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Visions of happiness

In the interests of keeping things lighthearted, particularly when the going has been a little less polished and serene than I might have liked, I have often wise-cracked that there has clearly been a dreadful mistake and that I am in fact supposed to be living a different life.  Usually the whimsy life referred to contains a palatial home and whatever accoutrements the unfortunate recipient of my frolicking wit cares to embellish it with.  In fact it is not at all uncommon for me to help myself to a counterfeit life just for the helluvit and to make fictional daydreaming sugar whatever the reality of the bitter medicinal pill of the moment is.  It is fair to comment that in my own make-believe there is much detail in the sketch.  Details like tall columns and ornate plaster-work and rooms big enough to dance in.   It’s a trifling and inoffensive affectation.  Harmless, I am.  Occasionally deluded but entirely inoccuous.

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Now imagine this, if you will.   When I knew for certain sure that we would be spending the first six months of this year in Grenoble, a city we visit often and of which I am fond as one is fond of a rather nice passing acquaintance – that person who always seems so cordial and kind and whom you don’t really know at all but with whom you are certain you could be the bosomest of buddies given the chance.  That was Grenoble for me …. a hint of something possible and tantalising.  So once I knew we would be here, my reverie started in earnest.

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The rapidly gilded fantasy had some concrete and real decisions attached.  We wanted to live right in the middle of town to get under the skin of the city at it’s heart, not at it’s suburban fingertips and we wanted to live in an old building.  Around this time, as my frenzy of searching for flats heltered and skeltered hither and thither bouncing round the internet like a manic squashball I came across a place which prompted me to forward the detail to the long-suffering Husband with Two Brains with the covering note ‘Please can we have this one?  If you let us have this one I will live with no furniture and will exist on a diet of dust and air for the whole six months.  I actually will.  So please please please say  we can’.  The Brains responded with the email equivalent of a non-commital smile and nod.

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When we arrived in Grenoble just before Christmas to arrange viewings through the Institute that HB2 is working with, The Director (a fellow I have always liked) made a cool and frankly rather too razor-sharp exit saying that renting places in Grenoble is like extracting well-rooted teeth with no anaesthetic and sweetly wishing us well as he fled for the hills.  The unfortunate and delightfully stoic young assistant assigned to us, started to work through our list of properties.  She arranged two viewings that afternoon and two the next morning  The first place, the top floor of an historic monument facing l’ancien Palais du Parliament, was love at first sight, albeit unfinished.  The second would certainly do with a lovely double aspect salon and excellent location.  I should explain two things at this point.  The first is that we are experienced at renting in France.  Here, you will normally sign a lease for three years after which you can extend for a further three or six years.  The rights remain with the tenant – the landlord can’t kick you out but you can terminate with notice at any time.  That is hugely over-simplified but you get the gist.  So apartment number two was shown to us by a  young estate agent who seemed incapable of standing up straight but favoured leaning provocatively on any available solid object of sufficient height, facial expression impassively composed somewhere between nonchalant and fashionably bored.   The deep inpenetrably dark eyes of this glacially chic individual flickered with contempt when we explained that we only wanted the place for six months (something that in the UK a landlord would be generally delighted to bite your hand off for, particularly when the agreement will be with an institute of standing in the city meaning no risk at all on the landlord) …. six months?  No.  That absolute, resolute  ‘non’  beloved of the French when there is positively no wiggle room, no negotiation and it’s been a pleasure, bonne journée.  Never mind.  We still have number one and that was our favourite.  Or do we?  The assistant called the agent who escalated her to the manager and the manager called the landlord to confirm that it would be ready mid-January and with the lovely early Christmas present that they had secured good tenants through a venerable institute for six months thereby neatly bypassing the winter months when rentals are lean in the city and dropping them into prime renter-reaping territory in mid-summer.   And there was that word again ‘non’ … not because they didn’t want us for 6 months but because they were unsure that they could get the tiny amount of work required to complete the flat done before …. March.

The following morning we had number three, a sprawling loft inhabited by a seemingly endless cascade of student girls and filled, predictably with all the necessary and un-necessary detritus of girlie-ness which took me ricocheting back to the years and seemingly endless years of four daughters and one bathroom and no-one ever in a matching pair of socks.  I put my bravest mummy face on, Two Brains walked round with a visible and clearly disgusting smell under his fine Gaelic nose.  I was stoically convinced that it could work, that once the girls had erradicated the landfill and revealed the space that I could get a certain urban edgy vibe going in this place and release my thinly veiled inner bohemian on the unsuspecting Grenoblois population.  And I might have continued in this vein were it not for  the casual statement by head girl that the broken door to the building had been like it for months but the landlord was tired of fixing it so he’d decided not to repair it ever again.  Now don’t get me wrong, I can fantasise about a bit of gritty living, indeed I was at that very moment inventing  a bit of latterday Beatnicking but the idea of absolutely random anyone being able to walk into the place uninvited at absolutely random any time was not appetising in the slightest.  Really, not at all.  Oddly enough.   Number four was in a good location, a good building (Haussmannian) with high ceilings and lovely floors.  But compact.  Very very compact.  Particularly the shower with resplendent puce toilet squished next to it – the colour enhancing the fact that it was clearly extremely uncomfortable with it’s situation.   The cubicle was so small I am confident that I would have got wedged whilst washing and warbling and had to be prized out with grease-guns and crowbars by a team of jolly pompiers (firemen) thus making the wrong sort of headlines in le Dauphiné.  Or worse, le Monde and picked up and flashed round the world by Reuters.  I felt quite faint at this inevitable prospect and the place did not make the list.  Which left us with precisely no list and no choice but to drive to England for Christmas knowing that instead of planning removals we would be living out of a suitcase in a hotel at the start of January.

