At the end of September, I had my first doctor appointment within the public health system. The weekend of October 1, I took the train to Paris for a short weekend. I went to the library, walked around the city, and enjoyed a wonderful evening celebrating the birthday of a friend. Then last week, I had appointments with a kitchen planner and an electrician. Life has been busy!
French Public Healthcare
The doctor appointment was to meet a potential primary-care physician in my town, and to ask for a sport certificate. I need that to verify that I’m fit for joining the hiking club. It went fine and was quick and efficient. The incredible thing (to me as an American) was that the 30 minute appointment was only 25 euros (currently equivalent to $25). And that’s before I submit it to my private insurance for reimbursement! In Paris I was seeing doctors at the American Hospital, which is a private hospital and they can (and do) charge way above the public system’s rates. I am keeping my doctors there for my periodic appointments, because they are specialists I need for managing my underlying health conditions. Once I get on the public health care, I’ll downgrade my health insurance to just “top up” coverage. That will save me a lot of money.
Research at the BNF
Saturday, I spent most of the day at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF), at the Richelieu Manuscripts Reading Room. I had reserved the original hand-written journals of Comtesse Victorine de Chastenay between 1815 and 1854. She was living in my house during those years and they have not been published before. Apparently they were only recently donated to the library by the family of the publisher of her memoires (1771-1815) in 1896. That’s the one I have in a third-edition. I had a couple of goals: see if I could read her handwriting, see how much material there was, how complete the journals were for those years, and I’d hoped to glimpse into her life in Châtillon-sur-Seine.
The more time I spent leafing through her journals, the better I could read her writing. There was one section that reminded me that she had gone blind for a time, the writing was large and scrawling. She had cataract surgery in one eye and regained her vision well enough to continue writing for the rest of her life. The last entries I saw were in 1854, and she died in 1855 at 84 years old. It was a real thrill to see her writing for myself.
I’m excited to go back some time and look again at the last journal I reviewed. I was running out of time and only quickly flipped through it, but it looked like it was a more personal journal than the ones that reviewed the news of the day and historical events. I saw passages about her sister in law coming and going and more mundane entries. It’s in those pages that I hope to read about life in my house and the domestic culture of early nineteenth-century France. I got permission from a librarian to take a few pictures.
Reunited with Friends
The birthday party was at a long-standing restaurant in Paris, Le Select. Then we went across the street to La Coupole, another well-known restaurant, which has a jazz club in the basement. The heels of my vintage shoes had broken earlier in the evening, so I didn’t dance, but I smiled all evening watching my friends and drinking champagne. I met some wonderful new friends and it was great to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen since leaving Paris at the end of August.
I also realized that with guests coming from December to February, I need to get going on my costumes for Carnevale! I’m working on a costume for Puss in Boots, and since I’m trying to use my stash fabrics as much as possible, I dyed a peach metallic brocade in a bright pink. I think it looks fabulous! The fabric was in smaller pieces, so I had to piece it for my waistcoat, but I think it will be fine and not noticeable from a few feet away. I need to sew every day to get everything done!
And I just have to say that I’m super pleased that I’m already at over 500 subscribers to my new YouTube channel, Chateau Living! Thank you to everyone for the support. I’m working on a new video tour of the first upper level.
It felt good to be back in Paris, but I didn’t feel any regret about moving away. It’s not like I moved back to the US! It’s only a couple of hours away and I’m already planning another weekend with friends. Life is busy, and I’m happy with that!