|They Have Everything You Need!|
My advice is to travel while you are young. Too many wait until they retire and then are physically limited in the scope of travel available to them. I first went to Europe when I was 18 and travelled for three months on a bicycle, visiting 7 countries. It was the most important decision I have ever made, and I still reflect on the events of that summer, as if they were yesterday. Later, when I was in my early 40's I lived in Paris for a few years while I was a student at ecole Boulle, living most of that time in the 11th arrondissement. The city of Paris is divided into districts, called "arrondissement" which are numbered and start in the center, rotating like a spiral out to the limits of the city.
The 11th district is the historic furniture making district in Paris. It is a district which is not often visited by tourists, as it is mainly full of furniture stores, workshops and the different speciality supply shops which furnish the materials to the trade. It generally starts from the Bastille and goes to Nation, where ecole Boulle is located. I walked those streets literally thousands of times, and it became my "neighborhood."
Years ago there was a series on TV called "Barging Through France" with the host, Richard Goodwin. I just found a copy of an episode on YouTube where he explores the 11th. A highlight of this video is a visit with my dear friend, Patrick George, who supplies the most exotic materials in France for woodworkers. This is a special video, where George, in his distinctive beard, speaks English, although with a heavy accent. I think you will immediately appreciate his personality and passion for the trade which he pursues, and with the understanding that he is the 5th generation of his family to keep the business open.
Enjoy:Paris 11th Tour
Mr. Goodwin ends this segment with a prophetic wish, "Let's hope the developers don't move in too soon and rip out the heart of Paris." In fact, each time I return to this district, I find fewer and fewer actual ateliers and more and more condos and upscale gift shops. Paris is changing, and modern lifestyles have little interest in ancient trades.