Our building is beautiful. Classically Parisian. Haussmannian design. It has seven floors and a pretty blue door. We’re on the top floor. Our walls are slanted in because it’s the roof apartment. If I lean out the window I can touch the smooth slate shingles, and I can look down at the balcony below where just the other day I caught sight of my elegant, elderly neighbor pruning her pretty pink geraniums.
Across the boulevard the tall chestnut trees are changing from green to yellow, orange, and brown. Autumn leaves fall upon the graves of deceased writers, poets, rock stars, and composers. Sometimes we go for walks in the Pere Lachaise cemetery and collect the fallen chestnuts. But mostly we amble slowly along the cobbled lanes and admire the achingly beautiful graves. Gothic tombs stand like tiny chapels, offering a peak at a stained glass window and maybe a prayer bench decaying with dampness. The cemetery’s layout doesn’t make it easy for us to do too much exploring with the pousette (French for stroller) but we’ve gotten to know our routes. One takes us past the writer Colette and another to a very old monumental grave complete with a king and a queen lying in state. Here’s our view of the cemetery from our bedroom window.
Our living room window faces south, and if we look to the west we can see the Montparnasse Tower, the dome of the Pantheon, and millions of tiny terra cotta chimneys on the rooftops of Paris. Right now the city’s covered in a smoky haze, but the other night it twinkled just like New York does when your airplane comes in for a landing at Kennedy Airport.
One of the most exciting things about our building is, when you step out into the hall and open the window…
You see this!
I love our building. And I love living in Paris.