I’m feeling quite sentimental about leaving the Montorgueil neighborhood. It has such good energy: historic, gustatory, domestic, and (mostly) French. I think I’m going to like the new apartment (despite missing the terrace), and its location is convenient. But the neighborhood is 100% touristy, and rather down-market as well. Montorgueil is just a short walk and I’m sure I will be back, but one’s experience is much affected by the immediate neighborhood, and that’s about to take a dive. So my last few days have been tinged with sadness at the ending of a good thing.
The weather today was summery — warm and sunny except for a rain shower in the afternoon. I had both breakfast and lunch on my terrace, and in between got in a swim at the local pool.
The good weather has worked a remarkable transformation on both noise and privacy. When it was cold, everyone kept their windows closed and nobody ate outside (except for the cafes on the corner with overhead heaters). So the street was relatively quiet, and my own closed windows muffled whatever sound there was. Now everyone has thrown open their windows and all the restaurants have put tables out on the sidewalk. So the noise level is much higher, and you hear it all — music, conversation, tableware, etc. I find it a happy murmur, however, and I still haven’t needed earplugs to sleep. When I opened my window this morning there was a woman across the narrow street, perhaps twenty feet away, doing the same. I couldn’t help but say “bonjour” even though it seemed like an invasion of privacy. But later, as I was putting some laundry out to dry, another woman said hello herself from the adjacent terrace, only a few feet away. We had a nice little conversation (in French), including the fact that she has lived in that apartment all her life. When we finished, she hailed a man watering his plants across the street and started talking with him. This is indeed like a village, but in some ways even more intimate, since a dozen people can look into my windows, and vice versa.
After a nap I saw a puppet show at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19e that I had missed seeing the last time I was here. There are several “guignol” theaters around Paris, but this one, Theâtre Anatole Guignol, claims a particularly illustrious history, going back 173 years. The unique appeal of “guignol” is explained by a friend’s article in the Boston Globe.
Guignol and his mother organizing a picnic in the country.
Mot du Jour: “nids-de-poule” (le Parisien). Literally, “chicken nests,” but actually “potholes”.