Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sur les Toîts

One thing I find kind of interesting about living in Paris is that it seems that people get younger the higher up they live in their building. I think this is largely because so many buildings (including mine) don't have elevators; people don't want to walk up stairs, but are more willing to when they're young.

As my street is very narrow and the building opposite has very large windows with balconies, I see my neighbours (across the road) almost every time I glance out the window. I'm sometimes reluctant to look out the window lest they think I'm creepily watching them. The girl living on the top floor (who has good taste in music -sounds carry) looks younger than me, the two inhabitants just across from me look about my age, the couple on the floor below seem to be in their thirties and live beside a couple in their forties. 

There's currently a lot of noise coming from that apartment, and every time I look out the window I see their rooms crowded with others; I think they must be having some sort of dinner party. It's interesting, though, that on the other side of the wall the couple in their thirties are sitting on the couch watching television... it's so strange to see different people in different rooms who are so close and yet so clearly separate. They're doing different things, aren't paying any attention to one another and can't see one another. 

Below them are a family, who are the most sociable of those I've noticed living on this street. The parents yelled a greeting to me once when they were standing on their balcony (after one whispered to the other "I've never seen that girl before" -again, sounds carry) and I've seen the teenage sons throwing nuts at the heads of passers-by below.

I'm not as sure about those in my own building, though my landlord told me there's a medical student living below. I've met some people in the stairwell who seem about my age and some very elderly who I can't imagine could make it up all the stairs. I like living on the top floor because walking up a hundred steps (well, ninety-nine when I counted) at least once a day is a good way to justify eating pastries, and also because I can sort of see the tip of the Eiffel Tower from my window.

I don't really know what's going on at street level, though it's often pretty noisy there. I live opposite the loading dock for the neighbourhood's biggest supermarket, so that's where the noise comes from on weekdays, but I still haven't figured it out for weekends... does the monoprix become a boîte du nuit? Or is it just sounds carrying from clubs down the street? There are normally people sitting on the pavement opposite (nowhere near anywhere interesting, so it's a bit perplexing) and there's a lot of yelling. This is a bit disconcerting, but I find the way in which I can see and hear the neighbours makes me feel a little less vulnerable, and the fact that I live on the top floor is, again, sort of comforting.

I'm currently sitting by the window and it's nice to have all the noise floating in from everywhere. There's enthusiastic yelling from down the street with softer words in English floating up occasionally from the dinner party of the building opposite, occasional sirens from police cars whipping along bigger streets nearby. I like living in Paris, and I like living near the sky. 

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