I am lucky to be in a place where I can easily walk to most amenities: aside from the bakery and pharmacy there is the little grocery store, the laundromat (which I used this week for my winter comforter), a few restaurants, my general practitioner, two furniture stores and several hairdressers. And when I strike up a conversation with my pharmacist or baker, I am glad to have formed these little casual relationships with them all. It's not like we hang out or anything, but we appreciate the cordial exchange. The shopkeepers have seen Juliette go from newborn to shy toddler to chatty first-grader. Now she eagerly (though sometimes it requires prodding) says "bonjour" and "au revoir" to them. The area is small enough that we get to know each other but large enough that there is still some anonymity.
And though there are days I am blasé or have my head in the clouds, I love discovering new nooks and crannies or appreciating the architecture. It's close enough to the town center to have some pretty bourgeois buildings but is also a working class neighborhood with some government or subsidized housing (like my own). Here are a few things I (re)discovered this week in mon quartier.
|I love blue doors! Wish I could live at number 8.|
|Leafy entrance to the park.|
|Arches make everything elegant.|
|The abbey (not Downton!).|
|Wrought iron balconies and imposing doors.|
|The view from the alley.|
|Cherub ornamenting a window.|
|I pass under this statue all the time but roadworks made me cross the road to see it better.|
|Meandering streets on a picture perfect day.|
|Passion flower growing on a south-facing wall.|
|The same passion flower vine covering the wall.|
|One-way streets are annoying for cars but lovely for quaint views.|
|Colorful balconies bighten drab buildings.|