The apartment on the fifth floor



We’ve travelled to Paris for a journalism conference, and are staying in a beautiful apartment on the top floor of a classic Parisian apartment block. We looked for weeks before we settled on this place. We nearly booked a houseboat on the Seine but it wasn’t available when we wanted it.

We were lucky.

The only way I can explain the charming and tres quirky apartment we happened upon in the 16th arrondissement is to imagine it once belonged to an impoverished aristocrat with no children, who left it to a favourite niece and her husband.

They sold off enough of the antiques to modernise the facilities but have to let it out as a short term rental to supplement their income working in a small bookshop off the Canal Saint-Martin.

Her name is Alice, she wears frocks and rides a bicycle. His name is Remy, and he wishes he was a professional poet. On his 40th birthday, Alice had a small volume of his verse published for him as a gift. Her favourite flowers are jonquils. They both wish her uncle had not put the bath in the bedroom.

I love it here.

There’s a fat vase of jonquils on the coffee table and I am drinking herbal tea from an old crackled china tea cup painted with pale green flowers, staring out the window at the wonky Paris terracotta chimney pots.




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