And so it was that at the dawn of 2017 we arrived back in Grenoble filled with the resolution that New Year’s inevitably ingender and fixing our determined chins, set about finding our perfect nest.  The valiant assistant made more phone calls working her way through the new list we had drawn up.  She netted three visits from six possible roosts and off we set to visit the first one.  I was filled with zealous hope for this one.  In the Quartier des Antiquaires the dossier showed a beautifully presented place with high ceilings and lovely floors and oozing appeal and charm.  We arrived on the nose of the appointed time and a waxy rather sallow skinned fellow opened the door.  He reeked, positively seeped from his every pore, of smoke and clearly not just cigarette smoke.  If you catch the fetid drift.  I am fairly certain that he never ventures outside and if he does it is certainly not in daylight.  His eyes were hollow and red rimmed and I am quietly confident that he had not seen this hour of the day in many a decade.  This was not an advertisement for spritzy healthy living.  The flat, as it turned out was quite hard to see being entirely rammed solid with his enormous volume of possessions.  In fact the place had the air that if you moved too quickly and caused the tiniest zephyr it would simply burst.  He told me happily that he and his wife were performance artists.  I wondered idly if this place were actually a set for one of their plays because it was like wandering through a hellish series of tableaux – you know those performances in several parts where you walk from set to set and are treated to seemingly disconnected installments that somehow in the minds of the creator make sense.  And you adopt that air of serene interest whilst all the while looking for an escape route.  That.  There are no doors you see, just a series of depositories for some of the most seriously cluttered clutter I have ever seen.  None of which has ever been cleaned.  I enquired politely if the kitchen furniture would be staying.  Which it wouldn’t.  This (and it is not at all uncommon in France) meant that the kitchen would consist of a space with a tap in it.  I didn’t know whether to be relieved or dismayed as my addled mind tried to find a way of making this Danté-on-dope-interior work for us.  I failed.  Had I succeeded and decided this was the one, I would now be going through the rigours of divorce – HB2’s expression was granite-set and distinctly unpretty.  As we left, the fellow invited us to his wife’s next performance.  I smiled and nodded and remembered that I have not the teensiest smidge of space in my schedule  for the next many aeons.

Which left us with two places to visit.  One of my favourite parts of Grenoble are les quais and the second place was on Quai de France which is historic and convenient albeit the other side of the river.  The call of water, a view of water has me every time so my hope-ometer was registering off the scale for this baby when we arrived early the following morning.  Do you see a pattern forming?   You are correct.  The pictures of this apartment must have been at least a decade old when, un-lived in, the owner had restored it and dressed it for the Estate Agents to lure people like us in.  Or not people like us actually …. this had been a co-location (flatshare) for years.  The young people were delightful but let’s be brutally frank with self …. I have children who are older than these bambini.  I am no longer content with student digs in fact I might venture that at my lofty age it could be construed as a teeny bit infra-dig.  That and the off-hand remark by the young man showing us around that despite having two bathrooms they only ever use one because the other one is dangerous.  The pompiers flashed through my mind again.  Will I ever find a place where I can make my ablutions without fear of torrid headlines or death or both in this city?

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The final place on Cours Jean Jaurès which is the main artery of Grenoble was lovely.  Honestly.  No catch.  It was delightful.  Good Belle-Epoque building (not Haussmannian but with views over those that make up the bold and bustling corners of the streets facing the river); high ceilings; shower that would not risk entombment every time I entered it, nor, the slightly bewildered agent assured me in that ‘humour her, she can’t help it, she’s foreign’ way  when asked, any other lurking dangers in the bathroom; fitted kitchen to include white goods (we have them but preferred not to have to move them if possible) and all in all a jolly good fit.  But of course we still had to traverse the, apparantly insurmountable, six months issue so we wanted another as back-up.

