After three and a half months of preparation, stress and excitement, our move to Paris was upon us. Our flight was scheduled to leave on the evening of the 31st of December and arrived on the evening of the 1st of January. Celebrating the New Year on the plane and starting the New Year in Paris seemed the perfect plan. The cars – one van and one sedan – arrived right on time and the drivers assisted in loading our 9 bags and two dog crates. Music Express is to be commended on the excellent service they have always provided us and in particular on this day when we were overloaded with cargo. Arriving at the airport we checked in our luggage and then the dogs and waited for our flight. I can’t say that I wasn’t worried about the dogs but I knew Air France would take good care of them. I was reassured of this when the pilot came out to let me know that he knew to dogs were on board and that they would be well cared for. A couple of hours into our flight, the captain announced the New Year to everyone and played a special French New Year’s song. It was quite festive and both Mitch and I knew this was the beginning of an extraordinary adventure.
There is so much I could write about our arrival but none of that is as important as when we first set eyes on our new home. Until now we had only seen it through video and photos taken by our friend Amelie so we were naturally concerned that it might not live up to our expectations. The camera can sometimes make things look better than they actually are – just consider some of our Facebook friends’ photos :-). That was most certainly not the case this time. It was spectacular! As we turned up our street the Eiffel Tower was brilliantly illuminated in the distance almost welcoming us home. The entire neighborhood is comprised of old Haussmann style buildings built during the late 19th century under the rule of Napoleon III. It was like a scene from ‘Midnight in Paris’ as we arrived at our building and we stepped out into the brisk night air.
With the elevator being only large enough for two people, we decided to bring everything up to the landing before we actually entered the apartment. Together, we opened the door and stepped back in time to a magnificent entry hall of parquet floors, high ceilings and amazing moldings. To the right was the double sojourn or living room and dining room which are separated by an archway. Each room has its own unique moldings and fireplaces. The dining room has a marble mantel, parquet floors (as does the entire apartment) and moldings of delicate flowers and bows that circle the entire room. The living room has a floor to ceiling fireplace made of hand carved wood and a beautiful mirror. The dentil moldings create a wonderful visual that brings the entire room together in a warm and elegant manner. Stepping out on the dining room balcony, we can view the Eiffel Tower just beyond the UNESCO Building Complex and Ecole Militaire. The kitchen is small by US standards but quite large by French standards. Being completely renovated, I can’t wait until our things arrive so I can start baking again. Each of the three bedrooms has beautiful moldings and fireplaces and are situated on the courtyard side of the building providing for quite evenings and restful sleep.
Beyond the extraordinary architecture of the apartment, we were completely blow away by what Ameilie had done for us. She had access to the apartment during the month of December and was quite busy making preparations. We had arranged for mattresses but that would just not do. She rented a truck and she and a friend brought some antique bed frames for us along with a dining room table and chair along with a couple of make-shift lounge chairs in the living room. The dining room table was covered with confetti cut in the shape of Bonne Année. She had filled the fridge with food and water and left treats throughout the kitchen for us and the dogs. It was such a wonderful surprise and was just the icing on the proverbial cake. It was a rush of excitement and joy at the culmination of years of wanting this and months of preparing for it. While there is so much more to tell, it will have to wait until next time. I have included a few photos for you and rest assured there will be many more to come. The first are of our luggage and dog crates prior to our departure. There are two shots of Tink (on the chair) and Gertrude (with the hat) as they dealt with being jet lagged. Then there are a couple of shots I took early in the morning. One of the living room as the light shone in and the other two are looking out of the window at the buildings across the street. Enjoy.