How to get a car into the pedestrian inner-city of Aix-en-Provence, on busy Market Day? And a special message at the end of this post. Don't miss it.
CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP! Join two chocolate shop owners in Provence, France & learn how to make chocolates using French techniques. We’ll stay in a medieval village and roam outdoor markets, castles, and more! CLICK HERE.
TODAY'S WORD: état des lieux
: walkthrough (before moving into a new place)
: inventory of fixtures
faire l'état des lieux: to make an inventory, take into account the state of fixtures in a rental.
ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word, Download MP3 file
L'état de lieu. Jeudi dernier, à Aix-en-Provence, on a fait l'état de lieu de la studette de notre fille, Jackie.
Walkthrough, inventory. Last Thursday in Aix-en-Provence, we did the walkthrough for our daughter Jackie's studio.
Improve your spoken French. Try Pronounce it Perfectly in French or Exercises in French Phonetics
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
When it came to moving our daughter into her new studette in Aix-en-Provence, Jean-Marc was in charge of logistics, or how, exactly, were we to transport a couch, a bed, a bookcase, table, chairs and teddy bears through the city center--the pedestrian city center!
My job was to figure out which furnishings our daughter would take from our house, to use in her new apartment. Given the logistics question--and the fact that I alone would be carrying the contents of two cars up 3 flights of stairs, I carefully calculated weights and balances. Everything would have to be fold-able and lightweight!
Five single, bendable mattresses would make both a couch (three units) and a bed (two units) for the mezzanine (picture of a mezzanine, here). The metal bookcase was collapsible, as was the side table. Now if only the inner streets of Aix-en-Provence were as flexible....
Thanks to a secret pass that would magically make all the metal stump barriers, or bornes escamotables, disappear into the ground--allowing our car to pass, Jean-Marc was able to enter the old town--only to be surprised by the scene. It was market day!!! Our car quickly disappeared into the mire, with its cacophony of market carts, horns (delivery trucks), and a nervous copilot.....
"Watch out for the chihuahua! Ooh-ooh, the lady with the cane! Look! Your going knock over that clothes rack! Jean-Marc! Don't hit the honey stand!" My eyes focused on the pyramid of bottled miel--would it still be there after we inched passed it in our overstuffed car? Could my husband even see out the windows?
Against the side of a building, a toothless beggar sat on the sidewalk, a cup of change at her feet. As our car zigzagged forward she grabbed the money, quickly tucking in her legs as my driver hung a close right, past the rôtisserie stand, the scent of slow-roasted chicken filling our car. Amazingly, Jean-Marc managed to navigate the clogged inner center of Aix. As he proceeded toward a very narrow archway, I was about to protest ("that passage is clearly for pedestrians only!!! Is this even legal???"). Too late. Jean-Marc was putting our quatre-quatre in gear! I quickly reached out of my passenger side window, grabbed the rear-view mirror, and pulled it in just as we began to clear the ancient archway. We made it through!!!
A few more narrow bends and turns--and Jean-Marc dropped us off (me and the contents of our car) in front of a handsome door with an old knocker. Looking up to the sky was like looking out of a canyon of historic buildings, all forming the maze of la vieille ville, or old town Aix.
Bon, time to get to work, before Jean-Marc returned with the second carload (from Jackie's car, which I had left outside the center, along with our daughter who hurried off to her first day of design school....).
As we did not yet have keys to the building, the plan was for me to wait for someone to enter or exit the building. That chance came sooner than expected, when the mailman suddenly appeared. I stole into the building with the first mattress--and hiked up three flights to begin stacking items beside Jackie's apartment door....
By the fourth or fifth trip, my head began to spin and I sat down on the cool tiles of the stairwell, to contemplate my middle age. Deciding I was relatively young one, I popped back up and finished in time for Jean-Marc to unload the second car and return to help with the metal bookcase!).
By this time the young man in charge of the walk-through, or l'état des lieux arrived with the keys to the apartment. As he did a spot check of all the items in the rental unit (one light fixture didn't work, a glass shelf in the bathroom was broken...), I did an inventory of my own state of being. Sore, sweaty and very thirsty.
When our daughter arrived a few moments later looking fresh as a new rose, I thought to myself, She'd better make a lot of friends this semester--friends with muscles--'cause this is the last time I'm moving her!!
...Unless she wants to move back home tomorrow.... In that case, I'll skip up and down the stairs again, a couch section on each shoulder!
"Mom, don't cry." Jackie said, setting her school books down on the kitchen counter (which I noticed was a bit crooked, and should be noted in the inventory).
"Honey, those aren't tears. That's sweat!"
* * *
Jackie, discovering her apartment for the very first time. She would have helped us with the move, but logistics (she needed to be at school) and timing (by 9 a.m.!) did not work out. And there was only one window of time in which to do the déménagement, or move.
Last night we went back to Jackie's apartment in Aix, to celebrate her 19th birthday. We were so cozy thanks to comfortable couch, made up of three of these foldable foam mattresses, which I used so often, in our garden and when the kids have overnight guests. Here is the less expenive version, that I got Jackie, and here are many more styles, below.
FOLDING FOAM BEDS - many uses! Click here for a large selection.
FOUTAS! Those wonderful covers/towels/blankets. Every folding bed needs one! Click here.
Beautiful French Kitchen Towels by Garnier-Thiebaut. Order here.
Paris Peace T-shirt - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty. Click here
Kristi here. See you in a few weeks. I am leaving on a voyage to finally see my Mom, after my father-in-law, Mr John, went to Mexican Heaven. Follow me to Puerto Vallarta when you follow my Facebook or my Instagram account. I'm going to take you along in my little pocket!
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi