Another chapter in our Parisian adventure is underway, although strictly speaking we are out of Paris now. Moving day went without a hitch; the hired minivan turned out to be less mini and more van and our experience with the official Authorisation to Park for the purpose of house-moving was amusingly French; it happened perfectly half the time and not at all the rest. No indication of a special parking arrangement appeared in the street outside our old apartment but on arriving at the new address we found two formidably official looking NO PARKING signs bearing a copy of our personal parking permit stationed by the roadside.
Most drivers had completely ignored them and parked anyway, but we still found enough space for our hired van and completed a swift unload of our belongings. Despite the absence of reserved parking at the old place there was no problem, we simply followed the local custom and parked where it suited. The boss of the painting gang working on our old apartment building that day had parked alongside us and directed traffic and moving operations as part of his supervisory routine – which incidentally did not seem to include painting.
Day one at Neuilly the telecommunications technician arrived bang on time and with supreme efficiency and expertise connected us up with the same industrial strength wifi, VOIP phone and TV that we’ve enjoyed for the last 3 years. Top marks this time Orange.
Week two and we are still wondering just how we have managed to accumulate so much stuff in only 3 years here. What didn’t get thrown out has been unpacked and a place found for almost everything in our 53 square metre apartment; an increase of 5 square metres on the last apartment. Plus, best of all, we have a balcony with a view onto gardens and large trees lining both sides of the boulevard. It’s a treat to look outside and see the sky, the trees and watch the world go by.
Our new neighbourhood on the edge of Neuilly where it borders with Levallois-Perret is very different to the much loved corner of the 17th arrondissement that we left behind. We’ve exchanged the lively cosmopolitan bustle of Avenue St Ouen and the food merchants on rue des Moines for the leafy bourgeois suburb of Neuilly with its wide green boulevards, modern apartment buildings and the American Hospital of Paris just along the road. For the moment we are missing the friendly local bakery, the cheesemonger and the butcher but we are discovering other pleasures in our new neighbourhood. It’s only a 5 minute walk to the Ile de la Jatte for a stroll alongside the river Seine where it loops up and around the western edge of Paris. House boats, some of which look decidedly like house mansions, line the river and the Impressionist Walk through the park marks the places where several famous painters set up their easel and paint box to capture the scene. Georges Seurat’s paintings Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, and the Bathers at Asnières are two of the best known.
The reasons for choosing the new apartment are many and varied and include that my DB can still walk to his office from here. Since it’s a 15 minute longer walk he now picks up a Vélib (the subscription hire-bike) part way and completes the journey à vélo. We might be technically out of Paris, but with the nearest Line 3 Metro stop a mere 8 minutes walk away we are still connected to all the joys of the City of Light; the Paris adventure continues. À bientôt.