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La Rue des Grands Augustins Part 1


 We had just finished a delicious brunch at Mariage Frères in la rue des Grands Augustins in Paris.* Despite the bone-chilling day, we decided to walk from this tranquil part of the sixth arrondissement to the Ile de la Cité and Notre Dame. Not a soul was stirring in the narrow street of 16th and 17th century townhouses. But as we passed a rusty downspout, a woman's voice rang out loud and clear:

"Jeune femme sérieuse cherche du travail: ménage, repassage vêtements, garde d'enfants ou personne âgée."

"Responsible young woman looking for work: housecleaning, ironing, babysitting or companion for the elderly."

Usually you find demandes d'emploi and offres d'emploi (job searches and job offers) posted in local boulangeries (bakeries) or écoles (schools). Sometimes you'll see them affichés (posted) on lamp posts on busy boulevards. And in these days of the internet and globalization, you can also check out les petites announces (classified ads) online at craigslist Paris either in English or in French.


But this enterprising-or perhaps somewhat idealistic-young woman decided to post her job search smack in the middle of a neighborhood street avec moins de monde (with less foot traffic). We wondered what her strategy was-did she live on this street? Did she think this was where potential clients were? It was a curious, if not beautiful, location. Just next to the humble 'bulletin board' was the entrance to a magnificent hôtel particulier (mansion) from the 17th century.

It turned out that Pablo Picasso had lived in this building from 1936 to 1955. He had even created his famous painting "Guernica" in 1937 in this very spot. And the 19th century, French author Honoré de Balzac situated his novella "Le Chef d'oeuvre inconnu" ("The Unknown Masterpiece") about three artists here. We thought the creativity of these artistic giants must have rubbed off on the jeune femme sérieuse for her to have chosen such an intriguing setting for her job hunt.

Though no one had yet taken one of the graph paper tabs with her cell phone number, I secretly wished her well.** Perhaps she is at this moment babysitting quelques gosses français (a few French kids) in an apartment nearby. And earning some nice argent de poche (pocket money).

* Mariage Frères Rive Gauche is located at 13, rue des Grands Augustins.

** All cell phone numbers in France begin with "06".


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