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My Stories (Fr)

Draveil, the beginning of my French period.

  • My arrival at Paris.

  • The Hostellerie de la Forêt.

  • Training.

  • Impressions of Draveil.

  • A house in Normandy.

My arrival at Paris.

It was, after having recovering more or less from a nervous breakdown, that I had decided to go to take a training course in Paris, in a place located in Vallois-Perret.     I, after the American firm "Control Dated" had been constrained to close its Swiss-French offices, had just started to work on my own account as independent computer engeneer.

It was thus after having finished my training course of project management, in Lausanne, that my attention had been drawn by an article in a weekly magazine of data processing, "Le 01", treating the training which took place in Paris, or rather in Valois-Perret.

So said, so done, that I went in the month of June of the year 1993 to Paris for an abstract appointment with the company Hommes And Communication, which ensured this training course.    I concluded that this training, which was directed towards the type of "Systems engineer", would be, in spite of a rather high cost, beneficial to continue my profession.

The only problem which remained to be solved; was the problem of housing.    The people, who lodged me during the days that I went to Paris this June of 1993, were very nice, and had proposed to me to remain these three months that these training courses lasted in their hotel.    Me, however rather badly saw myself to remain in a hotel room during these three months, and I to look for a furnished room or studio.    This was, however, easier said as done.    Then there was in fact a choice between unavailable and expensive.    To finish, the cost of housing proved to be as high as that of the training course it self.    I went therefore to look for a studio outside the town of Paris.    I came, having a little chance, across a small advertisement proposing a studio, payable by the month, in the town of Draveil, visible on the photograph, at the edges of the Seine river, in a fashionable country inn.

I went, after having taken a telephone contact, by RER (regional express train) to the station of Juvisy, and there I tried to find in vain this country inn, at other side of the Seine river.    It was from a small café, located just at the other side of the Seine river, that I telephoned again with Mr Granger, the manager of the country inn, to require the exact place.    He said to me that it was rather far and not easy to find, and that it was better that he would come to pick me up.    I was charmed to see the place, and I reserved myself right away a studio for the three months of training which I was going to follow.

L'Hostellerie de la Forêt.

L'Hostellerie was located a little apart from Draveil, at the edges of the forest Sénart.    There was a principal building, there where you could find the offices, the restaurant, and the apartment of the manager.    At the backside of the place, which had the aspect of a small park, was a two story building, having on each level ten independent studios.    These studios were available as as hotel room, or as furnished studio payed monthly.    They where charming studios, with a small kitchen, television, as well as a telephone.

The place had a parking bay for the cars of the customers, which was closed during the night.    Which was a small disadvantage for the manager, because it was necessary to open the gate for certain customers, who tended to return late.

Beside this parking bay, there was an old barn, which had besides having kept this name, being used as room for banquets and meetings.    There were regularly company meetings during the week, as well as marriages Saturdays.

The photograph on the right shows me, one of the rare photographs which I even have of me, with "Poussy", the cat of the manager, who regularly came to me for a visit, and to claim some caresses.


The training itself, which was called "General-purpose Expert Unix", consisted in learning, and to get further knowledge of the management of the systems Unix and Novel, and their integration in the world of Mr Gates.    Our training group received the French denomination of "EUP5",    It was a company in Vallois-Perret, which was called "Hommes and Communication", which ensured these training.    Each training group had one or a person in charge, and our person in charge was a girl named Armelle.    I have never seen any of the other people of this training back, Mrs. Armelle and her team, on the other hand yes.    I returned once them to say hello, and Armelle, I crossed her once by chance at the CNIT, where we where both for a seminar, but not at the same manufacturer.

Impressions of Draveil.

The town of Draveil was, and is always is, a rather middle-class city.    It was composed in majority of the small and average houses, and buildings of small and average size, without having created the ghetto aspect, so typical of other dormitory cities.

The town of Draveil was located at the edge of the Seine river and had, contrary to the other cities located at the edges of the Seine river, a marina with an adjacent park.    This park made party of a field of a castle which was there, but part of the field of the castle was built, and the remainder was transformed into base of regional leisure.

Put aside the marina and the base of leisure, the town of Draveil also looked after the aspect of the city.    There was a market hall, which took, and still takes, place on Sunday, allowing the citizens to make their weekly purchases.    During these Sunday mornings, one should better not seek to enter, nor station its car downtown, because the parking bays were either unavailable, or prohibited.

Another asset of Draveil was the proximity of the forest Sénart, which was mainly closed for cars, and was appropriate perfectly for walks, or even for jogging.

A house in Normandy.

As ravishing the studio was, it became clear that I could not, for financial reasons, remain in this studio.    Because I had, after having finished the training courses at Hommes and Communication in the beginning of 1994, registered my self as self-employed worker in France.    Even as I did not plan yet to remain there definitively, I nevertheless searched for another solution.    Because, to make a comparison, the hiring rate of the studio on its own corresponded to that what I needed to live.    I went to visit various areas, cities and villages, places where certain promoters proposed houses, even grounds to be built.

It was by chance, that I ended out in the area of Gaillon, in Normandy.    Moreover, while going there, I had passed in one ravishing village at the edge of the Seine river, just at the other side of the Seine.    I said myself; hey, this people are well there, not too far from a city, with its conveniences, and shops, very close to a SNCF railway station, then the motorway is not far either!    Later, when we where already in 1995, when I had begun the prospection, and started to do computer breakdown services, that I had contacted an estate agency in the city of Andelys.    It is this agency which proposed to me to come to see certain houses.    It is then that I had retained, among the selection that we had visited, the house which appears in the foreground on the photograph.    I could therefore invest the money of my Swiss pension fund, which I had recovered by leaving Switzerland, in this house.

  Some important events of the time (of 1993 to 1995).

  • The emergence of the mobile telephone.

  • The Internet becoming available to the large public.

Wolter Smit, Freelance Computer Engeneer
15 Rue du 13 Août 1944
27940 Courcelles Sur Seine - FRANCE