Antoinette. Or, Love at the Sorbonne
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by Cybele Chassaing, Eleanor Tremaine
Category: Erotica/Classic Erotica
Description: A Young Woman's Parisian Confessions! When Antoinette, a thoroughly American young woman from California, decides to visit the land of her parents, her summer stay turns into a sexual idyll. On the left bank, Antoinette meets a Sorbonne student and discovers there is far more Parisian in her than she dreamed. Soon the two are obsessed with each other, making love all over the City of Lights any place they can. Antoinette has never dreamed of such happiness. But, of course, all idylls must come to an end. Summer is over, Antoinette must returns home, while her lover remains behind to continue his studies. Is it the end? Or only a new beginning. Here, in the classic mold, are a French girl's unabashed carnal exploits told with exceptional élan and candor.
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/Sizzler, 2005
eBookwise Release Date: June 2005
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [133 KB]
Reading time: 86-121 min.
My name is Antoinette. But everyone calls me Nini.
My parents immigrated to San Diego, California, from Quebec before I was born. They opened a French pastry shop, the Patisserie Odeon, in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. If you're ever in Southern California, check it out. The best pastries and the richest coffee anywhere. Including Paris. But then, I've got to admit, I'm prejudiced.
I grew up speaking French (Canadian French, of course) at home and English out in the neighborhood. Living close to the Mexican border, I picked up enough street Spanish to get along pretty well in a third language as well.
When I graduated from high school, my parents gave me the best graduation present I could imagine. A trip to Paris. Paris! The very word spelled romance! I had imagined the city of love again and again. And every time I envisioned it, there was a lover in the picture. Oh, not that I ever saw an actual face for that lover in the vision. He might be blondish or dark, tall or medium height, serious or carefree. But he was always in my dream of Paris. Paris without romance? Unthinkable.
My folks bought me a round trip ticket on Air Outre-Mer, from Los Angeles to Paris. They gave me two credit cards that gave me access to Euros when in Europe, with serious admonitions from Papa to be as frugal as the French in using them. And they arranged with a distant cousin who lived in Paris to put me up for a week or so at her apartment
I found out that my cousin, Nicole, was several years older than me and lived in the Montparnasse Quarter. I could hardly wait to get to Paris, meet my cousin, and take in Paris. They warned me that I should not overstay my welcome at Nicole's. They wanted me to stay not more than two weeks. It was a most generous present from the most wonderful parents any girl could possibly have.
Saying goodbye to my boyfriend Skip was harder for him than for me. We weren't going steady, exclusively. He knew I dated other dudes, and he was not a one-girl guy. But he clearly hated that fact that I would be away in France, and meeting other kinds of guys. But, he dealt with it. We made love in the back of his car the night before I was leaving. And he told me he'd be waiting for me when I got back. Whatever that meant.
My folks drove me up to Los Angeles the day before my flight was to take off. We stayed at a hotel near the International Airport. The next morning, they drove me to the airport and saw me off. It was one of the most exciting moments in my life.
The flight was delightful. The food and wine they served on the plane was French. Most of the passengers were French, returning home from vacation in Tahiti or California. I was high in the sky. I was in Heaven. * * * *
When we landed at Orly Airport in Paris, the customs procedures were simple and courteous. I got on the subway, it's called the Metro, at the airport on route to the Montparnasse-Bienvenue Metro station.
And when I exited from the Metro terminal, a suitcase in each hand, I stepped right into Paris. And, you know what it looked like? Paris! My heart fairly leaped.
I had studied the Paris map careful enough to figure out how to get to Nicole's at 15 rue Littré, only a few blocks away. Every step of the way to Cousin Nicole's was enchanting to me. The crowds on the sidewalk were filled with people speaking French, most of them with a Parisian accent (unlike my own Français Canadien). The sidewalk cafés were filled with people engaged in animated conversation. The boulevards, packed with cars, were hustling along as well as they could through the congested intersections. I knew I was going to love this place.
When I found Number 15 on rue Littré, I set down my bags and rang the bell.
It did not take too long for the concièrge to come to the door and let me into the inner court. She took one look at me and squealed in delight.
