Saturday, December 13, 2008

Les Voisins

Last night we had drinks and dinner with our neighbors. They are a family of five (Anne and Theirry, Maïte (17), Elliot (14), and Harold (8)). It was probably the best time we’ve had since we’ve been here. They have a beautiful, chaotic, warm (in all ways) home and have welcomed us completely.

Drinks and dinner was a multi-course, many hour event beginning with champagne and smoked salmon (which Anne specifically made for Anna—they have a mutual love affair going on) in front of a wood-burning stove. After drinks we brought Anna back home and put her to bed. Then Maïte came over to babysit while David and I went back for dinner (which began after 8pm—pretty standard here). There were always several conversations in varying degrees of French and English going on, music playing (beginning with Ziggy Stardust and ending with Miles Davis), good food (fish curry with basmati rice followed by a selection of at least 6-7 cheeses, followed by a homemade apple tarte), good wine, and lots of laughter.

When we first got to Rouen, I assumed all the houses had that Old World feel that ours has. In fact, I assumed we were pretty spoiled, since ours is comprised of 3 units that have been combined into one larger one. After seeing Anne and Theirry’s place though, I know what’s possible! They also have combined units, but have a truly modern, gorgeous place straight out of Design within Reach (although they tell me it’s Ikea!). We joked with them that next time we’ll have to house swap with them, but the truth is as much as I love their place, I’d be sad to be in Rouen and not have them here.

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