This one is a special one. Oh the magic of social media! I have a confession to make: I love Instagram! I only see the good sides of it: beautiful images that inspires, good restaurants’ adresses, recipes, funny memes and spirituals quotes, oh and all these astro memes. You see the picture. For me, this is pure entertainment.
It’s also a good way to connect to people. And I never fear to poke to someone that i feel that is interesting.
All this introduction to say that this new addition to “Everyday People House Tour” is a pure product of this sort of situation. I was scrolling my insta feed, clicking, liking, watching story and then I landed to Ramata’s account. Everything that I love : book, lights, woods, colours. Enough said, you should see (and read) for yourself.
You can also find her on Insta @ramses_may and WordPress.
Since when do you live in this flat ?
I have recently moved into this new flat in Fontainebleau (Paris region). We arrived in September 2020.
How did you find it? (if there is a story behind it)
By sheer coincidence. I was frantically scouring the rental pages of a very well-known website in France and all the estate agencies of the area we targeted (Fontainebleau and its surroundings). However, the pictures and the description of the flat were quite blurred. It was mostly about a very nice parquet floor (I confirm) and a cellar that could be heated. The description was very short and not very detailed. I was imagining this kind of nightmarish New York-style-basements (like Benny’s flat in The Queen’s Gambit). We finally took the plunge. I sent a message, a late reply, an appointment was made with my companion. I was not present as I was working, he made the visit by himself ! With a video to back it up, he told me “Rama, we’ll never find something better”. So I had time to imagine myself in it. The first time I visited the apartment was when we moved in. But, I just fell in love with it. A place that totally suits me / us.
Which Neighbourhood? Why?
The choice of the neighbourhood, of the city was made in a very practical way. We needed a place that was calm, next to nature, but still close to Paris. I could no longer stand the grey roofs of Paris, the density, the noise pollution (even if we lived in a very cool neighbourhood) but I needed to have an easy access to my workplace in Paris. The lockdown finally decided us to move out of Paris. One of the best decision we made in that very challenging year !
We live in a very quiet neighbourhood, in the village, opposite a magnificent XIIth century cloister. It is both a small village but close to the big city where we go for work and when we need to feel the frenzy of the city ! The perfect compromise.
Your favourite room?
I will say the living room. It is warm, cosy and very luminous. I spend most of my time there. My favourite place is on the couch, when I am facing the bookcase and two big windows, the best place to read and to get lost in my thoughts…
What does “home sweet home” evoke you?
It evokes a sanctuary. A place that suits us where we express ourselves and feel at peace.
If you had to find three words that describes your place
I would say serenity, creativity and curiosity.
If your place would be a song or a type of music, what would it be?
Any songs by Mile Davis, Al Green or Nina Simone, for sure !
What is the last item you bought for your place?
A yellow vase that I found at the Ressourcerie (a thrift store) in a little town near Aix-en-Provence during Christmas. A place I particularly like and from which I never leave empty-handed. I recently bought a bouquet of eucalyptus that fits perfectly. So satisfying !
Do you like to have people over? Yes or no, explain why.
I really love having people over ! Being of Senegalese descent, hospitality is a true ethic in this tiny West african country that we call ‘ the country of the teranga’, meaning hospitality. I am really proud of this inheritage. We already used to receive a lot of guests in our small Parisian flat. Therefore, when we were looking for our new flat, we were above all looking for a peace and quiet place to create but also a comfortable place to receive friends and family. It was really important for us ! I love imagining my home as the perfect gateway for our parisian friends and our family willing to escape the city and enjoy some countryside vibes for the weekend.
La Mode, La Mode, La Mode: could you share any (fashion (clothing or jewelry) or beauty) items that you love (Pic + text)
It’s a purse, from a French brand, that I found at Emmaus (a popular thrift store) in Paris. I am really into buying second-hand clothes and accessories. When we moved in, I discovered the joy of furnishing a flat. Most of our furniture came from Selency, the paradise for the thrift stores’ lovers.
What do you do (job/ hobbies) ?
I am a PhD student in urban sociology and geography. I study roughly the urban integration of Congolese (from DRC) migrants in Johannesburg (SA) and Nairobi (Kenya).
Those two are optional :
- If you are a foodie, do you have some favourite cookbooks?
Unfortunately, I have no cookbooks. But I would like to cook more Senegalese dishes and learn Ethiopian cuisine ! Buying a cookbook is therefore a very good idea …
- What are your top 5 activities in general ( just to get to know you better 😉 )
My main activity is really reading. I do it for my work, as a Phd student, but also for pleasure since I am 6 years old.
Since March and the first lockdown, I found it very difficult to get out. So reading really became my main activity ! But I used to go very often to the cinema, to mainly two bookshops (Présence africaine and Gibert in the 5th arrondissement, the famous Quartier Latin), to read in a café in my former neighbourhood in Paris and to have long walk during the day along the quays of St Michel (never at nightfall, I’m scared to death of the rats that abound in this environment).
- Do you have any rituals?
Yes, I have several rituals.
- A 5-min meditation, in the morning, with the windows wide open. The best way to start the day.
- At least 1 hour of daily reading, just for the pleasure (mostly novels)
- My skin care routine : I have just discovered with wonder two new products, lily oil (in the evening, just before going to bed) and nigella oil (in the morning).
- The coffee time. At least 4 per day (2 in the morning, at 2pm after lunch and the last at 5 pm). I drink far too much coffee… but I can’t do without it. Ps : I always bring back coffee from my travels