“Summer in the City We Call “”Paris”””
My sister arrived from New Orleans last week and it’s been non-stop on-the-go to the point of blisters on her feet and sentiments of feeling more like a real Paris resident than the visitor she usually is. It’s a marvel how the “Parisiennes” manage the cobblestone streets in flip-flops, but they do, and she is one of them, while working with me to get “Le Palace des Vosges” ready for an official launch in just a few short weeks.
For two days, we scoured the aisles, departments and various levels of the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (known by everyone in Paris and beyond as the “BAY-AASH-VAY”), purchasing housewares for this luxury fractional ownership property that will be ready for occupancy September 2nd. This is one-stop shopping, but not in the way we Americans think of it — like going to “Bed, Bath and Beyond” or “Target” where you push a huge basket up and down the aisles, fill it up, line up at the cash register, pay for it all and then if you want it delivered or set aside to pick it up later, they roll it away for you until you’re ready.
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Tonight… Adrian Leeds and French Property Consultation on
HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL.
August 10, 2009 10:00 PM ET/PT
August 10, 2009 2:00 AM ET/PT
September 01, 2009 10:00 PM ET/PT
September 01, 2009 2:00 AM ET/PT
Parler Paris Nouvellettre® continued…
No, it’s different in France and different at the BHV. Every item that gets set aside must be written up on a separate ticket within the department from which it comes by a different sales person who is responsible for just that department. Finding a sales person who can write the ticket is often no easy task. We left there exhausted, but accomplished and with a huge stack of papers — amusing, but true. On Saturday, with our contractor, we retrieved the entire load of items from their pick-up point on rue de la Verrerie to deliver to the site to later install.
Sunday our housekeepers cleaned the apartment from top to bottom and this week, we will be unpacking all the BHV goodies to turn the newly born apartment into a real home. I’m not sure this is what my sister had in mind for a week’s vacation in the City of Light, but timing is everything…and this was our good or bad timing, depending on how one might view it.
August is a very strange period in Paris. In some parts of the city, you’d think it was a ghost town, but in others, a beehive of activity. We could hardly make our way through the tourists in front of Notre Dame snapping pictures and buying souvenirs, but slowly we inched across then down boulevard Saint-Michel to the Luxembourg Gardens. There on a Saturday afternoon we searched for a taste of summertime and found the park alive with visitors under the shade of the chestnut trees taking in the fresh aroma of the flowers in full bloom. It was pure heaven.
After a filling Sunday brunch at Café Charlot, which is possibly the best in Paris and happens to be “tout près” (very near, at the corner of rue de Bretagne and rue Charlot in the 3rd), photographer Michael Honneger arranged to do a photo shoot in my newly acquired studio apartment before the demolition started this morning. His handsome male model greeted us with the most piercing blue eyes I’d ever seen. The backdrop of the vacant apartment with its terrace overlooking Le Marais appealed to Michael’s artistic sense and now we await the results of the shoot for a record of the “before” as well as his rendition of this striking young man.
That evening at Paris Plage there was one patch of ‘sand’ amid the cobblestones along the water’s edge between “ponts” Louis-Philippe and Marie where we spread our blankets long before sundown to watch the boats go by and toast the summer in Paris. It was surprisingly quiet considering the warm weather. The sun fell slowly, the boating hordes waved to us as they slipped by and we passed around the sushi, cheese, chocolate and strawberries, snapping photos of ourselves — the happy, relaxed Parisians and visitors.
Walking home we took Place des Vosges as our route and stopped at “Le Palace” to see the results of the housekeepers’ work. The antique copper pots above the massive black stove are now shining brightly and the crystal in the chandeliers gleaming with prism-like light. The claw-foot tub is begging for bubbles and the fireplace is glowing with the flick of a switch. We sat there for well over an hour on the spring green velour sofa and violet brocade arm chairs among a sea of fluffy pillows, just taking in the beauty of the setting, the space and the decor, not wanting to leave…to just settle in for the night.
But we couldn’t. It was time to head home and call it a day…a weekend, a month, a season, a year, a life…in the City of Love, the City of Light, the City we call “Paris.”
Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville: http://www.bhv.fr/
Le Palace des Vosges: http://www.palacedesvosges.com/
Photo of the BHV by Erica Simone: http://www.ericasimone.com/
Michael Honneger: http://www.michaelhoneggerphotos.com/
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. The Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group will be open on August 15th, in spite of the holiday, “Assomption.” It’s the quietest day of the year in Paris as the ‘double whammy’ of being both mid-vacation period and holiday, but we won’t let that stop us from meeting and enjoying the tranquility. Visit http://www.parlerparlor.com for more information.