My Aunt (my mom’s cousin, I just call her my Aunt) has basically lived out the plot of a movie. She’s American, like myself, but she’s lived in Paris for the last 25 years. She came to Paris when she was 15 where she met her father’s business partner’s son, who would later become her husband. They did long distance for nine years before she moved to Paris. Now they’ve got two kids, a charmingly European apartment and a life in Paris. I’d visited them once before, and met them on multiple occasions when they came to America, but this time my friend and I stayed with them for 4 days, giving me a glimpse into the lives they lead.
When we arrived (after a not-so-brief nap) we all walked down the street to get supplies for dinner. Our first stop was a bakery where my Aunt, speaking rapid French, bought a baguette. We passed a cheese shop, a sharp odor wafting out the door, and went to a meat shop, purchasing a roasted chicken. Then we went to the grocery store (I’m such a tourist that I feel like I could’ve just spent hours in there). I think that grocery stores in other countries are so fascinating simply because they’ve got different stuff, also, as a lactose intolerant person, the abundance of lactose free products that French grocery stores have is very exciting.
We ate marinated olives while we cooked dinner, and then sat down at the candle-lit dinner table, where my Aunt taught us the proper way to drink wine. This included the swishing it around the glass, watching to see if it streaked down the glass, smelling it, swallowing it properly, etc. That all sounds pretentious but it was actually fun. I like the way that the French eat dinner. Salad comes last, after the main course. They don’t pile all the dishes onto their plates, but instead eat one at a time. We finished off the evening with some chocolate mousse.
Getting ready the next morning was so relaxing. I love the bathroom in their house–it’s got this beautiful old door with frosted glass, white tiles and a window that lets in light with a view of the cemetery across the street. Instead of a shower, there’s a bathtub and you have to sit in the tub and hold the shower head up. There was a little radio set to my Aunt’s favorite station playing–this station that played a variety of music, sometimes it was Ella Fitzgerald, sometimes it was french rap, sometimes it was bluegrass-esque.
The decorations in the apartment were what really solidified it’s charm. There were these creaky wooden stairs that led up to the main floor, and a beautiful dark blue glass chandelier made from Murano glass in Italy. There were furry throws on the backs of chairs and couches, houseplants dotting the corner of rooms and adding some greenery, and coffee table books dotting tables. My favorite was one orange, vintage looking lamp, and I have no idea why. I took so many photos of that thing. The house was full of stuff, but in a way where it didn’t feel cluttered, but rather felt lived-in and homey. It felt comfortable.