La Rue des Grands Augustins Part 1
February 4, 2009
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
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
Frères Rive Gauche is located at 13, rue des Grands
** All cell phone numbers in France begin with "06".
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