The morning was bright and sunny as I walked from our tiny but efficient kitchen- gripping my coffee mug, heading for the balcony. The "husband" was still snoozing. He had a restless night. His knee was bugging him again so I best let him sleep. Late spring sunshine was flowing through tall casement windows that ran along the south side of our second floor home. I opened the French doors and stepped out. Paris was beautiful in the morning- well anytime to be sure.
I looked down into Victor Hugo Square to see folks scurrying along with baguettes and briefcases clutched in their hand.
I took a sip of coffee and smiled.
Ahhh.... Paris. I love you. Do you love me?
Of course you do!
Looking straight out from our second floor walk-up I could see the Eiffel Tower.
Almost unreal but truly Paris.
I pinched myself.
Yes, it was all real and I really was living in Paris.
Romantic. Special. Heart-warming.
We were lucky being able to keep our home back in Ontario as well as this wonderful Paris apartment where we have lived the past year.
Below me, kids were riding bikes and shop keepers were sweeping the pavement in front of their stores. Traffic was light this morning- but steady. Fiats everywhere and motorized bikes too.
I took another sip of coffee as the doorbell chimed.
I walked across the living room to the hall and opened the door.
There stood Madame Taggart.
"Bonjour Mssr. Clemenceau!" She always calls me that because it is a Parisienne name I dubbed myself with- Robert Clemenceau. A Metro stop in Paris is called Clemenceau. I saw it. Liked it. Adopted it. It's so Paree- n'est-ce-pas?
"Mssr. Clemenceau, I have brought you this number. It is the number huit (8) pour votre fenetre."
"Quoi? What? Pourquoi? Why? Madame Taggart."
"Par ce-que, the numbers of the flats are changing and you need to display this numero huit dans la fenetre for purposes of emergency etcetera."
"What emergency Madame?" I sipped at my café.
"Oh, it isn't an emergency immediatement, mais if one happens, you are prepared."
"Oh."- I say and Madame Taggart sweeps across the room to the window and affixes the number 8
with two pieces of cello tape.
"There. That is done! I bid you bon jour aujourd' hui " she called as she swept out the door and into the hallway outside our second story walk-up.
"What was that?" My husband Thomas was up and standing at the entrance to the living room scratching his head. He walked to the refrigerator and poured a glass of juice.
"That, My Dear was Madame Taggart sticking a number 8 on our window" I pointed, "Don't ask. I don't quite understand. The numbers are changing or something."
"Oh." he says as if it was too early to care and walked to the balcony and sat in a white wicker chair.
Once again the door chime rings.
Good God what now, I wonder?
"Bonjour Robert. Bonjour Thomas. It is us!"
"Oh Mary and Maureen. Bonjour, Hello! Ca va?"
M and M live one floor up. They too have adapted to living in Pars over the past year or so and like us, love the city and it's many moods.
"So Ladies, coffee c'est matin?"
"Absolutement." - says Mary.
"Any toast"- asks Maureen?
"In the kitchen. You know where. It's warming in the oven. Help yourself, I am going to the balcony to sit and watch Paris come alive. C'mon Mary." I linked her elbow in mine and headed for the sunshine and Paris air.
"How'd you sleep I asked my Husband, knowing the answer."
"Not too bad but this frigging knee woke me up once or twice."
"Just another month and it's being seen to." I patted his leg.
"What's happening with his knee?" asked Maureen coming from the kitchen with a tray holding toast and a coffee pot.
I looked to my Husband and said-"He's been complaining for a year and he's going in next month for a partial replacement. He'll be right as rain in a few weeks after that."
"Oh yes. I had forgotten. Amazing what they can do-isn't it?"- adds Mary.
"So what are you Paris trollops up to today?" I sipped at my coffee, smiling.
"We thought a walk around the Marais and then lunch or afternoon tea or something," Maureen says while crunching on brown toast and marmalade."
"Why don't you two come with us. It would be fun. We could stop in that flower shop around the corner from Le Bistro Paris. Their arrangements are beautiful." Mary loves flowers as much as Tom and I.
"I'm up for it. Husband!"
"Sure, I'll hobble if I have too."
"Good then that's that. We can take the Metro to Hotel de Ville and stroll from there." Mary clapped her hands in glee and poured another cup of hot coffee from the pot Maureen had brought from our kitchen.
Maureen looks at our number eight and says-"I see you got your new number from Madame Taggart. We did as well. That Madame Taggart certainly looks after us."
"Did you know her late husband was Canadian?"
"Really? I didn't know."- says Mary, "That's why she's like a mother "poulet". How do you say "hen"?
"Dunno."-mumbles Hubbie as he looked out across the square. He was watching Paris City workers clean the fountain. The algae must be getting thick again.
We all sat looking out across Victor Hugo Place towards the tower.
"Gosh we are lucky, eh Kids?" I was beaming and happy.
"Better finish our un petit dejuner and get ready. Times a wastin' and I have to shower"- says Tom, always the time keeper- even in French time.
We top up our mugs as Maureen slathered peanut butter on another slice of whole wheat while we laid out our Paris Plans for the day.
Place Victor Hugo.
La Tour Eiffel.
Bagettes and Madame Taggart.
Je t'aime. Je t'aime.