Metro Boulot Dodo

                                                                                  In front of Hotel des Invalides...
 métro boulot dodo

    : "subway" "work" "sleep"

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

This will have to be an interactive post today, with me being the "inter" and you being the" active". For I am between hours right now, the hour in which I woke up, here in the Hotel Latour Maubourg and the hour in which school begins, over there on rue Vaugirard.

Would you please help elaborate on today's expression, which means, in a nutshell, the unrelenting cycle of movement (métro) and production ("work" or "boulot") which leads us to collapse into dodo (sleep).  

Note: The week here at writing school (the Paris Writers Workshop) is busy, filled with activities and homework assignments, so this may be the only post this week. Stay tuned.... and happy week to all.

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Thank you for showing my old neighborhood! I lived on rue de Stael just off Vaugirard.
What a great time to be in Paris. Enjoy!!

Rachel Shanks

In the provinces it's bagnole, boulot, dodo as the car takes over from the métro.

Bill in St. Paul

Great picture of contrasts: the Eiffel Tower and the cannon of Invalides. Have fun in class, Kristin, don't let Paris distract you! We'll be celebrating our 40th in Paris in September.


Thank you Rachel - I was wondering what those sans transport en commun might say.

Re: Velibes - has anyone had success renting one with a credit card from an American bank? It seems that SNCF ticket machines, autoroute toll collection machines, etc. need a "puce" - what's a Yank to do?

gail bingenheimer

Ainsi soit-il!
So be it!

Leisa Smith

Dear Kristin,
Mindfully soak up this learning experience, the sun's warmth as you walk to class and thank you, as always, for sharing your journey with us!
Cheers from Oz,

Mitch Handler (from mid-town Manhattan's metro/boulot/dodo)

Beautiful pictures, Kristin. The 7eme is great. My daughter spent 3 years at AUP (American University of Paris) in the 7th ... the "little America" corner of Paris. (I am ... envieux!) Have a great week there. Go to the market street, rue Cler. It's one of our favorite little markets in Paris.

Karen (in Towson, Md) Whitcome

I'll be green and add my preference: Velo Boulot Dodo!

I don't have the right to use that saying though since I believe it's reserved for those in the "rat race" of the work force - which I am not.

Love the shots of Paris, Kristin!

Nancy Reinhardt

Punch, yes! Last June, we rented Velibes in the 15th with our American Express--we tried the MasterCard first and it didn't work. Another Yank there at the rack told us that VISA also works...We loved biking from the 15th to the Eiffel Tower and then down the Seine to the Place de la Concorde and then on to the Tuileries Gardens, although they wouldn't let us ride our bikes in gardens, so we crossed the river and rode back to the ET to wait in line... Best biking though was the Bike Tour of Versailles with Fat Tire Bike Tours Absolute blast!!!

Have a great time in class, Kristin!

Cynthia Sheridan

Hi Kristin,

As soon as I saw Metro, boulot, dodo it reminded me of my year at Middlebury in Paris where I first heard it. I lived in the 7th and it brought back a lot of wonderful memories. How I wish I was at writing school in the 7th. Enjoy!

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

Metro boulot dodo sounds like my daily commute from Princeton Junction, NJ to Downtown Brooklyn ... in my case ... car train subway work subway train car sleep! Bonne chance en Paris. While in the neighborhood don't miss the Rodin Musee. The gardens are fabulous and at this time of year the roses must be in full bloom. I have a photo I took in June 3 years ago of one of the gardeners tending the roses.

Kristine, Dallas (hot and sunny)


Ophelia in Nashville

Ditto re Suzanne's recommendation of the Rodin Musée if you haven't been there before. Enjoy your week of creativity and communion with, I hope, like souls.

Metro, boulot, dodo always makes me think of a hamster's wheel but let's think about this... In Paris wouldn't Metro, boulot, dodo also perhaps include morning coffee in a café, a 2-hour déjeuner (or at least a crepe), a brief walk along the Seine or a shortcut through a lovely garden?

You are in a beautiful area. Hope you have a great week, Kristin. We will look forward to hearing more next week or the week after.

