France: But Who Will Be Concierge to the Concierges?

The concierges of Paris, like French shopgirls, come from a single mold. But where shopgirls are uniformly stocky, black-haired, pertly dark-eyed and, no matter how unpretty, filled with a lively charm, concierges have pulled-back hair, grey skin and grey souls. The typical concierge wears round-frame glasses, black stockings, a shapeless dress and old felt slippers, and, in the profane opinion of most Parisians, is rude, inquisitive, grasping, lazy, and brimming with malign gossip.

But last week, a startling change had come over the city's concierges. They ostentatiously polished brass and industriously sewed rips in the hall carpeting. A tenant's "Bon...

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