Sunday, July 01, 2007

A little adventure

It was raining and we had just had a miserable dinner at one of the tourist traps in the left bank (it's a long story and it involves imminent starvation, so give me a break). Happy to go home soon, we go up the 5 flights of stairs only to discover we cannot open door because the other set of keys is stuck in the back of the door. It's after midnight. What do we do now? We're not going to wake the super. We're going to spend the night at a hotel. It occurs to us to ask for help to the owner of the restaurant downstairs, a surly man who owns one of those dogs that look like cats, who owns the place. I ask him if he speaks in English. Speak, he says, royally. I explain situation. I ask if he knows of a locksmith. He hears me conferring with roommate in Spanish. He switches to Spanish. In essence: there is no way in the capital of France, the city of light, that you can get a locksmith over a weekend. Not on Saturday, not on Sunday. Ces't impossible. There is, he explains, if you are willing to pay like 300 euros for somebody from SOS just to show up. He recommends we do that in the morning, when it will be like 250 euros. Or, that we find something with the texture of an X-ray and we try to force the door open with it. He's done it many times. Right. So we go in search of a hotel (not before trying his suggestion with my driver license and sundry cards in our wallets to no avail). The Hotel Colbert around the corner is four stars and costs 360 euros a night. But the guy at the reception desk looks at us and decides there are no chambres for us anyway. Which is good, because that's a lot of money. About a block away, on the Blvd. St. Michel, we find the Hotel Studia. There is a room. The clerk sees no baggage and very diplomatically asks in French, but you intend to stay the night, correct? You are not going out after? As in, this is not a one night stand kinda thing, okay? We explain the situation with the clef. This hotel is 89 euros with bath in the room. Excellent option for an affordable accommodation in the heart of Paris. Ugly but clean and the room not so small. I spend the entire night wide awake pondering the situation. Tomorrow we look for the super, who will save our lives, that is if he hasn't left for the campagne for le weekend. In the morning we ask the clerk if he knows of a cerrurier, a locksmith (very handy word to learn). They look in the yellow pages for one in the quartier. According to the yellow pages, there are many who claim to work 7 days 7 and who don't seem to be as finicky about their leisure time as the restaurant owner warned. But I wake the super instead, who at 8:30 am on a Saturday is deeply asleep, and this is what I say:
Je suis desole de vous deranger mais jai un probleme avec la clef. See? I already speak French.
But ever resourceful Bea finds a wire somewhere and just as the super is about to help, I hear music to my ears. Bea was able to drop the keys on the other side with the wire. No cerrurier. Happy ending.


  1. If you need a hotel near where you are for friends or "emergencies" I recommend The Parc St. Severin. Small, affordable and well located. I stayed there last year.

  2. in Paris less than a week and already getting yourself into trouble and making "friends" with your neighbors! Not an easy feat en France. good girl!! Can't wait to hear what happens next.

  3. Emergency locksmiths are playing very important role. You can call at just about any hour or any place to have a locksmith sent over that can replace, pick, repair, or remove, a lock or other safety device covered in an emergency locksmiths job description. It's fairly common for people to accidentally lock themselves out of their own house or car. Beyond that, emergency locksmith can also open things such as a safe. Given proof of ownership and other proper credentials that prove you are the owner of course.