"Come in. Come in. You must be the American visitor. The cousin of Mademoiselle Nicole. She is in the on the third floor. She is so anxious to meet you. I am Madame Blanche. If you need anything, let me know. But, for now, go! Go up to the apartment. You mustn't keep your cousin waiting another second."
And so, lugging my two bags up the stairs, I went to encounter my French relative.
I knocked on the door, and practically immediately it opened. And there was Nicole. Very attractive, very chic, and bursting with smiles. She kissed me on both cheeks.
"Ah, Nini, Nini. Come in. Welcome. Here, let me help you with your bags. Come along. I'll show you your room. I'm afraid it's rather tiny. You see? Room for a bed and an armoire and a little side table. I hope you're not disappointed.
"You saw the door to the bathroom as we passed by. Pretty basic compared to what you Americans are used to..."
She rattled on with great animation as I took in her apartment. There were pictures on every wall, bric-a-brac on shelves, and the general look of a person who loves art and life.
The apartment overlooked the central courtyard, but had enough windows to let in plenty of light.
Nicole led me into the kitchen, chattering all the time. She prepared coffee, still talking, and sat me down to coffee, bread, and jam.
I immediately loved this cousin of mine. And I loved her apartment. I loved Paris. And I loved France. And I had only just arrived. My heart was bursting with joy.
"I'm completely free today," Nicole said. "I took the day off to be with you. So it's your call."
"You are such a sweetie," I told her. "As I walked here from the Montparnasse Station, I was all agog. But, honestly, it was overwhelming to me. How about you showing me the neighborhood?"
"Good idea," Nicole said. "Come on, Girl. I'll give you the Cook's Tour of the Quartier Montparnasse."
When she said "Girl," she said it in English. It was like a nickname, that stuck with me. I liked it. It made me an exotic in Paris.
Out on the street, walking with my cousin, I realized, for the first time that the Metro station I had come out of was underneath a skyscraper. Skyscrapers in Paris? I asked Nicole as soon as I noticed it.
"Parisians hate it. But there it is," she told me. "After it was built, they passed a law to forbid any more tall buildings being built in the heart of the city again. They say it's too American. I hope you're not offended."
I told her I understood why Parisians didn't want their city to look like New York. "After all," I said. "Paris has its own personality. New York has its. And, I agree that building doesn't look like it belongs here."
"But we're going to go into it anyway, Girl. As a newcomer to our city, I want you to get a bird's-eye-view. Come on."
We entered the Tour Montparnasse and rode the elevator up to the fifty-sixth floor. There was a bar and restaurant there.
"After you've seen the view upstairs, we'll come back here and have a glass of wine to recuperate," Nicole laughed.
Sure enough, we had to climb three flights of stairs, and we were on the roof. From there Nicole pointed out Notre-Dame, Sacré Coeur, La Defense, and the other great monuments of the city.
"There it is," she said. "That's Paris. And it's all yours to keep in your heart."
She was right. It resides in my heart to this day.
We came back down the three flights of stairs, and we each had a glass of cool white wine at the bar. Then, down the elevator to street level.
Back on the street, she pointed out the three restaurant-café-bars that every American has to go to: the Dôme, the Rotonde, and the Coupole.. They are reminders to us of the "lost generation" who hung out there. Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald and their friends frequented Montparnasse, and these very establishments. Not to mention such non-Americans as James Joyce and Leon Trotsky.
"There's a great cemetery here in Montparnasse, too," she told me. "Lots of important corpses there, like Dumas, Nijinsky, Degas, Zola, Truffaut..."
"Stop," I laughed. "My first day here in Paris there are enough live people to focus on. I can do without any tombstones."
"I'll drink to that," she agreed. "Come on. Let's do something very American. We'll stop here at La Coupole, get a bottle of wine, and drink to all your expatriates whose ghosts still haunt the place. Corpses are out. But are you up to ghosts?"
"Ghosts work for me. If there's wine to toast them with," I said.
By the time we left La Coupole to make our way back to rue Littré I was feeling no pain at all. I was intoxicated. But more by the Montparnasse Quarter than by the wine.
