Friday, May 3, 2013

My French Home, or What You Get for 1,000 Euros a Month

This is my living room. It is actually pretty roomy for a French apartment. It is furnished in Ikea grays and white and has a laminate wood floor. Opposite the sofa, is a flat-screened TV with cable. The door on the left leads to, two steps up, a long narrow room with a toilet. The passage on the right leads to stairs that go up to a room with the shower and sink. Yes - I agree that it is weird to have the two rooms separate, but I am adapting. The apartment's  entrance door is to the right of the photo. The window leads to a shaft next to the stairs.

The door on the left here leads down one step to the bedroom. The strange reeds mark the edge of the kitchen, which is also one step down. I think they are there to prevent accidental falls off the step.

The "American" kitchen has everything I need. I'm not sure what makes it American; what is a French kitchen like? The floor near the window is about 12 inches lower than the floor below the step from the living room. It is a bit weird but I am adapting. The counters are substantially higher than my low Mexican counters. I almost feel like I need a step-stool to cook or work at the counters. The kitchen contains plenty of dishes and glassware to have a party for 12, including glasses for white wine, red wine, and highball glasses. I guess that shows what is important here.

My bedroom contains a comfortable double bed with large square French pillows. It has a cute old dresser that is painted white, but the middle drawer seems to be painted shut. It has a window that looks out to the backs of the buildings that face the famous Cours Mirabeau - "the" place to hang out in town, especially if you enjoy paying 14 euros for a salad. Actually, though, if you just want to be seen where everyone else wants to be seen, a glass of wine is reasonable - just a bit more than an entire bottle of a local vintage (4-5 euros.) I do have to say right up front here that local wine is the best deal I have found so far. I am working on a bottle of rose that cost 3 euros.
Upstairs, in what is essentially the attic of this five-floor building, is a small but bright and sunny room that I have already named the yoga room. It has a large closet with built-in shelves and drawers and a window that also looks toward Cours Mirabeau. The doorway reflected in the mirror leads to the other half of my bathroom. The shower is "paved" with smooth river rocks that massage my feet as I shower - an idea I will probably copy at home. I didn't bring my yoga mat, but I do have yoga sox that don't let my feet slip on the floor - not as good as a mat, but it will do.
So now that you know what my apartment is like, you will be able to picture me here as I write over the next two months. The main thing that I did not mention is that I have to climb four flights of stairs to get to my front door. I think of it as pulmonary therapy for my asthmatic lungs.

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