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Except there were no more choices.  Don’t get me wrong, the little hotel-appart was very comfortable but living in a space where swinging a cat even if we had one and thought that was the reasonable pastime of a sane person, was not in the plan for six months.  What to do?  The poor assistant was developing an unbecoming facial tic and I really didn’t want the guilt associated with this developing further into a full-blown twitch.   At this point, I suggested in the faintest of whispers that I actually knew that the place I had suggested we live in with no food nor furniture for six months was still available.  I let my sentence trail ephemerally into sweet silence and waited for the inevitable pounce of desperation. One.  Two.  Three …  Two Brains and The Assistant politely, and to my possible shame, predictably, obliged and later that afternoon, I walked through vast coaching doors into my own dream.  The ceilings are at least 13′ high with panelling and moulding and ceiling roses that would grace any fine born abode, pillars and a 65 foot hallway with lovely tiling, parquet floors and a kitchen sporting a piano.  No honestly a piano.  Un piano de cuisine is a range cooker.   This one is vintage if you take vintage to include sometime in, at a guess the early seventies.  I’m a sucker for a good cooker and this one has me smitten.  You can opt to take the gorgeous old elevator complete with pull-down highly polished wood seat on brass fittings, or glide up the lovely gently winding stone staircase.  The double front doors to the apartment are high, heavy, adorned with beautiful brasswork and so finely balanced that they seemingly float open and shut with the merest whisper of pressure.  The windows are floor to ceiling and open onto plant balconies, the internal doors mostly double have glazed panels to let the light flood the place.  But did I mention pillars?  Pillars!  It has beauteous ornate columns supporting it’s dizzingly high ceilings. The views from the front are of la Banque de France, itself a gorgeous, unmistakeably French, almost Chateauesque building.  The ground floor of the building also houses a bank so if I get bored with living my go-to daydream I can press reset and imagine myself Bonnie plotting with Clyde to pull off the heist of the century.  I could happily sport that beret ….

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I wafted around the place with a look of the contented Tigger when he had tried the haycorns and the thistles and the hunny and discovered that Roo’s strengthening medicine was actually what Tiggers are meant to eat.  In the same vein, Osyths are meant to live in this place for this six months.  Of this I am thoroughly certain.  In fact, I may chain myself to the fine vintage radiators on move-out day and go on hunger strike.  It is love.   In 1822 Stendhal noted in ‘On Love’ that ‘there are as many styles of beauty as there are visions of happiness.’   Welcome to my vision of happiness ….

PS:  There is learning in most everything if one is open to learning.  Some years ago and not of choice I lost most of what I owned.  All the things that I had moved and moved and moved with and which had enabled me to make each place that my daughters and I arrived in, a home in a jiffy.  What I now have is very little.  And it is not of any significant value.  Were it to be auctioned I imagine it might buy a bag of soggy chips but that is the sum of it.  There are some pretty things, there are my father’s plants, and of course there are books but what were always referred to as our ‘things’ are gone.  Most of what I have is second hand Ikea.  And here is the lesson.  I worried and worried that my skimpy collection would be ridiculous in this space.  I had japed about living with no furniture but I had serious misgivings that we would simply  look ludicrous.  As it transpires, when you have bones as beautiful as this place has you can artfully arrange a very few things (and I  speak as a magpie who may finally be embracing her suffocated inner minimalist going forward) and hey presto bongo … house beautiful.  Rather like the notion that Audrey Hepburn or Sophia Loren could wear a bin-bag and be elegantly alluring.  It turns out that it’s not a notion at all but rather it is a solid, unassailable truth.

And if you are wondering … the place that stole our hearts at the very start?  Is still under construction.  And the place that wouldn’t have us for six months?  Still to let.

119 Comments Post a comment
  1. Blushing loos and dangerous bathrooms….how French!

    But how did you transport my last house in France to Grenoble and push it up flights of stairs?

    Liked by 2 people

    March 7, 2017
    • Oh heaven! I hope you enjoyed that place as much as I am loving this one. Dangerous bathrooms are indeed a French speciality. I have deliberately held back on the delights of the ‘facilities’ in this place … un peu speciale (but not potentially lethal so far as we can determine)

      Liked by 4 people

      March 7, 2017
      • There has to be an academic study of the societal relevance of French ‘facilities’…I too have seen some in my time, not actually lethal as long as you are sober but distinctly odd.
        Odd enough to make you wonder about the people who installed and used them…

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • I have spent an unhealthy amount of time wondering about those that installed them …. we should co-author a paper!

        Liked by 2 people

        March 7, 2017
      • The first ones I met with were the ones situated in the kitchen..I suppose it made for spaciousness…
        Yes, an academic paper! given some of the tosh masquerading as such a proper subject of research such as this should attract funding….

        Liked by 2 people

        March 7, 2017
      • I’m absolutely bluddy certain it would attract funding. In the kitchen …. novel!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • Perhaps it was a feature of modernisation projects in the Loire Valley…

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • We looked at a place with 400 Square metres habitable that had one loo up several corridors squished halfway up the stairs and literally too small to be called a broom cupboard. The same viewing trip netted a place with no facilities and when we queried it the immo stared bewildered and said ‘go in the fields … the animals do’ ….