When we got back to the apartment, Nicole asked me what I would like to do next.
"Just two things," I said. "Unpack. Then take a nap. I'm bushed."
Nicole said what I believe were the only three words of English she knew. And I never asked where she learned them.
"You go, Girl."
In twenty minutes my two bags were unpacked, the armoire was filled with my things, and I was dead to the world. With visions of Paris whirling through my dreams.
When I got up, Nicole was in the livingroom reading a magazine. I sat down opposite her.
"Listen, Nini. I'm throwing a little party this evening. It will be your first Paris soirée. I hope you're up to a little partying."
I was rested, and game for meeting people. But my wardrobe consisted of jeans and t-shirts. My parents had given me a separate allowance to buy clothes in Paris. But there wouldn't be time to shop by evening.
"Don't worry about that," Nicole said. "You know I work at a discount fashion house. We'll go shopping tomorrow and get you clothed with a few rags for your stay. And since I work there, everything will be on discount from the discounts."
I already knew she worked at a discount clothing store. She would be able to help me buy clothes I would need for my Paris stay. And within the budget my parents had given me. My parents had told me that. And they knew that's where I would get my Paris duds. Cool!
"Yeah," I said. "That's fine for tomorrow. But for the party tonight ... ?
"My friends know all about you. They expect you to be in jeans and a t-shirt. Very American."
I was reassured. I would come in the only party clothes I had.
"Tell me who's going to be here," I asked.
"It will be a rather intimate party," she explained. "Only ten of us."
"Ten," I said, thinking that ten people would fit comfortably enough in that livingroom.
"You and me, of course," she continued. "And then Thierry and Guy. Thierry is my Paris regular boyfriend. And Guy is my out-of-town swain. He's arriving in Paris later this afternoon from his home in Arles."
I was toting them up. Four so far. I was anxious to hear about two of them.
"Then, there are two girls from the shop with their beaux."
I chalked up four more on my imaginary board. Eight altogether.
"And then our neighbor Marie-France and her live-in."
"Ten!" I counted.
"Five women and five men," I said.
"Oh, no, Girl. Six women and four men."
It didn't take me long to figure that out.
"So Marie-France's live-in..."
Not too unusual back in San Diego for a gay or lesbian couple to be at a mainly hetero party. I could tell that Nicole was scrutinizing me to see if I was shocked. I wasn't. And that was that.
"Now, Nicole," I said. "About these two boyfriends of yours. What gives?"
"Thierry, he's the Parisian one. He's twenty years old, and a doll. A student at the Sorbonne. Majoring in philosophy. God knows why. I don't ask. I don't want to know. Dreary stuff. But we never get into that, and he can be lots of fun."
"And the other?"
"Guy. Thirtyish. Lives in Provence. Loaded. He's a very successful wine merchant. And he knows how to show a girl a really good time."
"Do they know about each other?"
"Of course they do. Neither one is stupid. But they pretend not to know. Very urbane."
"How do you keep them in balance?"
"That usually isn't a problem. Guy is only here in Paris a few days at a time. When he's here, I have to be a little creative with Thierry. But he has other girlfriends than me in town. He never needs to lack for female companionship. And I haven't had a problem yet."
"And how do you plan to be 'creative' with this Thierry character, the philosophy nerd, tonight?"
"You can count," she answered archly.
I didn't have to reply. It was clear that I would be the creative device for getting Thierry out of the way. Interesting. My cousin was something of a schemer. I actually loved it.
"You said this Thierry is a doll. You mean he's cute?"
"You'll have to judge for yourself. If he's not your type, let me know right away and I'll come up with something. I think you'll like him. But don't worry. I can handle the boy very well. He knows which way the wind blows. And that once Guy leaves, he'll be back enjoying my bed. So just relax. Enjoy the party. And if you and Thierry don't hit it off, he won't give either of us any trouble."
And relax I did. I was intrigued and looking forward to partying. And, perhaps meeting a cute Sorbonne brainiac who might turn out to be a fun guy. After all, Nicole was no slouch. And if she kept him on as a regular lover, he must have something on the ball.