At Home in Paris

Love Locks on a Seine bridge

Every day in Paris, Ken and I overloaded our minds and benumbed our feet.

Exhausted, we trudged back to our apartment in the St. Germaine district. One late afternoon, looking forward to a hot shower and a soft chair, we approached our blue door, punched in the code and pushed the door. It did not open. Locked out.

We were relieved to see our landlord, Ivan, walk up. Fortunately he lived in the building and was as eager as we were to get in. He suggested we go to nearby Mariage Freres and have some tea while we waited for an electrician to come and fix things. We dawdled over tea and cakes until 5:30, then pulled out the cell phone and called Ivan. “Not yet,” he said, “Why not have dinner?” So we walked back to “our” cafe at the corner near our apartment and ordered the best French fries in the world, and hot chocolate, and later soup and salad.

Finally, the  lock was fixed and we could go “home.”

The next morning, a perplexed resident was trying to open the door as we went out. The electrician just thought he had fixed the problem. What did we care? We felt so at home that we gave a Parisian shrug. We went to “our” grocery store, bought Brie and pears and headed for “our” park, with a few stops at “our” galleries and bookstores along the way.

The name of the landlord has been changed.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

17 thoughts on “At Home in Paris

  1. Fantastic little story! I love how when you rent a place in a city the neighbourhood quickly becomes *yours*.

    But I’m so sorry, I just realised I forgot to leave a comment! 🙁 It’s been a crazy month so please forgive me, as I have visited your lovely story before.

    I’m actually just doing the rounds now to let entrants know we’ve got the final scores in at last from one of the judges and we’re about to make the announcement for Nov & post the December contest details. Thanks again for entering! 🙂

    1. Hi all –
      Paris is such a wonderful place and each time I go, I find something new again! Last time it was a wonderful antique book and paper shop where they had journals and magazines on every topic including newspapers on Van Gogh, Monet etc – you name it – they had it – and their basement was on 3 floors!In fact I met an American man there from New York who had come over specially to visit it!
      Vera Marie can let you know more about me and what I do and all is so very interesting!
      A bientot!

  2. I love this……such a lovely, unhurried, delicious afternoon for you! The food you ate – exactly what I would have reveled in – I imagined myself there along with you.

    1. Christine: What a lovely thing for you to say.
      And Jennifer, how I WISH I owned that apartment in Paris–well maybe not with the electricity going out and the elevator not working, and the traffic problems on the street……but anyway, it was only a week’s rental. Anybody can do it and more and more are renting a home away from home through Vacation Rental by Owner (that I used) and HomeAway (the latter owns the former and is a BIG contributor to Passports With Purpose. Just had to get that in.) So Jennifer–any time you want to “own” an apartment in Paris–go for it! For a week or two at least.

  3. aaahhh the dreams of Paris. I never saw the locks on the bridge in Paris though I’ve seen similar statements of love in other locations including a long bridge in Stockholm, on Lovers Lane on the great walk in the Cinque Terre (Italy) and in Wollongong, an hours drive south of Sydney.

    1. When you go to Paris, you must rent an apartment, and shop in the nearby grocery store. The apt. kitchens are generally just a two-burner stove and a tiny fridge, but with a grocery store and patisserie just down the street, you don’t need to store much. And I’ll bet you would enjoy the challenge of cooking in that so-called ktichen!

    1. The only problem with little kids would have been finding a bathroom–and I’d probably have had to forego Mariage Freres, but there were plenty of things nearby to keep them entertained. African art stores by the dozen, the gorgeous playgrounds at the Luxembourg Gardens, gelato stores, and even closer–the Seine and watching the boats. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate being able to be the grown up, selfish traveler!

  4. To celebrate a milestone birthday, two friends and I shared a wonderful apartment for a week on Rue des Ecoles in the 5th. The apartment had two balconies overlooking the street, and was just a block or so from the Cluny. We enjoyed coffee in the mornings and wine in the evenings at the cafe on the corner. Such a nice feeling to walk home after a busy day and recognize “our” place!

    1. Fantastic. Seems so idyllic, doesn’t it? I also continue to marvel at the wonderful little house we rented in Siphnos for a week. You really get to know the quirks of a place living like that. Nothing idyllic about getting locked out, but its part of life.

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