Ode to 75008

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In my apartment I have several balconies, one located in my huge living room, with sliding glass doors. My old living room was a third of this size. During the day we are flooded with sunshine. I have enough room here for several babies to crawl around, though I only have one for the moment. In fact, my old apartment could fit inside this one, and I’d still have plenty of space left.   Right now as I sit at my computer dans ma salle de séjour, I can see La Tour Eiffel. Saying that it is a beautiful site would not even begin to do it justice. It’s 11.00 at night and they’ve turned on the lights over there and it’s all aglow. Thousands of tiny white lights illuminating my night.   Makes me miss Paris even more.   My family and I have just recently moved out of Paris proper and into Levallois Perret. 92300 is my new zip code. It used to be 75008. 92300 is less than five minutes away from 75008 by car, and only two metro stations away. I can walk there. In the space of ten minutes I can be seated inside or outside Café Monceau, which is located just across the street from 75008, ordering up my favourite: Salade Royale, si’l vous plait.   92300. It looks like Paris here. It smells like Paris here. I can see Hotel Concorde La Fayette and as I’ve said, the glowing Eiffel Tower from the windows in my living room. But I am no longer IN Paris proper… and it’s biting at me like an Alabama mosquito at dusk.   I’m not the only one suffering from Parisian proper withdrawal. My husband was living there (see, I have to say there and not here, one of the problems) way before I came into town. But, you know, life changes and you have the baby you’ve always wanted (and still want!) You look desperately for a bigger apartment in your fabulous neighbourhood where you’ve blissfully lived for five years. It’s located just down the street from Parc Monceau and across the street from a great rue piétonne. (Read my recent article. ) But you don’t find anything. So you decide: It’s all or nothing and you leave.   Then you end up just a little bit outside of Paris, in a neighbourhood that’s oh-so-chic. (I think every single woman in my apartment building carries a Hermès bag, but I’m a Louis Vuitton girl, myself). 92300 is so clean that you could maybe eat off the sidewalk (maybe). It’s a calm, mostly residential area. The only crime you have to worry about is a little old lady hitting you with her cane if you hog too much of the sidewalk. The flowers at La Mairie are bright and beautiful (tulips even) and all the waterfalls make my baby laugh when we sit outside on the clean benches to look at them. So you’re thinking: Only two metro stations away, minutes in the car, it will be fine.   And then it’s not.   One thing my husband and I really hate saying to each other is “You want to go into Paris?” We’ve decided to stop saying that, as it only increases our pain. We even find excuses to revisit our old neighbourhood in 75008—still using the same tailor, the same dry cleaner, eating at the same restaurants and shopping at “little” Monoprix when there’s one right here down the street in 92300!   One of my good friends, an American who hails from San Francisco, used to live in Paris. Then she moved to Meaux and now she’s moving even further away to Tours. I asked her: “How could you do this?” As if she had just eaten the last piece of chocolate I bought from Lenôtre or something. For some people, it perfectly suits them to be outside the city limits. Not me. But then again, my Uncle Johnny always said I’d be a city girl.   So I wonder, what is it about Paris and being within Paris proper that is so alluring to many? One article couldn’t describe it and if you’re reading this, then you probably already know anyway! I dared complain to one of my friends who lives in New York. She very quickly put things in perspective for me.   “Are you serious? Are you ( censor neccessary! She is a New Yorker) serious? I have to take a plane. You’re (censor) a measly five minutes away! Who cares! I’d give my (bleep!) left arm—and right one, too—to live there and have your place. Hey, you wanna trade?”   Okay, so maybe I won’t complain anymore—at least, not to an American who’s aching to live here. Okay, not to a New Yorker. So then I decided to try it with one of my French friends, who lives in a great Parisian neighbourhood herself. Her response was even worse.   “Tu habite en Levallois, pas Marne-La-Vallée. Levallois est deux minutes de Paris, donc, pour moi, tu habites à Paris, quoi! En plus tu as un bel appartement avec une vue magnifique. Attends…mais tu est folle ou pas.”   Translation:   “You live in Levallois, not Marne-La-Vallée . Levallois is two minutes from Paris, therefore, for me, you live in Paris. Besides that, you have a beautiful apartment with a magnificent view. Wait…but are you crazy or what?”   Second translation—she really does think I’m insane.   The conversation continued.   My French friend who lives in Paris: “What about all the calm in your new neighbourhood, would you trade that to move back to Paris?”   Me: “I’d trade it.”   MFFWLIP: “What about not having to dodge every dog’s dinner in Paris?”   Me: “Trade it, trade it!”   MFFWLIP: “And your huge apartment”?   Me: “Trade it, trade it, trade it!”   MFFWLIP: “And your view of La Tour”?   Me: “Hmm….let me think about that one.”   MFFWLIP: “Voila! That’s what I thought.”   Okay, so I’m finished complaining for good…or at least for now (I think.) So 92300 is not technically in Paris, but I’m there every day. I lived in 75008 for five years and I’ll do it again. (But I still asked my husband if he wanted to move back right away, just in case. He said no, so I…
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