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • An elderly neighbour of mine, talking about his youth in the French countryside, explained that when – at eleven – he was sent out to work as a live in farm boy the farm foreman – le grand valet – showed him where he would be sleeping in the barn and told him he could pee in the barn, but must go outside to a certain spot behind a hedge for number twos. The men/boys had one hedge, the girls/women another, well apart to preserve morality.

        Liked by 2 people

        March 7, 2017
      • Certainly the French have a very different approach to the call of nature. I remember The Bean doing a splendid poop in front of a house we were viewing so I picked it up and popped the offensive matter in the boot of the car awaiting later disposal. The owner was highly amused ‘it’s only nature’ he said. Which it is. I just don’t like it on my shoes!

        Liked by 2 people

        March 7, 2017
      • @Osyth, you’d certainly and absolutely love the Japanese bathrooms… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2017
      • I do hope I will be able to visit one day!

        Like

        March 8, 2017
  2. I’m so happy that you got the place that you wanted! What an experience! Finding a place where we want to live can be challenging for us gypsies. Happy for you.

    Liked by 3 people

    March 7, 2017
    • You are so right …. the gypsy soul is not easy to tame but for now I am very pleased with this. And knowing it is temporary makes it even better, somehow …

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2017
      • That’s great. 6 months is a good time, not too long, but long enough to explore more than the surface. Enjoy!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • I will. I believe that when life throws opportunity in your path it is essential to embrace it wholeheartedly. I’m looking forward to sharing more of the city and the mountains here! X

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • I’m looking forward to you sharing it! ..and I agree!

        Liked by 2 people

        March 7, 2017
  3. Oh wow wow wow. Did I say wow? Just the floors and the radiators are furniture enough. I would happily go without food for this stunning place. Congrats 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    March 7, 2017
    • Thank you so much … there speaks a kindred (and why would I be surprised). It’s only for a short while and I am absolutely loving every second. I feel like a very fortunate girl indeed. xxx

      Like

      March 7, 2017
  4. I’m with Posh. Wow, what a great place. I bet in six months you’ll be chaining yourself to that gorgeous radiator, refusing to leave! Congratulations.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 7, 2017
    • There is no doubt that I will be refusing to leave and I can be quite feisty so it may be wise to pretend you don’t know me around this time …. it’s not going to be pretty 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2017
  5. Lovely. Just lovely, I have that mirror in photo 18…..

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
    • Of course I dream about what I would do if it were mine …. the dreams must always continue, n’est pas? Mirrors are a minor obsession …. be gone minimalist, I feel the need to acquire a few more!!!

      Like

      March 7, 2017
  6. Wow! Magnifique!!!! What else can I say?

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
    • I feel as though I absolutely have to appreciate every nano-second because chances like this don’t come along often in a lifetime 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2017
  7. Oh, this brings back such vivid memories of our own search for an apartment in Paris. We didn’t have any lovely assistant to help us and we were looking for a furnished apartment. It was quite a story though we ended up finding the perfect place but not necessarily in the location we had imagined. We still have fond memories of that apartment, of the building and our lovely neighbours. Glad you found the place of your dream…(Suzanne)

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
    • I honestly think I would have gone off bang if I’d had to do the whole thing myself – it was an experience but so frustrating in many ways. I am very fortunate to be able to have this as our home for a while and I am so much enjoying exploring the city and the surrounds. Having the opportunity to be in a different place should always be enriching and I remember so well when I first followed your blog in Paris … I have taken inspiration from there, for sure!

      Like

      March 7, 2017
      • I think looking for an apartment in France and in many places around the world is always hard work. And I agree with you that it is fun to be able to live in new places for a longer period of time so you can explore in more depth. Glad our blog while we were in Paris is an inspiration for you to explore your surroundings. I still dream of being able to do it again but there are no plans in the near future for us.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • But you must hold the dream even if it always stays a dream … a life without dreams is too unfortunate!

        Like

        March 7, 2017
      • As usual, you are totally right. Maybe one day we will be able to hope around and stay in various places long enough to explore…I will keep the dream alive!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • Oops..hop around not hope around…I hate it that I can’t edit my comments once I have posted them…

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • Oh me too! I’m always reading after I have posted them only to find I have made a mistake, sometimes an embarrassing mistake! Hop around is fine and I hopE you will too! Et moi, bien sûr ….

