I’ve rented a little studio in France’s Chamonix Valley in an area called Les Tines. It’s a fifteen-minute bike ride into Chamonix proper, but I’m quite happy to be on the outskirts of town. I didn’t quite know what I was getting into when I arranged to stay in this place, as all of the communication went down over email, and I’d wired money into someone’s bank account before I even showed up.
But I’m super-happy with the apartment’s funky feel. Random art is splattered all over the place, such as this “Fric-Frac” French film poster that hangs on one wall. And even though I thought that my apartment in Vail was tiny, this one is even smaller, with the bed in a loft above the desk/office space:
I showed up with only two bags, so I guess I don’t need much closet space (good thing, as there isn’t a closet anyway). The apartment is furnished with a futon for guests (any takers??), and a well-equipped kitchen that has a modern appeal:
Honestly, though. I’m not here to stay indoors, and my first week here was like an outdoor orgy. I went climbing five days, and I ran twice from my doorstep up to the Montenvers Hotel, which is a 2,400-foot elevation gain over steep rocks, roots, and the like. The sight of Les Drus dominates this part of the valley:
Next week, I’m off to England’s Lake District to do some research for an upcoming literary trek in the Alps. Even though I’m very happy with my summer living quarters, it seems like this place will be more like a base camp this summer than a real home. I find it a bit ironic—or weirdly appropriate for someone like me—that the French don’t have a word in their language to capture the essence of the English word “home.”