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Saturday, 5 October 2013

“From bikini to beanie ...” (part I)




(Part I)


Tuesday, 12th of March 2013 (Paris, France)


I decided to get up at 7.30 am after a night of tossing and turning, and far too frequent “wakening ups” to the songs of Edith Piaf replaying in my head.
 
I climbed down the ladder from my bed and walked up to the window to take a glance at the morning view.
 
 



 
As I moved the curtain I was greeted by gently falling snow on already white roof tops. I couldn't believe my eyes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






What a wonderful surprise!

 
What a treat! ...
... and a challenge for my hot weather loving body to be faced with a -6 degree C.


 
I felt that starting a day with a hot bath was a great idea to get my circulation going before sticking my nose into the cold.
 
After overcoming a slight fear of climbing a somewhat wobbly ladder, I was then presented with yet another acrobatic test - getting in and out of a deep seat-bath.


However every challenge tends to attract a reward, and this one had two.




Apart from the joys of the hot bath, I was also bestowed with an uninterrupted view of Serge Gainsborough staring at me silently from his more luxurious bath tub.
 
Once my body absorbed all the heat I said a quick “adieu” to Serge and promised to meet him again tomorrow. Right now my priority was to find an Internet cafe and I had no time for romance.


 
Rugged up as best as I could I was ready to step outside.




 (Looking out onto the courtyard from the 4th floor.)


























(The red shopping bag hanging down from the window serves as an "outdoor fridge" - brings memories from my days in Poland.)







The patisserie across the street was going to be my first stop.
I had no problem with getting a croissant and a few other things, but when it came to the Internet cafe – they suggested to ask at the deli further down the road.
 
On the way there, I decided to try my luck at the corner newsagent/coffee store. Unfortunately the owner wasn't able to help me either and as I was about to leave ...
 
What time is your appointment?” ... a young man standing next to me asked while fiddling on his phone.
 
I turned towards him with a feeling of great relief and gratitude for his random act of kindness. He not only took time to find the address, but also a metro connection to make my trip easier. I really want to thank him so much for helping me out!






 
(Two top small windows with shutters belong to my appartment.)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
                    (See if you can find them on this picture.)
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Filled with joy, I felt like Mary Poppins twirling my umbrella under the falling snow on my way to the metro station at the Place Pigalle.













 
The air was cold, very cold. My face felt slightly frozen and I could barely feel my blue finger tips sticking out from the tip-less gloves.



 







I decided on a quick defrost with an espresso before catching a train.




 
It was a family run cafe/bar (on the Rue des Martyrs) with its regular clientele and a welcoming atmosphere, which made me feel more like a local rather than a tourist.




 

After a bit of fun with buying a multi trip ticket, I was finally awaiting a train to Menilmontant and I could feel the excitement rising as the time to my appointment was getting shorter.
 



I arrived at Menilmontant with enough time to find the museum, which (if I remembered well) was located close to the station.

























 
By now the snowfall was stronger and a cafe across the road looked very tempting.
I decided that another espresso wouldn't kill me and also someone there might be able to point me in the right direction (meaning the museum).



                                                                          (See link at the end)

 
I picked a table tucked away in a corner close to the bar. It felt cosy and warm.
Moments later I was approached by a friendly waitress with a lovely smile.
 
Un espresso avec petit pain au chocolat, s'il vous plaît.” (I placed my order in French)
 
When I asked her about Edith Piaf's museum she pointed to the side street and said ...
 
La deuxième rue à gauche. Il n'est pas loin.
 
While relaxing into the atmosphere of the place I pulled out my journal to catch up on writing.




Before too long a second cup of espresso (yes, I am naughty) had been brought to me by the same waitress.
 











It was fun seeing her buzzing around (the fuzzy figure on the photo) while attending to the customers. She had such a wonderful bubbly energy.

 






Even though the museum was only a couple of blocks away, I decided to find this place earlier to avoid the possibility of yet another unexpected surprise.


 

By putting my mind at rest I was able to wander around the neighbourhood for the remainder of the time and snap a few photos.















































I have to say that photo taking wasn't the easiest task with a miriad of snowflakes generously falling from the sky and my poor umbrella juggling skills.






 



















It wasn't long before my body felt cold again and the only thing that kept me warm was Edith's song “Milord” (sounding by now like a broken record) while awaiting the invitation to ... “Allez, venez, (Olga) Milord! Vous asseoir à ma table; Il fait si froid, dehors, Ici c`est confortable.”   (See link at the end)




 

































    (See link at the end)


The time was 12.45 pm and I felt a touch of emotional nervousness while entering the code that would open the door to number 5, Rue Crispin du Gast.

The whole thing felt a bit like a dream.
 
A beautiful dream!

 
Shortly after, a French lady from Toulouse joined me in the foyer.
When it got closer to 1 pm it was she who entered the intercom code - there was no response from Monsieur Marchois.



 








Even when assisted by a passing concierge, the outcome was still the same. It looked like our watches were not synchronised with that of Monsieur Marchois.







While my head tried to stay calm and positive, a cloud of fear had touched my heart just so slightly.


At 1.05 pm she tried again and ...




                                                             (to be continued in 2 weeks)
 

Links to ...

 

Song "Milord"
 
Edith Piaf Museum     
 
Cafe Menilmontant
 
 
Photo of Serge Gainsborough contained within my photo ... author unknown
Remaining photography by Olga Kulanowska