Friday, March 22, 2013

The Ins and Outs of 40 Rue Descartes

Like most buildings in Paris, we have no key for the front door, just the key code that we have to enter to unlock. The subtle click of the door opening is always a welcome sound.

Once you enter the doorway into the hall, there is a "minuterie", a button for a light switch that puts on the lights for one minute. Our goal is to  make it up the stairs before the light goes off. Sometimes it goes off on the 3rd floor landing so we have to find another one to push. They have one on each level.

Once you start up, you follow a winding staircase over wooden stairs that are hundreds of years old. They are very worn, but in great shape. There is one at the first turn that has been replaced and it is slightly higher than the others. We both trip over it almost every time.

The concierge comes in often to wash the entire staircase. We have seen her as she is just finishing on the street level. As we go up, the stairs get dryer and dryer until we reach our floor where they are completely dry. So, it takes a while to wash them.

Just when you think you've made it to the 4th floor you remember that the 4th floor in France is actually the 5th floor.  The street floor, the rez de chaussee, does not count. There is one more to go, plus, climbing the half-flight up the glass staircase inside the apartment.

Finally, you reach the 4th/5th floor and take a moment to look back on what you've accomplished. It is 88 steps which we've been doing 3-4 times a day. So, we figure we've earned the baguette we lugged up the stairs.

So, carrying luggage up the stairs can be a problem. But, with our first round of company, Pete and Ann Brundrett, we managed to get all their stuff upstairs in one trip. We'll see how it goes with our next round....


  1. Wow! You two will come back with crazy muscles for all those steps!!

    1. I hope we get some benefit out of the climbing. We are getting pretty used to it and don't mind running out for that last minute thing we need for dinner.

  2. This will all make a wonderful book some day! Can't wait to see it together with all the photos. By the way, floor numbering is the same in Germany - der Grundstock is the ground floor, and then what we in the US would call the second floor is der ersten stock (first floor.) How could we Americans have gotten it so very wrong? :)

  3. Er, that should be der ersten Stock. (cap on "stock")

    1. Yeah, I thought stock should have been capitalized...
      I keep thinking how I'll put a book together. I'll probably ask you some questions about it before I'm through.
      Just need to find more time to sit down and paint or go out with the sketch pad. I actually bought a travel watercolor set to try filling in the sketches with some color.
      We'll see how that works.


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