How to get to know your neighbors

If you were spending your birthday in Paris, what would you do? Go to a romantic restaurant? Treat yourself to a spa? Have a picnic by the Seine?
How about going to your apartment manager’s office to request a plumber for your kitchen ceiling that looks like it will fall down at any minute?
Yes. This is the reality of living in Paris. Strike up a conversation with Parisians about leaks and they will definitely have a story to share – because we ALL have leaks. Thanks to a leak, I’ve made the acquaintance with the owner of the apartment above ours. He is a real Parisian. With ancestors that probably go back to one of the Louis’ – we’ve met his dog, a tiny terrier that protects his master ferociously. “You’re American? I’m surprised. Thought you Americans didn’t like France anymore.”
Beneath all the stately facade of Paris buildings lies a labyrinth of rusty pipes. Tonight I will light just one candle – the rust and the stained ceiling won’t show up in candlelight.