You can take a girl out of the suburb, but you can’t take the suburb out of a girl. Let’s face it, I have never been a city girl or a country girl, after all I do come from Espoo. It’s just very convenient to live a short commuting distance from a city, but in a greener neighborhood where life is calmer and you have more space. Once you get bored with the suburban life, the city is waiting for you just a short bus or train ride away. We have recently moved from Paris to Nogent-sur-Marne and it feels like home already, in a different way than Paris was. We ended up in Nogent by a chance, or actually due to a clever algorithm in rentals website that suggested me our current apartment even if Nogent was not in our original search scope.
In Paris we lived in the South side of the city in a calm neighborhood, but still it’s Paris. More noisy and hectic, I won’t miss the corner pizza delivery place’ scooters driving back and forth in the night. Who orders pizza in a week night anyway?? We had a park close to our place as well as part of the Petite Ceinture, which is great by Paris standards, but not enough greenness for me. Even when you sit by the Seine in the center of Paris, it feels like you are in an outdoor museum. It is ridiculously pretty and impressive, but it’s hard to feel like home.
I’m pretty excited about our new home town, it is only 4 RER train stops from Paris center and we have the Marne river and Vincennes forest (which is more like a big central park) close by. There is a cute shopping street with palm trees and Christmas lights where most of the stores close at lunch time and on Mondays. And a port de plaisance with cute river boats! We have sushi restaurants but they don’t give you chop sticks unless you ask, you see, we are not in the city. There is also quite an ugly concrete sports complex by the river, where they have a 50 meter outdoor swimming pool that is open all year round, yay! Nothing better than to swim outside in slight November rain (yes, we Finnish people are a bit crazy. Pool is heated though, I’m not that crazy). The complex also has bowling and snooker, somehow fits to the picture… In the town there is an old movie theater and one restaurant and bar frequented by young people (in France the lycéens, high school kids, apparently still smoke, how old school. In Nordics they seem to be only eating healthy and training).
Actually Nogent has gotten as the only town in Val-de-Marne department a status of a ville touristique. I wouldn’t go as far as recommending this place for tourism, as there as are a few other spots in France that might be slightly more interesting, but this is certainly a cute place to live. Let’s see how the city will treat us, it’s only the beginning here.