Okay I don't pretend to understand the intimate details of what it's like to live in Paris. AND, I admit that I previously kind of thought Paris was an overrated city on my short stays in the past. But I am really, really glad that Mr. Human and I stayed there for more than a week and weren't there to do tourist-y things. We sort of went to climate events and in between going to these we'd look at things we liked, run into cool stuff or just do our own thing.
So this is a look into the little life we had in Paris. :)
This first post will be more about our place and home in Paris, and then the next post moves to wider Paris. So, for starters, our place. After my cosy concrete bed on day one haha, Mr. Human and I organised to stay in an Airbnb we really really liked the look of. But the thing with Paris is that all the apartments are super super tiny, and it's definitely not a cheap city to live in.
If this gives any context to the situation, the city of Paris has a density of 21,000 people/km2. In comparison, Shanghai has a density of 3,800/km2, Amsterdam 4,908/km2, Hong Kong 6,544/km2 and Mumbai has a density of 21,000/km2.
I was shocked by that. But you can see the evidence in our apartment. Below is basically our entire apartment.
The bed ROLLS IN to become a couch.
The picture above and below are sourced from the Airbnb page in case you wanted to have a look. Although I think that was obvious given the neatness.
We definitely were not neat haha (admittedly, it is more me than Mr. Human that is messy) (I only admitted it because Mr. Human reads the website so he might accuse me of misleading people about him if he finds this out) (he is a neat guy, everyone).
Here is us having breakfast one day, utilising Mr. Human's suitcase for its second purpose in life. Behind me is my suitcase hahah.
And we basically never rolled in the bed because we liked laying in it too much throughout the day hahah.
Mr. Human and me also have sore/stiff backs a lot. So I though one of the days that yoga would be a GENIUS idea. So below you can see that the bed doubles not just as a couch, but also as a yoga instructor.
I loved our apartment a lot. So, so, so much. Home really was my favourite place to be honestly. I could never wait to get home and escape the chilly weather, curling up together with a hot tea.
For times we did make it out of our apartment, we explored our little local area of Belleville.
One thing I found was that Parisian attitudes towards food is really really interesting.
For one, of course, is the passion for cheese. Entire shops dedicated to cheese. They even have a word for 'cheese shop' - la fromagerie. Here we are at our local fromagerie.
The guy who worked in the shop was SUPER helpful and knew so much about all these kinds of cheeses to match what we wanted. Here he is cutting us a sample of some of his delicious, must-try cheese.
Yes, you read right, that is a SAMPLE sir. My face was like "OH MY GOD THAT'S LIKE HALF THE BLOCK, IS THIS HEAVEN?"
And, of course, the pastries.
I insisted to Mr. Human that we eat at least two a day, each. Do as the Parisians do, I said.
He didn't believe me but we got the pastries anyways.
Another weird thing about Paris was that all the supermarkets are tiny and it doesn't really feel like there is very many, compared to the Woolworths domination in Australia and the Albert Heijn tyranny in Amsterdam. Which makes sense because Parisian real estate is so expensive. Another reason I suspect is that Parisians don't seem to cook in as much as other cultures.
So this was the supermarket we saw around a lot, called Franprix.
But Mr. Human and I were REALLY glad to find this one a few minutes away from us. As soon as I saw it, I was like "Hm yes, hmmmm this is definitely more our style."
When we lived in Amsterdam together, we had a shared passion against Albert Heijn (which is basically the biggest supermarket chain in Amsterdam and the prices are quite expensive. We are more like Lidl and Aldi shoppers - it's nice when you get to the checkout there and you are actually PLEASANTLY surprised by the total. Unlike trips to the likes of Albert Heijn or Woolworths where each trip is like a deep stab into your wallet and - more honestly - your soul.
But eating breakfast with Mr. Human in our home was one of my favourite things.
There is a Dutch word called "gezellig" which encapsulates feelings like cozy, warm, comfortable. So a conversation with someone can be 'gezellig', a warm and welcoming home can be 'gezellig'. It's said the best way to understand gezellig though is to be in it. And then you'll be like "Oh yeah. This IS gezellig."
But being in our home with Jan was, for me, the perfect definition of gezellig.
Check out Part II to read about how Parisians enjoy life, about street art and about how old, beautiful landmarks will just spring up on you in Paris. :)