Joanne Silverman

Bagnole, boulet, dodo. That about sums it up for us Manhattan hamsters. How much nicer it would be to be doing it in Paris, but then there are probably some hamster cousins in Paris thinking how nice it would be to do it in New York. We hamsters are always looking for the greener grass.


Bonne chance, K! Fait le bon boulot et apres tu peut faire dodo!

Tom Cooch

I first saw this when I was a young man living in Paris in 1968. On the wall of some station was the poem ...

Metro Boulot
Metro Dodo
C'est le tombeau
du Prolo

Tom in Vermont


I always think of that little picture of the rabbit posted on the Metro doors warning children to stay clear: "Ne mets pas tes mains sur les portes, tu risques de te faire pincer tres fort!" There used to be a little website devoted to the "Lapin Metro," but I can't find it now. It's been replaced by a website about the 60-year history of the RATP ( The best part of this is the soundtrack: close your eyes and you can hear the familiar Metro noises!


Lee Isbell

Stayed in La Tour-Maubourg neighborhood in May. The area has easy access to so many things. Loved it.


Enjoy your week of creativity!


Yes, don't miss the Rodin Museum--I have spent many happy hours there contemplating the masterpiece of the Burghers of Calais.
Re: the Velibes...I couldn't get my Citi Visa to work although I tried several different stations. I asked Visa if they could issue a card with the "Puce" and was told that they would...but when the card arrived, it was the same old card.
Anyone else have any luck?

Herm Meyer in Phoenix, AZ

Bonne chance Kristin. It's great that you're putting your self out on the limb, that's where the fruit is! I know you’ll give it your all.

Here's an old saying:

Keep your shoulder to the wheel, your ear to the ground, your eye on the ball, and your nose to the grindstone.

Now, try writing in that position.

À bientôt,


Susan Anderson

Hello Kristin, What a lovely time of year to be in Paris and devoting yourself to writing! I really believe that you're a natural, or at least you make it seem so! Will you please munch on a macaron from Pierre Herme (185 rue de Vaugirard) for me? Amities, Susan Anderson, Arlington, VA


To the person trying to rent VELIB = it will accept American Express without microchips; all other cards will be turned down...unless they have the chip, of course.


Sometimes I think that you need a French credit card. When traveling by car, you cannot get gas when the stations are closed unless you have a French credit card. I have many times asked people at the pumps if they would use their credit card and I would pay them euros. Of course, I showed them that I did indeed have the cash.
I haven't tried a VELIB yet, but when I do, I will try American Express.
Love the VELIB photo.

Gai Reid

Cher Kristin,
Like your friends Lynn and Ron, I too am a dedicated fan of Tarte Tartin. I cannot remember the first encounter, but it was un coup de foudre. I have been on a search for the perfect recipe ever since that first mouthful. I have been practising in earnest. Nicole’s recipe will be next in my test kitchen. I may not have mastered the taste, but I have totally mastered the technique! This is how I like to describe it to friends who are yet to be initiated.

Plump apple quarters are arranged fan like in the base of a pan. This pan must have a metal handle for reasons apparent shortly. You add enough sugar (I like to use half brown) to rot the teeth of the entire population of a small French village, like Lourmarin, put in a good supply of creamy dairy butter that would otherwise spread la panne of that same population for a week; and let it caramelise. You will have already made a luscious pastry (I prefer short although I’ve seen recipes that use flaky, probably more French) and it’s now resting in the frigo. Here comes the tricky part. You’ll have made this spectacularly impressive dessert because you have guests coming for dinner. By the time it’s ready to go into the oven, you’ve had quelques vins. The trick is to stay capable of rolling out the pastry – flopping it over the apple concoction, getting it in the oven (hence the need for metal handle) and remembering to start the timer. Then comes the blood alcohol test that’s better, yet more inconvenient than the one the one used by the gendarmes. You must now get this creation onto the serving plate. The pan that is holding your pièce de résistance must be upended and you must remove pan with tart in tact. You get the picture. If you can do this, you can operate heavy machinery. Now you’ve really earned that next glass of Pinot Noir as well as the adoration of your dinner guests.

Bon chance for the rest of your writing workshop.

Gai Reid

Eileen deCamp

Lovely photo Kristin! I can't believe you have time to keep up with FWAD and your workshop there in Paris! Enjoy!