        Like

        March 7, 2017
  8. It really is a magnificent place. I have seen some new homes that put in columns in order to proclaim that they are expensive and fancy; this one is the real deal. Regal.
    I recently learned that there is a law that says if you rent to someone over age 60, you cannot evict them, no matter what they do. Not that you are 60, but I suspect the ageism is going to seep down, just in case.
    And as for vacation rentals, they are limited to a maximum of 120 days, no renewals allowed.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
    • Magnificent it is. I feel very privileged to live in such a place. I know just the sort of place you mean – the fake it to make it look grand thing but these were just done because that is what you do! I’m interested in the over 60 rule (my husband is, as it happens …. this could be my key to overstaying 😉. I jest – he would be appalled if I misbehaved when we are the guests of the institute he started his career in and who have been extraordinarily generous) and the holiday thing too. We have friends who spent two long stints in Carcassonne as their honeymoon – of memory they were 90 days each … they don’t own a place in France though are thinking about it. Many thanks for your very interesting insightful comment. And while I remember, I am not going to press the follow button which I keep forgetting to do! I promise not to be a nuisance 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2017
  9. You go! As always…wonderful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
  10. “Fictional daydreaming sugar,” now that’s a sweet phrase of ever I heard one. And a sweet house..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
    • Thank you George …. it’s certainly keeping me sweet for the moment and given that it’s for a fixed and relatively short time, I am exercising my best foot forward in appreciation of the way things are 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2017
  11. Absolutely beautiful Osyth! Compared to my little RV, you are in a palace. As always I enjoy your posts, so wonderfully written with humor and detail. Happy day my friend! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
    • A lot of detail …. rather long so thank you for sticking with it and I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s the closest thing to a palace I’m ever likely to live in so I’m appreciating every moment! Thank you for taking the time to comment, I always love to hear from you – hope your day is sunshine filled and warm and relaxing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2017
      • My day is going very well, no sunshine as we are expecting some rain later this evening – but it certainly is warm. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • Terry, we had rain and wind on Saturday that almost blew me off my feet and it’s been rain and mizzle ever since … the only consolation is that the mountains are really blanketed in snow again. So I hope your rain passes quickly and I wish us BOTH sunny days for the rest of the week. Because in the end, Little Miss Sunshine needs those replenishing rays and I know my dear friend does too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
  12. Swoon! Utterly wonderful place. But only six months …..

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
    • It’s the closest thing to a palace I will ever ever live in and oddly the fact that it’s only for six months makes me appreciate it more. Of course I’m completely deserving of this magnificence … let’s not forget that LOL 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2017
      • Absolutely! And I get what you mean about appreciating it more because it’s temporary. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 7, 2017
      • I don’t want everything to be temporary on the altar of gratitude of course but it seems OK in this instance. Greed is something I deprecate so I wouldn’t want to be greedy. Or maybe just a teeny bit? 😊

        Like

        March 7, 2017
  13. What a journey! Well, you were most definitely meant to be in this beautiful place. I love its character. It suits you. Enjoy! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    March 7, 2017
    • What a lovely thing to say! The temporary nature of it is definitely forcing me to really appreciate it …. though if someone said I could stay a while longer I would sacrifice my halo for the chance. But not forever. Living in a city after so many years is enlightening but the bit that is not at all enlightening is that in the end I am so much more suited to country life. 😊 x

      Liked by 1 person

      March 7, 2017
  14. I can see the headline now…”Local beatnik wannabee extracted from bidet by local pompiers, husband looks on in dismay and disgust!”

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2017
    • Hahahahahaaaa! That made me chuckle deep and long! I havent shared the bathrooms here – they warrant a post all of their own and fortunately we are two steps from the local fire station should the unthinkable happen …. HB2 has an extraordinary range of disgusted expressions – most of which he is blissfully unaware of!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2017
  15. munchkinontheroad #

    Drop Dead Gorgeous! Only problem I can see is trying to pry yourself away:)

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • It is and there will be a period of mourning when I have to leave but the fact that it is for a finite and relatively short time means that I am alert to really appreciating it which is a fine state of mind to be in. Your sister might enjoy this one if she is reading blogs – I could send her the link if you think? She was always keen on the house posts 🙂

      Like

      March 8, 2017
  16. I’m just checking Ryanair flights; happy to adorn a small corner for you. You can call me an installation.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • Oh please do! Such fun it would be …. a scone eating installation – the French would surely find you fascinant!

      Like

      March 8, 2017
  17. Pan #

    Classic Osyth style.. A true rolling post with a kaleidoscope of confirmimg pictures passing in and out of view as the story deftly cruised the curves refusing to be derailed in fun asides..
    P.S. Am willing to bake and ship tasty tidbits.. Air and dust diets can be terminal you know..

    You know how just a few sentences will lodge in your brain in a story ?
    Mine is the broken door.. Your concerns were about who outside could come in.. My red flag was, who kept breaking the door ? 😕
    I need to sleep and this was a great bedtime story 😊
    💛

    Liked by 2 people

    March 8, 2017
    • How absolutely LOVELY to see you! And thank you … you have such a way of reviewing post with real depth and understanding (and in this case fun). Fear not about the dust and air … believe me I am indulging mercilessly in all that this city has to offer foodwise and I rather feel I should share a couple of recipes for the fun of it. And to give myself an excuse to cook a bit more on the Piano and then eat eat eat it!! Sleep well and bonne route to you x

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2017
      • Pan #

        The pictures almost match your storytelling quality.. That is a high bar to reach.. I hope you do post some recipes so either me or my sis can reblog them 😄
        My cooking inspirations have been far and few between.. But boy have her photo challenge entries and reblogs been a feast for the eyes.. Without her keeping the blog rolling, I think it might’ve ended up I’m the junk heap by now !
        Ok, enough rambling on 😄
        G’night 😏

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2017
  18. Pan #

    *in not I’m 😬
    You may be the dancing queen but I reign as the typo queen..

