Le Métro et moi : le creneau

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Published 8th September 2014

So I’ve swapped the mountains for the métro, ‘à la périphérie‘ (on the outskirts) of Paris and the only thing I’m scared of here is how not to look like a ‘mal fagotée‘ (frumpy), middle-aged (the French don’t even have a word for it!!!) Englishwoman. I can finally satisfy my ‘penchant‘ (fondness) for fresh croissants and ‘longer les berges de la Seine‘ (strolling along the banks of the Seine). I’m supposed to be here for ‘les affaires‘ (business) but how can I focus when there is so much lovely FOOD and WINE and so many MUSEUMS? Quite simple, ‘je m’enferme’ (I lock myself away) in ‘la mansarde‘ (the attic room) with a copy of my ‘to do’ list (the French don’t seem to have an official expression for this either. What a sensible lot!)

I borrowed a ‘tondeuse à gazon‘ (lawn-mower) yesterday and the race was on as on Sundays there is an allocated ‘créneau‘ (time slot) to make loud gardening noises from 10-12. All was going marvellously until I made a sudden turn down a sharp bank and got dragged half the way down the garden on my derrière before I remembered to let go of the ‘truc‘ (thing – no idea what it is in any language) that makes it go forward.

I have been trying to perfect another kind of ‘créneau‘ (parallel parking) with an English car on a very quiet, but full street where everyone parks politely in their allocated spot. I made about ten ‘tentatives‘ (attempts) before I drove off in a huff and parked rebelliously in front of someone else’s house. Each day, my lovely neighbours have been diplomatically increasing the space between their two cars, so that now anyone apart from me really could ‘garer‘ (park) un autobus in it.

My worries about fitting in with chic Parisians disappeared instantly after reading Hadley Freeman’s article http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2014/sep/08/how-to-be-parisian-move-to-paris which categorically states that chic, scary, skinny women don’t actually exist in any significant quantity and all I need to do is “Move to Paris. Speak French. The End.” I can do that.