Our recent escapade to Brittany on the Western French seaside was as relaxing as ever. This is a very special place. Something about it is just far too charming. On the seaside in Brittany. You close your eyes and you hear the sound of the waves when the windows are open. There’s always a fresh breeze. The house was built by my boyfriend’s paternal grandfather, on land that belonged to his lover, just on the seaside. The house itself is a subject of reoccurring family feud, haha, but something about that makes it that much more special.
This house was always meant for vacation. A place to relax and be with the [big] family. There’s a whopping one and only one enamel bathtub to go along with the house that sleeps 13 or so. In the summer everyone rinses off after being in the ocean in the outdoor showers in the front yard… so bohemian they are indeed. There’s no carpet, no empty walls, and no shelf without an old photo framed or vintage trinket or some kind. There is one long table in the living and dining area, for enormous feasts with cousins, their families, and friends. Long story short, this place is filled with so much love, and has been since the 60s.
I’m not sure why, but a place with so much history and family fabulousness makes me think more and more about the future. Ironic? How we’ll come here often, hang out with the other cousins and their families as per usual, perhaps come here with our own family someday. It’s a place that’s engraved pretty damn deep into Louis’s DNA, and I must say, I don’t think I’ve been somewhere quite as peaceful. Perhaps it’s because my family in the States doesn’t have this sort of place that my childhood self knew, or that existed before the existence of my siblings and I on this crazy earth. It’s that familiar feeling of being in this kind of space that I’m not quite used to, but I sure do like it.
Finally, a few photos of our nest just northwest of Paris. We made the decision to move outside of the Paris limits last fall (for Parisians it’s a “big deal” believe it or not). Needless to say, we couldn’t be happier where we are, and in our little nest. Asnières is like a village, filled with families and buildings that look like those of Paris… and my commute is shorter to work than when I lived IN Paris. Bref.
As an expat in Paris having a nest is what grounds me. Really, though. This space we have made our own, that reflects so much of each of our lives really makes Paris even better for me. It’s filled with new memories, and the walls and shelves are adorned with older ones. Everything I have is here in France (a few specific things like my artwork when I was a kid, or my oboe and recital music books and orchestra shiww, a few knick knacks and maybe a quilt…). It’s a pretty crazy thing to think about, but I suppose after 6 1/2 years one’s life solidifies in that place.
Redecorating the place has been just the best time, really a true hoot, and we are loving having so much light compared to our last nest in the 16th. I think we’re set for a while. Much more unneeded thrifting to be done, as per usual…
This year seems to be all about transitions. The biggest one coming up is leaving our nest of 3 years for a new one. A new opportunity to re arrange the bookshelf, an opportunity to put new holes in new walls (my favorite part) and for things like finding an excuse to buy wallpaper. Our little nest in southwest Paris has served us well, but as we grow and become big kids, a step up only seemed natural.
As a sidenote, can I just say that apartment hunting in Paris is FAR from easy… and it’s basically a full time job. Landlords look only at the paper – the salary – and not where you work, what you do or who you are as a person or if they just get a good feeling when they meet you (Ok, *ideals*, but it would be cool if they didn’t JUST look at the 7 digits in your contract, right?). Certain statuses in France are not favored, cough, like the one my boyfriend works under in the cinema industry, add being a foreigner into the mix and it makes for one complicated application in the eyes of the everyday real estate agent, and no matter what your situation they still want guarantors that live and work on French soil that are not retired and that are clearly prosperous bread winners that own property (which will forever blow my mind in a city so rich in culture and with quite a population of immigrants).
Bref, we now see the light at the end of the tunnel could not be more anxious to discover the larger Paris just beyond the 75’s limits and still so spoiled by public transport. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Paris has become seemingly smaller, while becoming literally bigger. The borders are stretching and people are venturing even farther out from Ile de la Cité for various reasons. To top it off, I feel like within the city limits is becoming more and more unbearable to live comfortably. Times have certainly changed, and even good jobs aren’t enough for my generation for the price of living in some cities, even à deux. But alas, I’m not complaining.
I often ask myself how people do it. Having a certain idea of what people earn in the industry that I work in, I am still trying to put the puzzle pieces together. Where do these people get the funding and guarantors needed to rent these humongous apartments in the city? I guess these people are winning at the big game of Monopoly.
To say the least, I’m just proud to be making ends meet on my very own in this big bad city that is my home.
Anne and I went for Sunday brunch at the new hoppin’ Pavillon des Canaux yesterday, and I must say the exterior and interior really caught my eye. We also had the pleasure of surprising the beautiful Lauren, rocking her barista skills.
The canalkeeper’s house was taken over recently by Sinny & Ooko, the mastermind’s behind La REcyclerie, and made into a local hangout with drinks + simple grub. Situated on the quai de Loire, just on the Bassin de la Villette, le Pavillon des Canaux is a fully decorated and magical house with tables inside and out, perfect for events or just your brunch, lunch or coffee in the afternoon with dear ones.
Each of the rooms is decorated with colorful patterns, wallpapers and light fixtures, artwork on the walls, flowers in contrasting vases and perfect wooden tables… each with its own flare. The door to the hustly bustly kitchen upstairs is wide open – with checkered tiling on the floor might I add – with formica tables covered with the daily specials on mix and match plates. Every one of the living rooms caught my fancy, with the pops of color and flea market-like trinkets on shelves and tables left and right. It’s a cozy DIY haven and you’ll feel like you’re in a country home far far away from Paris when you pay a visit.
The 24 euro brunch includes : bottomless warm bevvies, juice and tartines, with a big plate filled with salad, homefries and an english muffin topped with a fried egg & bacon. Oh, and bottomless cake!
If you’re going for brunch on the weekend, I suggest arriving before 1pm, as they can be quite busy and even potentially run out of brunch grub. A stroll down the canal afterwards is a must, especially if the sun is shining.
Le Pavillon des Canaux
39 quai de Loire, 75019
Métro: Laumière (5)