Marie-Laure is trying to settle into her life in Saint-Malo. Madame Manec reports surprising news: the German soldiers stationed in their town are good for the French in some ways: they buy French champagne and French foods, stimulating the local economy. Nevertheless, Marie-Laure is becoming homesick for Paris. She asks Marie-Laure’s father when they’ll return—he replies that he doesn’t know. Marie-Laure’s father also warns her not to enter the room on the sixth floor next to Marie-Laure’s own. He explains that this room belonged to his own father, Marie-Laure’s grandfather. Naturally, this warning intrigues Marie-Laure enormously.
In Marie-Laure’s experience, at least, the German occupation of France is not as bad as it might be. There are Germans everywhere, but they seem more content to enjoy French food than bully the French townspeople. It’s also in this section that the novel adds another Gothic trope—as in most Gothic novels, Marie-Laure receives a stern warning not to go looking through the mysterious old house, a warning that, of course, she’s going to ignore as soon as she gets a chance.
Marie-Laure eats and sleeps well in her home in Saint-Malo. Madame Manec cooks delicious meals for her, always reminding her that the people in Paris are starving.
Marie-Laure is living a luxurious lifestyle at a time when most people in Europe are miserable. But she’s not entirely oblivious to this fact—she understands that she’s very lucky.