February 12th, 2007


A Garret in Paris

It's just what I imagined it would be from our friend's description. A genuine garret, 7 floors up, maybe 18 feet long and 12 across, steeply pitched ceiling, age-blackened beams, a tiny balcon (not for the acrophobe--luckily, it's too cold to be an issue) and roof-tops and chimney-pots as far as the eye can see. We were wakened in the night by rain pattering on the window, but it had the great kindness to stop before church bells woke us a second time at 10:30.

There was even some sun in the late morning-early afternoon.

It's a lovely place to work, even though (or possibly because) the internet access turns out to be only for PC users (or Mac users who are more sophisticated in the ways of figuring out other people's systems than we are). There is, however, a cafe with free wifi around the corner, where I will post this when I get a chance.

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Whenever I come to Paris, I want to live here. Everywhere you look, it's beautiful (except the Pompidou center, and that's so extravagantly ugly that it's almost--almost--just plain silly). Almost everything is built out of a golden-warm stone. Now that most of it has been washed free of the pollution-gray grime of ages, it glows, especially in the afternoon light. Notre Dame is free of scaffolding for the first time in ages. The towers, which are freshly cleaned, look bleached; the facade, which they did in time for the Revolution Bicentienary, is much less startling, having acquired a dimming patina in the intervening years. The back end is still streaky, the sides are black, making up a whole patchwork of colors and states of repair--but then, Notre Dame was never all in the same state at the same time at any point in its history. The spire of Ste Chapelle, on the other hand, is unrepentantly black with soot. As requested, I said hello to it for lareinenoire. I shall offer more personal greetings if we actually go into it instead of just walking past.