21 April 2015

We've arrived. Where are we?

Our apartment on rue Marcadet in the 18e arrondissement is a delight. Walking through the neighbourhood after leaving the Lamark metro station while making our way from the airport yesterday, gave us a wonderful introduction to one of the most densely populated arrondissements in the city.

Few, if any buildings in the area are less than 100 years old; ours was built in 1908. We are on the 3rd floor, which means the 4th floor in Canada.

Our building boasts an old, cage-type lift which can hold 2 persons comfortably, or 3 people who will soon get to know each other intimately; luggage not included in either instance. Many apartment buildings in Paris are walk-ups only, so this is a bonus.

The apartment has 3 metre high ceilings and a wooden floor that announcing itself with every step. The kitchen is bright and roomy and unlike our last trip to Paris, we  have a bedroom that is quite separate from the rest of the apartment. Our view is of the relatively quiet and narrow street.

A dusty playground is nearby, otherwise little green space. There are however, many shops, cafes, bistros, schools and other amenities that come with an old urban neighbourhood. We are in an area often called Montmartre and its history of bohemians, absinthe and writers. Today, it seems, at first reckoning, a diverse community of families, singles, young and old. We are away from the tourist streets of Montmartre; this a neighbourhood of Parisiens de Paris.

On our first night in the apartment the famous Paris garbage collection occurred on our street. A truck appeared, bright, flashing lights illuminating the street, and attendants running about collecting bins. The noise was extreme.

On a previous visit to Paris five years ago, without knowing what was going on, I thought hooligans were smashing every parked car on the street; the noise was of a battle zone. Instead the mechanized lifting of trash containers, then the grinding and digesting of the garbage into the truck, surreal indeed, moved along the street fairly quickly. It was almost comforting this time.

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2015.

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