21 October 2009

Out with the foyer, in with the chic French apartment!

This is a glimpse of the dreary room I endured at Foyer Carrefour up until now. Combined with the antics of my fellow residents (who engaged in 2am soccer matches in the hallway, bloody fist fights in front of my door that required the intervention of police and medics, and ear splitting French rap music at all hours), the questionable food in the cantine, and overall unfriendly vibes that permeated the foyer, it's clear to see why I could never bring myself to unpack my suitcases and call this place "home." 

Sunday, Hélène and her boyfriend Stéphan came to my rescue in his car to help me move my massive suitcases to the apartment from the foyer.  I felt bad for poor Stéphan, who was obliged to hoist my suitcases into his car, then carry them up three flights of stairs. They seemed to find it amusing that I had to ask him repeat himself whenever he spoke, since he has a distinctive accent from the south of France.  Just like the US, France has a variety of accents and dialects that vary by region.  Hélène and Stéphan make a gorgeous couple, as they are both very stylish, attractive and physically fit.  They just exude elegance... and well, France!

The apartment is charming, and Hélène did all the painting, remodeling, and decorating herself. Being French, she is interested in the tiny details that really contribute to the overall effect of the living space. Those 'petits détails" are found all over the apartment; for example, a lovely pattern of mosaic tiles carried throughout the bathroom, shower, and sink. The walls are bold, unexpected colors like purple, yellow, blue, and red, but they are done very tastefully, and harmonize beautifully with one another.  She has wonderful taste in art, and understands the importance of spacing pieces to let them truly shine.  The apartment has an abundance of unique light fixtures, mirrors, and curtains.  She seemed very flattered when I told her she could be a professional decorator. Even the cat, Dorine, is impossibly beautiful. She has the clearest blue eyes I've ever seen, and she's my favorite type of cat, since she behaves as affectionately as a dog.

I picked up a beautiful orchid plant as a thank you to Hélène for taking me in.  She has spent so much effort to make me feel comfortable, and I keep wondering why she's doing this! Obviously she has little to gain by the living arrangements, as the rent is low, and she's losing an entire room in her apartment.  I slow her down with my limited French, but she remains patient. Rather than switching to English when I don't understand something, she rephrases it in French.  She helped me locate the texts I need for my French class and leant me her library card to pick them up. She's taken me on tours of the neighborhood to help me locate the bus stops, supermarkets, post office, and shops.  I am so grateful and lucky to have met such a lovely person, and while I don't yet know how I will accomplish this, it is my sincere hope that I can make this experience as meaningful to her and Nicolas as it is to me.

Front room with multicolored walls


My room

Another view of my room, with Dorine the cat investigating my bed

The view of the Cathédrale Saint-Etienne from my bedroom window

The living room and dining room

Dorine the beautiful siamese cat

Breakfast nook


  1. That is actually, quite possibly, the cutest and most elegant apartment I've ever seen. Too bad it's so far of a commute to Rouen or I'd ask to sleep in the breakfast nook or something!

  2. (I mean, I wouldn't really, of course. That would be weird... Right?)

  3. Of course it would be weird to sleep in the breakfast nook.... but maybe the bathtub? :-)

  4. LOVE IT! Oh my goodness! Perfection, Jamie...absolute perfection! Magnifique!


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