Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Le Terrace

It has been hot here in Paris. My guess is that 30 degrees C is unseasonably hot for Paris as this city is on the same latitude as Vancouver, BC. I think all the pavement turns the city into an oven. But then again, according to my iPhone weather app, everyone is in the thick of a heatwave. I'll never complain about spending any amount of time in this city regardless of what time of year it is. However this beach town girl is a bit at a loss of what to do with two kids when it is so HOT in the CITY. Last year we had literally 3 months of 78 degree weather with a slight breeze. One day it rained. One day it was 96 degrees and we all thought we were going to die. Perhaps that was because it was the day that we had to collect Nana from Charles de Gaulle airport by way of the RER which has NO a/c. That was a delight. Other than those two days we had more perfect weather than we could have ever imagined. This year, we're getting heat that I did not expect.

Thankfully for us, our apartment is á la deuxieme étage. Why is that important? Well in many of the buildings here there are little terraces on the 2nd and 5th floors and the others simply have floor to ceiling windows. I know, such a shame, floor to ceiling windows, but a terrace is even more delightful. Last year we were on the 1st floor for our first apartment and the 4th floor for our second apartment so no terraces were to be had then. This is our third, and perhaps our best apartment here in Paris. It is smaller than the others but more well appointed and much more comfortable. It is in a perfect neighborhood, close to multiple metros, and is a building full of families with children. The latter point could be considered a plus or a minus depending on the time of day and whether the little terror upstairs is awake. Last week the kids and I came home at 4 pm to find a parade of 4 year old girls in Disney Princess costumes, including massive make-up, parading up to the 4th floor for a party.  It feels in NYC terms, very Upper West Side and we love it.

Yesterday was so hot that I had the curtains drawn all day and by the time we got home in the evening it was still so hot I didn't bother to open the windows. You see considering our latitude, it stays light here until nearly 11:00 pm. I don't know the official sunset time but consider this, on 14 July we will celebrate the national holiday here in France and the fireworks are not scheduled until 10:45 pm when it is dark. That is 3 weeks from now.

With my deuxieme étage apartment terrace, I have taken to sitting on le balcon during the evenings and watching life pass by. My husband is busy at work until very late these days considering it is the end of Q2 and most of the people he's managing (i.e. coaxing to get all their shit in on time) are in the U.S. Tonight he's had late meetings which have turned into a dinner at a local bistro. I know. How terrible.

Me? I've set up camp with a couple of chairs on my terrace to enjoy the evening breeze and to quietly listen to the people next door enjoy their dinner on their balcony. I've sent my children to bed to giggle and read and hopefully fall asleep at at a reasonable hour. It is 10:00 pm here and all I hear around me are the clanging of dishes as people sit down for their evening meal. There is quiet conversation from apartment windows, jovial laughter from bistros around the corner, and happy people strolling along the Rue, and I wonder to myself why I feel the need to have sleeping children. After all, the people next door have a 3-year old and he's still up. I watch families walk by seemingly full from a nice dinner somewhere, with kids in tow young enough, that by American standards, should be well enough in bed. Most are groups of families. Some are kids with just mom or dad. Many of them are ice cream in hand. Like the dad with his three daughters who just looked up and smiled at me. Bon Soirs were exchanged.

Parisian life makes me happy. The sound of vespas and cars with diesel engines roaring down the street, the smell of warm pavement and bakeries, and the knowledge that even though people here don't outwardly show it, they are enjoying life to its fullest. Á demain.

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