Paris Guide

Paris short guide

Bathrooms

Paris apartments were mostly built at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century and therefore weren’t planned to have a bathroom, people would wash, not that often, in a basin brought up by a maid. You can find very nice antique washing tables, often in marble with a hole to fit a basin.

Hygiene has been a concern only very recently, when one looks back on human history, and corresponds to the discovery of the microscope and being able to look at the very small : what’s going beyond the eye. Professors and doctors noticed a relevant correlation between low hygiene and disease and therefore recommended washing.

We can date the hygiene campaign in France from after the second world war. And even though some apartments (not ours!) still do not have even a shower, most apartments have managed to fit in one somewhere which may be : small, unpratical and far away from the bedroom.

An introduction to a paris kitchen

You will undoubtedly be surprised by the size of many Parisian kitchens and would be even more suprised to see how some of them are equipped ! Most apartments must have surely been planned with a proper kitchen, but sometimes it is difficult to believe when you see some of them. (Rest assured that all our kitchens, while sometimes small, are all at least adequately, and some even royally, equipped !) For a country renowned for its gastronomy, it is curious that so little attention as been paid to this most important room.

Of course, there are several reasons for this aberration. In the old days, even a fairly modest household would have had a cook/maid lurking in the kitchen - so who cared what it looked like ? What is more, this pitiful creature was almost certainly lodged in an attic on the 6th floor up the service staircase - the lift was for the front stairs only, naturally. However, if her husband was also employed as a domestic servant his employment contract would have included a standard daily supply of 2 liters of wine !

Don’t imagine that "take-away" is a new invention either ! Very poor families in the 19thC, with little or no cooking facilities, would buy a homely ready made dish from the local baker or butcher. Parisians are still positive magicians when you see the culinary miracles produced in the most unpropitious surroundings. However, many people often chose to entertain out rather than at home - which naturally also accounts for the plethora of restaurants, from the simple to the *** Michelin, with which Paris abounds.