you how to make your dream of living or owning property in Paris and France come true. You can fit it all in, too. Sign up now before the opportunity is forever gone. Visit /frenchproperty/conference/LIF_Miami_AF_Feb_2008/index.html

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