We arrived in Paris for our third Spring and Summer and marched up a familiar street, rue Tholozé, towards our new apartment. Staying in our favorite neighborhood, Montmartre in the 18th arrondissemont, my wife and I felt at home once again. One of Paris’s two remaining windmills, Le Moulin de la Galette, marked one end of the narrow cobblestone avenue and down the street still standing our special little cinema where we’ve sat holding hands, admiring French culture through the movies and through the devotion that the French have for this art form, a devotion we share with them. The small boutiques, the local restaurants and art galleries fill out the street. Add the corner fish market which comes to life each morning and closes towards mid day, and the people, and all of it mixes together to fit the prized Parisian image and experience we’ve come to love.
What was new this year was an empty space opened by the demolition of one of many apartment buildings, structures of block and cement, tin mansard roofs and seven stories, that lined both sides of rue Tholozé. The vacated property was being diligently filled with new construction, the construction we heard all season long as we watched the mortar being mixed, blocks laid, windows installed and roof applied. Out our window with only thirty feet of open space between us and the rebuild we witnessed it through the rackety noise in our ears starting at 7:30 am and lasting till five in the evening each day, spring and summer.
In any other place all this would have been a magnificent bother and irritant but to us not here in Paris. We had come to this city each year to experience the everyday life that we love witnessing. The movement of laborers was just another entry into the lives we adore. C’est la vie!