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An Apartment in Paris

Your standard kitchen shelf space.
Your standard kitchen shelf space.

It's funny how traveling somewhere foreign changes our tolerance for things.

For a month-long sojourn to Paris, my family of three rented a cramped one-bedroom apartment in Montmartre. We – who are oozing at the seams of our 1,800-square-foot home – got along well in the tiny French apartment.

Rather than use the living room, which doubled as my son's room, we preferred to pile onto the bed in the bedroom, each person amusing him- or herself with a book, toy or computer. We relished such close quarters, and once we returned home to our “giant” house, still preferred to stay within arm’s reach of one another for days after our trip.

Of course, there were practical reasons for our proximity. With Europe's worst winter in years howling outside (and sometimes through) the ancient windows, there was warmth in acting as a pack, as any wolf would tell you.

When I wanted to stretch my legs, I'd amble down the kitchen hallway, my thick socks slipping silently on the hardwood floors, down to the unused living room. I loved peering out the icy windows at night. Our apartment sat upstairs, across from a fondue restaurant that served alcohol in baby bottles. Twentysomethings huddled outside, committed to smoke despite freezing temperatures. This never ceased to amaze me.

I'd watch immigrants carrying their plastic bags of groceries home, young couples, their hands affectionately thrown in one another's back jeans pockets, and old men being walked by equally old dogs.

When we did brave the chill to head outside, it usually involved a trip to the grocery store. A tiny kitchen necessitates daily grocery trips, as does the hankering for fresh baguettes.

Returning with food treasures, we'd squeeze past one another in the hallway kitchen, which seemed to have been built as an afterthought. French cereal, brown sugar cubes and packaged sweet waffles teetered precariously on the shelf above the sink. Cheese, whole milk (so much better than our cream) and smoked salmon threatened to pop open the knee-high refrigerator.

Simply to keep from drowning in food, we cooked. Fingerling potatoes crisped in butter and shallots, then finished with a sublimely simple cream sauce. Baguette slices with fresh French cheese. Even the kebab sandwich from the shop on the corner seems magical in my memory. Funny how the simplest of meals becomes grandiose when you eat it in an apartment in Paris.

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International Smoke and a $29 lunch

Giving in to celebrity chef culture and hoping the bang’s worth the buck
Your standard kitchen shelf space.
Your standard kitchen shelf space.

It's funny how traveling somewhere foreign changes our tolerance for things.

For a month-long sojourn to Paris, my family of three rented a cramped one-bedroom apartment in Montmartre. We – who are oozing at the seams of our 1,800-square-foot home – got along well in the tiny French apartment.

Rather than use the living room, which doubled as my son's room, we preferred to pile onto the bed in the bedroom, each person amusing him- or herself with a book, toy or computer. We relished such close quarters, and once we returned home to our “giant” house, still preferred to stay within arm’s reach of one another for days after our trip.

Of course, there were practical reasons for our proximity. With Europe's worst winter in years howling outside (and sometimes through) the ancient windows, there was warmth in acting as a pack, as any wolf would tell you.

When I wanted to stretch my legs, I'd amble down the kitchen hallway, my thick socks slipping silently on the hardwood floors, down to the unused living room. I loved peering out the icy windows at night. Our apartment sat upstairs, across from a fondue restaurant that served alcohol in baby bottles. Twentysomethings huddled outside, committed to smoke despite freezing temperatures. This never ceased to amaze me.

I'd watch immigrants carrying their plastic bags of groceries home, young couples, their hands affectionately thrown in one another's back jeans pockets, and old men being walked by equally old dogs.

When we did brave the chill to head outside, it usually involved a trip to the grocery store. A tiny kitchen necessitates daily grocery trips, as does the hankering for fresh baguettes.

Returning with food treasures, we'd squeeze past one another in the hallway kitchen, which seemed to have been built as an afterthought. French cereal, brown sugar cubes and packaged sweet waffles teetered precariously on the shelf above the sink. Cheese, whole milk (so much better than our cream) and smoked salmon threatened to pop open the knee-high refrigerator.

Simply to keep from drowning in food, we cooked. Fingerling potatoes crisped in butter and shallots, then finished with a sublimely simple cream sauce. Baguette slices with fresh French cheese. Even the kebab sandwich from the shop on the corner seems magical in my memory. Funny how the simplest of meals becomes grandiose when you eat it in an apartment in Paris.

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International Smoke and a $29 lunch

Giving in to celebrity chef culture and hoping the bang’s worth the buck
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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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