Not Quite Down & Out in Paris, but almost…. is the blog of Mec about Paris who moved to Paris at the end of July 2009, having been a victim of the credit crunch in London and not having been able to find a decent job for six months or so.
Mec about Paris starts off by living in the 10th arrondissement in a little studio flat on the fifth floor that a friend of mine was originally renting before moving in with a friend of his.
You can read all about the early days of Mec about Paris’ adventures in France at the appropriately titled… The first couple of Weeks.
Apartment living in Paris can be difficult, it seems.
If we take a good look at the Living Conditions we discover that… “the school just outside my building has become a hotspot for hip hop wannabes who come out at about midnight with their tinny phone speakers and play the worst kind of hip hop music… This continues far into the night but usually I am forced to shut my windows to block out the noise.”
There’s also the problem of the communal toilet… “the loo is becoming more and more filthy as everyone who uses it is disgusting, except for me. It is so bad that I wouldn’t even let a guest of mine in there, I’d be too ashamed.”
I wonder, did Hemingway have these problems?
And then, of course, Mec about Paris mentions My Neighbours!
In Mec about Paris’ case these are… “a varied bunch. On my floor there’s Soraya of course but there’s also the old man who lives directly opposite the staircase. We have a strange relationship – each morning I hear him shuffling past my apartment, unlocking the loo door and urinating loudly with the door wide open before shuffling back to his apartment without using the flush.”
And then there is the… “very cruel looking Iranian guy who is possibly one of the most unfriendly people I have ever met.”
But then, there’s always… “a rather large lady with a ruddy complexion and unkempt greying hair. She’s much more friendly than the Iranian man and will always stop to say hello no matter how short of breath she is from climbing the stairs!”
Of course, these are just Minor inconveniences.
It’s the loo that’s the real problem!
As Mec about Paris explains… “The chain has broken off so in order to flush it one has to stand on the loo itself and reach blindly inside the cistern and grope about for a little tube which, when pulled, releases the mechanism and starts the flush. The walls are filthy and smeared with all kinds of questionable dirt and there is always a strong smell of rubber as a result of the big mat Soraya put down a couple of weeks ago.”
The light only stays on for 45 seconds which mean you have to rush out, mid-business to re-activate the timer again!
And we’ll say nothing about the cockroaches although Mec about Paris does wisely point out that when he came home after an evening out they would all scarper away with… “the leader of the pack calling to the others ‘alright lads, he’s back! Scarper!’ (although, come to think of it they’re French cockroaches so they would probably have been communicating in French).”
As least Mec (and I’m going to call him that from now on) can look back on some Squalor, interrupted when a friend gets to house site an apartment on the 19th..
Paris is not a nice place to be during the winter…
Who says that? Well, Mec does!
In A Rather French Affair, Mec says that… “Paris is not a nice place to be during the winter. In fact, due to various circumstances such as my appalling apartment and anti-social working hours, this last winter was one of the most unpleasant and miserable of my life.”
Well, if that’s the case I guess that things can only get better.
Although, in It’s Paris, isn’t it? he also mentions that… “Paris breeds bitterness.”
And informs us that the… “metro is home to hundreds of homeless people, ripe with the fetid stench of excrement, a breeding ground for thousands of cockroaches and lined with gutters filled with questionable sludge and muck.”
Not nice! I think I’d be bitter too?
Although I do have to admit that I did smile a little bit when I read what Mec had to say about the ‘Tylers’ and ‘Dwaines’ in town!
And finally, in In Return to Paris, Mec seems to sum it all up perfectly with his first sentence… “Having spent a glorious two weeks at home for Christmas I am now back in my icy apartment with a fridge that clangs all night long, a fresh spattering of mould on the walls and a loo that is now completely broken courtesy of the disgusting old man who lives down the corridor.”
Beat that, Hemingway!
In the midst of a terrible hangover….
Thus starts Mec’s Mélange of Anecdotes.
Hungover, he gets called into work an, surprisingly, the hangover goes away!
Perhaps work should be recommended as a hangover cure?
Personally, I’ve always found that the best thing for a hangover is plenty of drink, the night before!
Always works for me!
Mec explains that his Social Life involves him almost getting pick-pocketed and in It couldn’t have turned out better, really… he shows us that even though they shouldn’t be, some beggars CAN be choosers!
So, summing up…
Another Paris blog that, like yesterday’s, show that Paris isn’t all about the Eiffel Tower and Macarons.
Paris has an underbelly and although it may be full of art and history, like all big cities it might shock you from time to time as it shocked Mec when he did a typically Paris thing and had a snooze in the gardens of Le Louvre only to wake up to find a used condom only a couple of feet from where he had been sleeping!
Not Quite Down & Out in Paris, but almost…. is a worthy member of the Life in France blogosphere (in my opinion, anyway) and is well worth checking out.
And me? Well, I’m going to Chateau Rouge (“a rather infamous area in the 18th arrondissement….. It is commonly regarded as rather a poor neighbourhood with a lot of crime.”)
You see, we don’t have all that sort of thing up here, in rural Brittany!
It should be interesting.
Care to come along?
All the best