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My flight to Paris was overbooked, so when a light flashed red as they scanned my boarding pass I feared the worst. But instead it was a lovely surprise: American had unexpectedly upgraded me to business class! After settling in to my luxurious seat with a glass of complimentary champagne I enjoyed a gourmet meal, then flattened out my astounding chair-bed for a refreshing (if all-too-short) sleep.

After an uneventful arrival I had a couple of hours to kill before my apartment would be ready, so I read A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment on my Kindle in the airport Sheraton restaurant.  When I got to the apartment there was another pleasant surprise. I expected to meet a real estate agent because the owners live in Algeria. But there they were — a lovely couple:

Dominique and François Pouchin

Dominique and François Pouchin

We had a nice conversation over beverages before they left for Algiers.  The apartment is delightful, and with a pleasant surprise: although the address, door and bedroom windows are on a quieter side street the living room windows open directly on my favorite street of all, rue Montorgueil:

Au Rochers de Cancale

Au Rocher de Cancale

Fans of Balzac will recognize this restaurant — in the next block from my apartment — from several references in Le Comedie Humaine. I ate instead last evening at La Bocca, a delightful restaurant in the neighborhood that the Pouchins had recommended highly.

I slept soundly last night in my comfortable new bed despite — as expected — quite a loud buzz from the adjacent streets. The whole area is pedestrianized so there is no traffic noise, except an occasional motorbike. But there are so many restaurants, cafés and strollers that the conversations add up. I have ear plugs, however, and the hubbub of happy humans is not inherently unpleasant.

This year’s apartment is on the 3eme étage — our fourth floor.  The three flights somehow seem much less than half as daunting as the five flights to last year’s apartments. I’m not sure the term “scamper” would apply but I lugged my 50-pound suitcase up the stairs without difficulty.

Off today to do some errands — getting a SIM card for my phone and setting up my monthly métro pass. I’m also going to look into whether I can get a wi-fi hot spot since the apartment only has wired Internet access.

Le mot du jour:  Muguet de mai – our lily of the valley.  It is traditional to buy or give these flowers on May 1 to bring happiness.  Yesterday they were being sold on almost every street corner.