After arriving here and getting moved into our new house in 2003, we went three years without staying in another gîte. It wasn't that we didn't travel a little bit, but we stayed in hotels. In February 2004, we drove down to Madrid (it was a real adventure involving a snowstorm!) to see our friend Sue, who was spending 4 or 5 months there studying Spanish. We went with the dog, and we booked a room in a French hotel (Novotel) because French hotels usually welcome dogs while, if I understand correctly, Spanish hotels do not.
In June 2004 I drove up to Normandy because CHM and his partner Frank were up there, in Carteret near Cherbourg, visiting a friend. I drove them back to Saint-Aignan for a two-week stay, and then I drove them to Paris. I can't remember if I stayed overnight in Paris or just turned around and drove back home. Maybe CHM remembers.
In March 2006, Walt and I rented a studio apartment in Paris and went to spend a week there, wandering the streets and eating in restaurants. A friend from California happened to be there at the same time, so we shared lunches and dinners with her. The pictures here show the place we stayed in.
It was a fine apartment. Actually, I think it looks better in these photos than it did in reality. The exterior of the building was fairly grim. The shutters had to stay shut all the time because the windows were at street level and it wasn't comfortable to feel like you were on display. At least there weren't several flights of steep, narrow stairs to climb.
The apartment was small but comfortable, very clean, and not expensive. Above, you can see a sofa that folds out into a kind of sofa-bed. It's what's called a clic-clac because, I think, of the sound it makes when you fold it out and it locks into place. I remember it as being fairly comfortable, and it was convenient in such a small studio apartment.
It's nice when you're in Paris to have a kitchen and a dining-room set, even if you don't do a lot of elaborate cooking. You can buy salads and pâtés, for example, in charcuterie shops, so it's good to have a refrigerator. You can also buy prepared dishes that just need re-heating. And in the morning you can make your own coffee or tea and then run out to a boulangerie and bring back croissants and fresh bread for breakfast in the apartment.
It's also nice to have a private bathroom even if it is not very spacious. There was a tub with a shower and plenty of hot water. Still, one thing that would have made the apartment much more comfortable and pleasant would have been some pull-up shades on the windows. Then you could have pull them up for privacy, so that passersby couldn't easily see in, but leave them open at the top to let in some sunlight in the morning. Across the street there were no apartment buildings, just the Musée des Arts-et-Métiers.