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ARMCHAIR PARIS


 

Apartments
Spring 2007

My parents lived in Paris for four years in the early 1950s, in a series of apartments and homes just on the western outskirts of the city. My sister and I were born there, at the American Hospital in Neuilly. I asked my mother if she would provide a bit of background for us. Et voilá below!
[Click on the pictures to make them larger]

1 Boulevard Carnot, Le Vézinet
115 rue du Chateau, Boulogne-Billancourt
3 Avenue Mary, Rueuil-Malmaison
5 rue du 6 Juin 1944, Boulogne-Billancourt
 

 

1 Boulevard Carnot, Le Vézinet

Apr 1951-Jun 1951
"Bob went to Paris before I did. He went in January 1950 and I came around April 1. He and a major he knew (Bucky Harris) decided that we all would live in this villa and share the rent. Bucky and his wife had two children, a three-year old boy and a baby girl. We each had our bedroom spaces and shared the rest of the house -- had a cook, a housekeeper and a gardener.  How nice it was to not to cook and have all of these nice French meals. It had a beautiful garden and was fenced in -- lots of privacy. But, inside the house there was not much privacy with two families. We decided to get a place of our own."
 

 

 

 

 

115 Rue du Chateau, Boulogne-Billancourt
Jun 1951 - Oct 1952
"This was the cutest apartment above a bistro. I wonder if a bistro is still there [It's not, unfortunately]. The apartment was small but very adequate, a little typical French kitchen, dining room, living room and small bathroom with shower and separate WC with a toilet that had a chain to pull from ceiling. There was a bakery right across the street and an apartment building. One day Bob saw the old woman who supervised the building shoveling a pile of coal into a chute in the basement. He went over and shoveled it for her. She thought he was the greatest, and we never had garbage thrown on our car again. (The French, at that time, did not think much of Americans!!) The owners of the building that we lived in lived on the whole top floor (the Ragouts, who visited us in Washington, D. C.). They used to invite us up for most delicious French meals sometimes. I became pregnant with Teresa here."

 




 


 


 


 


 

3 Ave Mary, Rueuil-Malmaison
Oct 1952 - Oct 1953
"I was just about to have Teresa and there was no place to put her. Another Captain and his wife were going back to the states, so we were able to move into their house at 3 Avenue Mary after they left. (The French made money renting their houses to the rich Americans!) This was a nice little house on a quiet little street. Along with the house came the maid, Huguette, who had been the maid for the captain and his wife who left. One night we took Teresa with us and visited some friends (Paul and Deon Harris, civilians from St. Louis). When we came back we discovered that our house had been broken into and a few things taken -- called the police, heard little bells ringing, then they came riding up the street on their bicycles!!!  They did not do much -- never recovered anything!  Here is where I became pregnant with you, Karen. We were there about a year -- can't remember why we moved, but there must have been a good reason."

 

 

 

 

 

5 rue du 6 Juin 1944, Boulogne-Billancourt
Oct 1953 - Jun 1954
"This was a very nice little apartment, much larger than 115 Rue du Chateau. Huguette came to work for us there, too, but did not live in. This is your first living space, Karen, and you fitted right in and have loved FRANCE ever since. Your little soul remembers everything!!!  Behind the building was a nice little park area where you could walk and take children to play, etc. From here Bob got orders to go to Lawton, OK --such a change!"

 

 



 


 

 

 

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