Fille du coin

28 08 2008

This post feels so long overdue, I really meant to write more often, but procrastination is so much more fun when I’m reading other peoples blogs rather than writing on my own. Plus my summer has been boring, boring, boring! Though the one fun thing I did this summer was jet over to Paris a couple of weeks ago. I know it probably sounds really blazé that I popped over to Paris at the last minute and spur of the moment without really telling anyone, but it was important!

And strangely enough, when I’m in Paris it doesn’t really seem like I’m in another country. I feel like I’m still at home, just in a different city. It was nice to be back in France again, even though I was just there in February. It’s kind of decadent knowing that I went to France twice in one year, but it just felt so necessary. And my recent trip back was more of an exploratory type trip…actually they both were.

My latest trip had me thinking a lot about a comment that a French guy I once dated told me the first night that we met. “T’as l’air une fille du coin,” is what he said when I told him that I was Canadian. And while exploring my (hopefully) soon to be hood in Belleville, that comment felt exactly right.

Belleville is a far stretch from other arrondissements that I’ve lived in, that are so quiet when you walk around at night, all you can hear is the sound of your own footsteps. The 16th– I’m thinking of you. But Belleville is different. It’s a mixture of artsy with immigrant, which gives the neighbourhood a nice lively vibe, despite the multitude of people who seem to have made the entrance to the Belleville metro both a drinking terrace and vendor’s stall. Belleville reminds me of Parkdale in Toronto, even though I’m not the biggest fan of that area.

There’s a lot to be discovered in Belleville and I know that I’ve barely scratched the surface since I didn’t get the chance to do as much exploring as I would have liked. From the trendy and crowded Café Cheri(e) to the pricey Hotel du Nord resto, I feel so eager to get to know it all.

The first day in my new quartier, I tried to ignore my jet lag as I walked around in an exploratory daze, telling my body that it hadn’t been more than 48 hours since I got a decent night’s sleep. As I made my way down rue Faubourg du Temple, I imagined that everyone milling about on the street could see the sleep deprived haze that I was in. Yet despite my brain fog, the combination of the colourful shops, clothing and the sea of faces in a multitude of shades told me that this was a place that I could belong as I try to make Paris my home.