    😒 hooray ? 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
  19. Wow wow wow!!! WHAT AN AMAZING building – utterly magnificent and no wonder it was ‘love at first sight’… Oh my goodness – you’ll never want to leave. This time it will be those hunky firemen arriving to cut the chains that you have used to chain yourself to those amazing columns rather than greasing you out of the tiny bathroom. You’ll be World Famous as the story goes viral!!!
    Thank you for keeping gripped to the end of this fabulous story…. So often the end of a book is an anti-climax but not with you Osyth! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • Madame Wendy Wonderful you are FAR too kind! I’m so glad you enjoyed the read. It is a beautiful place and I am appreciating every moment but I also have ‘secret plans and clever tricks’ as Roald Dahl’s Enormous Crocodile was fond of saying … the pompiers are based two steps from here (and very fine they are too, if I may pique your interest a little 😉 ) – I wave and smile decorously every time I see them … I figure if we are friends they might ignore the call to come and remove me when the time comes and I am, indeed, chained to a column having swallowed the key! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2017
      • Oh ma belle amie… Mon intérêt est certainement piqué ! Je vais ce matin acheter mes chaînes en vue de se joindre à vous pour un « sit in » ! Je dois avouer que j’ai travaillé pour les services d’incendie pour plusieurs années dans la salle de contrôle d’urgence… peut-être que je peux tirer dans quelques faveurs… J’ai eu une fois ma voiture taillée dans un parking !! (Combination of school girl French and Google Translate.. I admit it – I only got a grade 2 CSE!)… I am feeling slight sorry for Brains2 as he must be starving.. I know you said you’d go without food but really Osyth – making hubby cook for himself – is that a ‘good wifely’ thing to do… Oh hang on.. my poor hubby has to do that too and I’m not chained to a pillar.. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2017
      • You made me hoot with laughter – particularly the comment about. Hubby having to cook his own supper … your French is very good indeed – and I’m very open to your offer to tirer un faveur 😂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2017
      • And Vice Versa Osyth – your story today kept me spellbound to the end and then chuckling at the vision of you chained to the pillar on and off all day! What would life be like if we couldn’t laugh? I wish I could take credit for that French.. I can just about read it but couldn’t manage without Google translate! Sit in it is! Just give me a shout when you’re ready to be tied up! x

        Liked by 1 person

        March 8, 2017
      • Will do! I’m definitely up for the sit-in (with some nicely chilled rosé and a friend or two to share and laugh with it seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do 😂) xx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 9, 2017
      • Absolutely Osyth… wine and not forgetting the cheese …..obviously!! xx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 9, 2017
      • Bien sûr- il faut toujours y avoir du 🧀

        Like

        March 10, 2017
  20. Looks ab fab. I hope you’ll be very happy there. I have similar tastes to you I think and it makes me wonder how I came to be living where I am where everything was renovated, a la francaise, in the seventies. I’m green with envy!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • Oh my own house here, the one we are endlessly renovating and which is far less habitable than when we bought it and it was unliveable then, that is very very different to this. But the opportunity to live here awhile is fortune indeed and the fact that it is only a moment in time means I am consciously devouring every moment with pleasure!

      Like

      March 8, 2017
  21. You make a nightmare search seem really entertaining. Congratulations on the result.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • It certainly gave us some nuits blanches but we landed on our feet and although it is for a limited time it is a lovely place to be stranded! Many thanks for the nice comment, as usual

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2017
  22. First off, hubby with 2 brains is a wise man. I love the photos and can understand your enchantment. Gorgeous place. Now I wonder why I didn’t get to Grenoble?

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • Yes, I’m very lucky with him … he is a smart fellow 😊 I recall you were in Besançon for a while … I guess you didn’t need any other mountains being in the beautiful Jura! I plan to write about Grenoble each week so if your appetite is piqued along the way, pop it on the wish-list!

      Like

      March 8, 2017
  23. Oh wow, this could persuade me out of the country and back into city living. The only time I have not lived surrounded by, at least in part, green fields, was during my London days, but this, this is pure heaven. Love love love it xx

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • It’s perfect for the relatively short while we are here and I will be sad to leave it (and possibly obstructive!) but in my heart I’m a bumpkin, first class. Meanwhile I am really counting my fortune tokens and making sure I don’t lose the sense of wonder at being in such a beautiful appart xx PS: Phew – glad you like it … you are a taste barometer, I think – discerning and stylish!

