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The unique feature of this year’s petit séjour is that the first part is en famille. I’m staying for ten days in the 15ème arrondissement with my first cousin Jackie, her daughter Lisa and Lisa’s four-year-old daughter Aya.

Jackie, Aya and Lisa in our intensively furnished Airbnb in the 15ème

Our apartment is lovely, well-designed and filled with light. It’s also filled with a fascinating collection of bric-a-brac. The location is safe and quiet, well served with grocery stores and boulangeries, albeit completely lacking in anything that might interest a tourist (I haven’t noticed one since I’ve been here). We chose the area to be close to our friend — Lisa’s former partner — Ali. I’ll move to central Paris next week, but I have to admit that living here is perfectly pleasant, and perfectly Parisien.

The day I arrived the weather was dreadful, cold, windy and rainy. The flight was early but there was a SNAFU. The plane landed in the distant reaches of Charles de Gaulle airport, and the five buses sent to take us to the terminal left me behind, along with two dozen other passengers (and the entire crew). We waited for ten minutes or so on the freezing exit steps until the crew invited us back into the plane, where it was at least half an hour more before a sixth bus finally arrived to rescue us.

The was also a SNAFU concerning the address. Lisa had correctly told me that our building was at « 15 quater, rue A___ B____. ». I didn’t know what to make of quater, which isn’t in my Larousse, so I ignored it … to my sorrow! I was well acquainted with 15 bis, which means a second entry with the same number, somewhat like 15A. And I congratulated myself on having also encountered the enigmatic ter, which would in America be 15B. But Lisa had to explain by telephone, after the door code didn’t work at 15, that quater is yet another entry beyond ter!


15 Bis

15 Ter

15 Quater

After quater I personally give up but for the curious I offer this link. Jackie called me with the same problem when she arrived later in the day. I’m afraid I was laughing too hard to be properly sympathetic!  2019 Update: So far absolutely everyone (except one Uber driver) has been confused by Quater the first time they visit, even when we’ve tried to explain it beforehand.

One of the peak experiences my first year in Paris — 2010 — was a walk across half the city with Lisa on May Day. We planned my arrival to allow us to take another May Day walk, adjusting gracefully to the changed route of the march and the inclusion of my new hyper-radical first-cousin-twice-removed Aya. Luckily, the weather was much improved, so we had a delightful walk, after a longer bus ride than we had expected. We arrived at Place d’Italie a bit after the main demonstration, but still managed to borrow a red flag for a classic photo op.

Aya waving the Socialist banner to demand equal rights for all!

Zhizhong was busy at work that afternoon — on a jour férié ?!! — but he joined us later for a lovely reunion dinner, at Virgule, near Place d’Italie.

Jackie, Lisa, Aya, Bob and Zhizhong at our May Day dinner.

The adventure in dining begins!

That afternoon we noticed some curious posters, for another demonstration next Saturday.

Google Translate explains that la fête à Macron means “the party in [President] Macron.” Sounds like fun!

Mot du jour: faire la fête à, to beat up.