Mary Kissane

Kristin, d'accord on the Rodin. I also recommend the Musée Marmottan & of course Orsay as well. All 3 much more relaxing & doable than the hectic Louvre. Bon courage avec les études!
Cynthia- when were you at Middlebury's Ecole Francaise? I was there in 1978-79, so I'm probably much older than you. A marvelous, life-altering experience, n'est-ce pas?
Mary in tropical St. Louis, MO (tho we're getting a brief respite in the 80s this week)


Hello Kristin!

I guess that, being in Paris, you can't avoid the trio "métro, boulot, dodo", but what a dream of a "boulot" you are going to have for a whole week!

As for me:
Pas de métro
Un tas de boulot
et dodo?
oui, parce qu'il le faut!

The family "visitors" are on their way and will occupy all my time for a week... The plumber and the carpenter and a few more people will be working here too (for longer than a week). All a bit of a nightmare for me, so, not always easy to keep smiling. I'd rather escape on one of those lovely "vélibes" and wonder around "le 7ème arrondissement" or spend time listening to inspiring tutors conducting their workshops and lectures, participating to discussions with other students and learning about the art of story telling.

What a fantastic opportunity for you to be part of "The Paris Writers' Workshop" among the Anglophone community in Paris!
I'm sure you'll have "une semaine extraordinaire et inoubliable"!

See you next week on FWAD!
Have a wonderful time!

Cinéma Vérité: wondering whether we might get a few photos of Paris this Saturday, but don't worry if you haven't got time for that. We'll all understand.

Bob Haine

Speaking of "les velos", my favorite time of year arrives this Saturday July 3, i.e., Le Tour de France, three weeks of getting up early (I'm in California) to watch Lance and the boys, and listen to Phil and Paul on Versus as "Le Grand Boucle" winds south and east, up and down the Alps and the Pyrenees, finally arriving on Les Champs Elysees on Sunday, July 25. Can Lance make it eight "maillots jaunes", or is Alberto too young and too strong? On verra!



Oh how I envy you staying the the "hood" -- the 7th. I like the topic in the context of the 7th since it taps into the vacation part of my brain rather than my work-a-day brain.

Last September we spent a week in the 7th on Rue San Dominique. My "job" (I volunteered!) was to make the morning run to the patisserie for morning delights. I had all the necessary job qualifications - up with the sun, a Paris patisserie junkie, in need of a morning cafe creme and a smoke.

I must say, I prefer my vacation job to my real job. I would sit at an outside table at small cafe on the corner and sip a cafe creme and watch Parisians start their work day as the cars, motorcyles, and pedestrians went off to work, often with children in tow to be dropped off at school on the way. I would wonder what type of work they did, did they take all these early morning sites, sounds, and smells in stride as I would if I were on my way to work? I would look at their clothes to see if that would give me any hints of their profession. Sometimes I would just sit back and admire the shoes and fight the temptation to go get a pair.

I didn't mind paying 4 euros for my morning cafe since it was such a delight to watch Paris wake up and get going each morning. Break time over. I would stop in the boulengerie/patisserie across from the apartment, climb the spiral staircase to the apartment, and put on a pot of coffee.

Have a wonderful time in Paris Kristin. Do some people watching.

Julie F

I've been out of the loop recently as I prepare for my imminent trip to France. Bonne chance in your writing workshop, Kristin. Come back and tell us all about it. What course did you take? Someday I'll make it there for one of their workshops.

Joan Linneman

L'Orangerie a la Place de la Concorde est fantastique. The later Monet waterlily panels in the basement are guaranteed to erase the metro, boulot, dodo blues.
Joan L.


Je viens de rentrer d'un voyage en France avec sept élèves. Je connais bien la rue Vaugirard. Paris coule dans mes veines;elle me manque déjà! Amuse-toi bien, Julie. Il faut profiter!

cynthia in the french alps

The bikes reminded me that I got lucky this year for the Tour de France. It's coming through out town, Chambery, on July 14 so I'll see it for the first time. Thanks for another great post. Cynthia in the French Alps


Metro Boulot Dodo = "the daily grind"?

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