Thursday, September 6, 2012

ma chambre de bonne

Before tonight, I'd never lived alone. At 18 I moved out of my parents' house into a dorm which I shared with a girl who would become one of my best friends; the following year, I lived with her again and two others in an apartment; I spent my third year abroad, but stayed with host families in Ecuador, Chile, and France; and I lived in a sorority house in my last year at SU. Then I moved back home while freelancing, and eventually, relocated to Manhattan for my first job where I moved into my college friend's 3-bedroom apartment. As a graduate student at AUP though, I have the opportunity to live on my own for the very first time.
My studio is known as a chambre de bonne. It's not unlike those found in American cities... except for a few characteristics: top floor, back staircase, hot plate, and a shared toilet. Who knew living in Paris could be so glamourous?
I promise I'm not complaining though :) the view alone makes it worth it. Ma chambre de bonne overlooks Parc Monceau. It was originally designed as a private hideaway for the duc d'Orléans in 1778. Today, it features a pyramid, oval naumachia fringed by a colonnade, open lawns, monuments, lovely gardens, and even free public WiFi. Yes, that is the Eiffel Tower in the distance as well.
Still, it hasn't hit me that I am residing in Paris for at least the next year. Since Iceland, I had been staying in a hotel, meeting amazing fellow graduate students, and attending orientation meetings. But now that I have ma chambre de bonne am I actually going to live here, and complete a masters degree, and (hopefully) master the French language? It's hard to believe. I flip flop between "oh my gosh, how freaking lucky am I?!" and "holy shit, what the hell am I doing here?!"
And yet, I know this is where I'm supposed to be right now. Paris may not be easy, but little by little, I will settle into my Parisian life. I'll get into a routine with my classes (of which I'm very excited to start next week, by the way); I'll discover the best boulangerie, patiserrie, bistro, and let's be serious, bar in my neighborhood; I'll get used to living by myself in this devastatingly beautiful city. I can do this. And I hope you'll join me as I share my misadventures along the way. Bonne nuit.


  1. Parc Monceau? That's a lovely view! Congrats on the move and welcome to Paris, if you ever want to meet up I know a great coffee shop in Montmartre!

  2. Hey Danielle! Cannot wait to read about your adventures in Paris! The first Paris post was a lovely read.

    Shared toilet!? I say go ahead and call that damn shitty!

    I think it is going to be super tough for a long time (but maybe it won't be!), and then as you say, you'll get into it (but that's easier said then done, right now).

    Living alone! I've sort-of-done-it by not living with friends, so we don't do much at all in the way of banter. I've always had this idea that if you lived alone you would get a little nutty: talking to yourself, being really set in your routine, hermit-ting up in that shiz. But that's not the case! You just out-source more for love and friendship.

    Sending you positive-go-get-'em vibes from Australia!

  3. @Edna: Thanks! Sent you an email :)

    @Sheryl: Thank you! I'd have to agree.

    @Hope Johnson: Thanks so much, dear. You're so right ;)

  4. MYJAW IS TO THE FLOOR. you are going to take that city by storm. and i cant wait to see your personal little paris :)

  5. @Mackenzie: Ah, you're so encouraging! I can't wait to find it and then share!


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