      Like

      March 8, 2017
  24. Wow! Up and down Grenoble! Just to be up again 😉 So glad you could convince your husband 😀 I can´t get those pompiers out of my head 😉 What a very lovely read, Osyth! You´ve made me smile the whole time 🙂 And those pilliars? Just brilliant!! 🙂 I would definitely chain me there too, but before I would probably sock-skate through all the rooms – those floors look wonderful! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • Sarah, the sock-skating and dancing is the best bit 😉 Those pompiers are just around the corner as it turns out and oddly enough I make sure I wear my very BEST smile when I walk on by! Thank you so much for the lovely comment – it made me smile which is always good xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      March 8, 2017
      • Hehehe! 😉 I imagine you would! Do they smile back?? And are they whistling and saying: “Oh lá lá!” 🙂 ? Pompiers are normally quite outgoing and nice people I think, the partner of my best friend is one. Although I always have to hold my ears when he´s starting to tell of the gory details that his job can include 😉
        Thank you too for making me smile, dear Osyth – you always do!! 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 9, 2017
      • Of course …. they are French Men!! The other day they were doing some sort of exercise which entailed scaling their building and rescuing one another from balconies. Complete with shiny silver helmets they were definitely looking for an audience!!! Xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 9, 2017
      • Ooh! Would have loved to watch them 😉 Who could resist such men in action 😉 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 10, 2017
      • I’ve just walked past with my camera and they were out in the sunshine polishing the fire tender and various other equipment. I thought better of taking snaps but I think they would probably pose quite willingly! Xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 10, 2017
      • I´m sure they would!!! 🙂 Well, maybe next time 😉 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 10, 2017
  25. Well my dear gypsy friend, I am happy to read that you have found a nest for the next six months and are not living in the back of a wagon in Rumania.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 8, 2017
    • Haha! I was going through a quiet meltdown … I do have a gypsy soul but there are limits!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 9, 2017
  26. What a delightfully fun post and such a stunning apartment. The journey was worth it I think…

    Liked by 1 person

    March 9, 2017
    • Thank you! The journey was certainly worth it … and the fact that it is only for a relatively short while has me reminded daily that I must appreciate every moment. Which is a good place to be! Many thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment – it is most kind 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 9, 2017
  27. lindywhitton #

    Minimalist is a dream for me and you are living in it – at least for the next 6 months.Empty rooms fill me with envy. 27 years of living in the same house means there are a lot of “things” although I do try and declutter now and then. My little “potter’s shed” over in the paddock currently holds… a pool table, a dining table and 6 chairs, a washing machine, a dryer, 3 cane chairs, a vaccuum cleaner, and a few other bits and bobs! I literally threw out the kitchen sink only a month ago. ( had been keeping it post reno just “in case”) If you need any of the above drop me a line!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 9, 2017
    • You had me in stitches with your description of the shed …. but that’s the thing. If we are in one place for a time, we accumulate. My husband has lived in the house in Massachusetts for 26 years. Sorting all the accumulated stuff with him and abandoning much of it to either charity or tip took up much of last year. When I get back this year I will be able to get on and revive the tired place so that it can be sold next year to fund our French dream. He apologised countless times but the fact is that I would have been just the same if I hadn’t moved SO many times. I do miss my ‘things’ … things that came from my grandmother and my mother but they are bedded in my heart and for now, living in a place that has so much space is very freeing. It’s temporary which means appreciation is laced into its lining. Or at least it is for me …. 😊

      Like

      March 10, 2017
  28. The joys of it all! And that wonderful French approach ( how do you say “smart ass” in French?) to everything. Glad to read that all is sorted, and glad those days are over for me… Well, you never know, but one can hope! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    March 9, 2017
    • The journeys’ the good bit though and I wouldn’t trade any of mine, even the bits where the bumps gave fat bruises. Here is fun and faintly ridiculous (the place is almost 180 sq metres) but for 6 months I can waft and drift and pretend I actually am that girl who does whatever those fêted girls do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 9, 2017
  29. Well I am still smiling after reading this post. Love the place. Has me in mind of a sort of chateau boho 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    March 10, 2017
    • Thank you! It’s not an opportunity I thought I would ever have so I am making the most of living my version of upper crust chic which, you rightly understand is a little boho-centric!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 10, 2017
  30. This place is stunningly pretty!! I envy you my friend:)

    Liked by 1 person

    March 10, 2017
    • I am extremely fortunate and the fact that this is only for a relatively short time makes me appreciate every moment in a way that I might not if it was forever and that is a lovely way to be!

