The light is green, you may step into Montparnasse.
This happens to be my favourite part of the city, not because of the rooftops, over which the icon of icons can be glimpsed (I'm not referring to the McDonald's arches),
Not because of the oysters at Le Dome or the design of La Coupole,
not even due to the ghosts of Picasso, Soutine, Modigliani, Sartre, De Beauvoir, etc., that walk the boulevards. Not because of Rodin's depiction of Balzac which overlooks one street corner, nor the nighttime neon wonderland, nor the cheerful cinema crowds, nor how pretty everything looks after the rain.
It's thanks to Anouk
and the rest of them. I have a Parisian family, the best of all Parisian families imaginable. An Antwerp-born, distant cousin of my father ended up here, marrying a Marrakesh-bred professor of computer science. Their apartment on the boulevard, four floors beneath where Eugene Eunesco used to live, is where I learned major lessons in how to love Paris, people and life. A warm double kiss at the door, a room full of white books, a sunday lunch that lasts until dinner...
The above photo is obviously completely burned, yet nothing could give a better clue of what this place feels like, full of light,
Full of cheese.
It's almost a sin to leave it. If only Paris hadn't been directly outside the door...