Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just an Ordinary Day

I may have mentioned that we don't tend to get out of the house at the crack of dawn. The fold of noon would be more accurate, in fact. We had no particular plans for the day on Friday but I happened to read that the harvest festival called the Fête des Vendanges was currently happening in Montmartre and thought we might go check it out. Yes, there is a real vineyard still operating in Montmartre.

It was a bit of a ride from our place, but we decided to go up there and have lunch at a wine bar that Clotilde recommends near Abbesses and then wander a bit. Abbesses, by the way, is said to be the deepest metro station in Paris. There is an elevator to get up to the top if you don't want to walk up. We took the elevator up to the surface; when we returned to go down a bit later on it was out of service. Talk about good timing.

Discovering that the recommended wine bar was closed we sat down at a café and got into a conversation with a young couple who looked like they'd had a hard night. In fact, they told us, he works at the Moulin Rouge and they'd partied after the last show. What does he do there? He's a habilleur, a dresser. This raises some interesting questions, it seems to me.  Other than fluffing a few feathers, what can he possibly do for an entire shift? Aren't those dancers nude? Isn't that the point? Gene offered to relieve him for a night or two, just to research the issue.

After saying good bye to our lunch mates we went on to see the apartment we had rented from photos (and reports of friends) but had never actually seen before we committed to spend six months and lots of rent money there. In St-Germain des Près, it's very different from our rustic little nest in the Marais. How different you'll have to wait to find out. We move in on November 1.

Later we were on the metro when my cellphone rang. It was our neighbor S., one of the group with whom we were to have dinner, sounding desperate. She had locked herself out of her apartment.

Now, this is something of a big deal in Paris. For some reason locksmiths have decided that their path to early retirement is paved with opening and replacing locks. We had heard tales of people paying many hundreds of euros to be let into their own apartments. After considering climbing in a window (too high, we didn't have a long enough ladder), shimmying the lock with a credit card like in the movies (we didn't have the knack, apparently) or simply crying (also ineffective) S. finally called a locksmith who agreed to come quickly and said it would cost between 100-350 Euros.

Going out to dinner was clearly not going to happen, so the six of us (the rest had shown up during the proceedings) settled into our kitchen, found pasta, veggies and leftover roast chicken and actually made a pretty good meal. S. however had lost her appetite. The locksmith had shown up, drilled the lock, thereby making it unusable, and told her it would cost 900 Euros to put a new one in! She told him she wouldn't pay any more than the amount she had been quoted and threw him out. The next morning a friend of hers went out to buy a lock and installed it in half an hour. It cost 147 euros.

Hang onto those keys.

Note: I've been having Internet problems and may not be posting as regularly until I figure it out. 

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