In praise of courtyard apartments
A nice lifestyle facilitated by European building codes
Kate and I went to Paris in July with our son and another family and their three kids. We all stayed in an apartment near the Ménilmontant Metro station that turned out to be built around a really adorable courtyard.
Because the courtyard is an enclosed space, people feel comfortable letting their kids roam and play more or less unsupervised. And because it’s right outside your doorstep, the kids can play there while the adults are inside cooking or cleaning or working or whatever it is we adults do — just like a backyard in the suburbs.
But because it’s not a backyard in the suburbs, other people are there, too. Our son doesn’t speak any French, but thanks to the global language of soccer, he got into a pickup game with some random French boys who lived in the building.