      Like

      March 10, 2017
      • That actually is the way things ought be!! Appreciate every moment and count each blessing… Life will always be beautiful

        Liked by 1 person

        March 10, 2017
      • You and I are in the same book, on the same page and to the word as one on that. I live my life by that mantra and I refuse to be knocked off it’s pedestal. I am very glad to find such a true kindred spirit. Namaste

        Liked by 1 person

        March 10, 2017
  31. Such a great read; an inner bohemian who quotes Winnie the Pooh – love it. Hope you are happily settled in what looks like a piece of heaven. I suspect you may well chain yourself to the radiators in six months time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    March 10, 2017
    • Just ignore the press for a few days around the beginning of July because I’m afraid my resistance to leaving is growing by the minute. I’m delighted that you enjoyed it … Tigger would love this place – plenty of space for bouncing! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 10, 2017
      • Can’t wait to read Winnie the Pooh to our little one. She’s not quite there yet but soon. She knows who he is from the picture above her crib.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 10, 2017
      • There is nothing greater than Milne’s creation. All of human nature is there in those creatures … each one a different aspect – a work of sheer genius and the greatest delight to read out loud. That will be such a joy when it comes … little pickle will adore hearing those tales!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 10, 2017
  32. There’s a lesson in there about not getting the place because of restrictions… those places always seem to say on the market longer… and usually make me think that we wouldn’t have been happy there! I hope they don’t rip your arm off when you have to go… the next tenants may find radiators with bones attached a little off-putting! But then… why should we worry about them… we should rather worry about your loss of blood! 😉

    Like

    March 12, 2017
    • Hey – I’m looking forward to chaining myself to those rads …. it’ll be another life-box ticked! In honesty though, the fact that this is for a short time, a brief moment in time as my husband is fond of saying, makes me appreciate it all the more. And that is the greatest lesson life can give you … the moment to appreciate things!

      Like

      March 12, 2017
  33. Beautiful for sure…..I am on the next plane to come visit…what a wonderful place……xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

    March 13, 2017
    • Life really is a box of chocolates …. I never expected to be gifted such a beautiful place for a little while and the fact that it is for a relatively short time (almost half gone already …. what??!!) means that I am in some way squeezed into really remembering to appreciate it double. I’m a lucky lady and if you find that flight I would LOVE to share it with you xx

      Like

      March 13, 2017
  34. Please don’t think less of me. Miss you…

    Liked by 1 person

    March 14, 2017
  35. Osyth, very cool, and interesting. Sometimes I love a longer read. And your photos are so wonderful…nice eye.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 14, 2017
    • I don’t generally stretch quite so far but sometimes the words are more of a torrent than a trickle. Thank you for your kind words – I call myself a myopic point and shoot camera-wielder which I think is fair and accurate 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      March 14, 2017
  36. A wonderful story and I’m glad it had a happy ending. At the risk of repeating myself, this could be the first chapter of your book ‘Six months in Grenoble’ 😊 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    March 17, 2017
    • I rather think it might ….. as for the ending – pinch me and then call the fire brigade because I’m chaining myself to those pillars!! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      March 18, 2017
  37. I am happy i finished reading your post..really happy because i am the type who is not fond of finishing a long piece unless otherwise its needed…by virtue of my profession…nevertheless i am saying i happy because you have me glued unto your post from the start that i don’t wanna stop reading…matter of fact i am reading it again..
    The way you brought me to the exact place from.start to finish is really amazing..its as if goin’ there myself too..keep it that way…take me to places i never knew…transport me to eras we may never go back to..and send me in into brighter perspective that only young ones may percieve.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 6, 2017
    • What an absolutely perfectly lovely comment. I am SO glad you enjoyed the piece but more than that, Mr Mich Teacher Poet, you encourage me not to give up (we all have blue days, don’t we … even when we aren’t suffering with summer rain) and that means the absolute world to me. Mille mercis mon ami 😊 😊 😊

      Like

      April 6, 2017
      • Paris is my ultimate destination..i wanna go there and sit and a cafeteria by the street and write poetries as i watch, hear, breath people from all walks of life from around the globe..

        Isn’t that lovely? An afternoon tea in Paris..could be a lovely poem

        Liked by 1 person

        April 6, 2017
      • Paris is the most exquisite of cities. You absolutely MUST work on getting there. Your soul requires it. I can tell.

        Liked by 1 person

        April 6, 2017
      • I know…i know…i will in due time..😇😇😇

        Liked by 1 person

        April 6, 2017
  38. Wow! I appreciate this fun and at the same time poignant journey in search for ‘the’ place to land. Moments of laughter at a ‘frenchness’ that I so recognize and can drive me nuts if I let them.
    And then, in your postscript, feeling myself getting grounded and coming home. A zen like quality to the perfection of it all. That this place with its ‘perfect bones’ and you, with your few possessions, are just meant to spend 6 months together.
    And of course the other places remain the same, as if caught in someone else’s time.
    I so enjoy how you write and the places I go to through your images, your descriptions.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 8, 2017
    • Thank you so much … I really value your remarks because you absolutely get what I am trying to convey 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      April 12, 2017
  39. Is that where you live now, Osyth? The apartment is gorgeous – upturned, fine Gaelic noses be darned (though they do look oh so very fine). Since I love your blog, I did put you in a tag (https://thetravellingdiaryofadippydottygirl.com/2017/04/10/friends-for-days/) but under no circumstances is it a hint that you should have to do it. Just saying 🙂

    Like

    April 10, 2017

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