An American in Paris and a Visitor in Paris

The Cash Register left wide open at the Musée Carnavalet…
an example of the French honor system?

An American in Paris and a Visitor in Paris

Parler Paris…

Your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, December 10, 2007
Paris, France

Community Calendar Updated Every Wednesday

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Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference!
February 16-17, 2008
Alliance Française, Miami, Florida

If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own “pied-à-terre” in Paris or home in the Provinces of France, perhaps as a future retirement home or for now as investment property rented part of the year…this power-packed two-day conference is a MUST.

Hosted by Adrian Leeds, long time resident of Paris, Editor of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre® and French Property Insider weekly E-zine and John Howell, lead attorney for the International Law Partnership, London, these two days in Miami will point you in the right direction to make it really happen! Includes three course lunch and cocktail reception.

For more information and to register, visit: /frenchproperty/conference/

Or email Schuyler Hoffman at


Dear Parler Paris Reader,

An American in Paris

Boston born Benjamin Franklin became more than just an American in Paris for nine years of his life as Ambassador to France from 1776 to 1785.

He was sent to France as commissioner for the United States and was such a favorite of French society that it was ‘cool’ for wealthy French families to decorate their parlors with a paintings of him. It is said that he was highly flirtatious in the French manner, but there is no report of any actual romantic affairs. Successful in securing a critical military alliance in 1778 and negotiating the Treaty of Paris (1783), during his stay in France, Ben Franklin became a freemason and was Grand Master of the Lodge Les Neuf Soeurs from 1779 until 1781.

The Musée Carnavalet honors him with a special exhibition that opened last Wednesday, running through March 9, 2008. Approximately 340 paintings, sculptures, documents and objects are on display as curated by the museum with cooperation of several other institutions, including the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Château de Versailles and the Musée National de la Coopération Franco–Américaine de Blérancourt.

This may sound strange to you, but in observation of those who were visiting the exhibit at the same time as us, during a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, almost every man fit the same description: medium height and middle-aged, gray hair with a small well-groomed beard, eyeglasses which were removed frequently to look closer at each object, wearing muted colors of browns, greens and grays.

At first I thought it was the same gentleman passing over and over again, until realizing the similarity between them. Does this mean that if a “fan club” were organized for old Ben Franklin, the members would be like “birds of a feather?”

Musée Carnavalet, 23 rue de Sévigné, 75003 Paris

Footnote: While we were perusing the bookstore at the Musée Carnavalet, the sole salesperson inadvertently left the cash register drawer open while assisting a customer…for quite a long time! No one seemed to even notice, except us! Is this an example of the French honor system or just plain negligence? I’ll bet it’s not the first time!

Foie Gras Seller
Photo by Erica Simone

A Visitor in Paris

About this time of year, the letters flood in wanting recommendations on what visitors to Paris can do during the Christmas and New Year holidays. I’m about the worse person in the world to ask, since although every holiday season is spent here in Paris greeting visiting friends and family, the only thing I want to do is stay in out of the winter weather to enjoy my heated apartment and the company of friends.

All you who have spent your hard-earned bucks to hop a plane and have an enlightened holiday season in the world’s most romantic city think that’s just plain boring. I don’t blame you.

Here are the hard, cold facts:

Christmas and New Year dinners in Paris restaurants are likely NOT to be offered in the little independent establishments (family-run restaurant owners are home enjoying their own holidays), and prices are hiked up to the max. So, expect to pay a lot and not get the quality you deserve. “C’est la vie.”

Transportation gets a bit tough. Thank goodness now, the Métro runs an hour longer on Friday nights (till 2:15 a.m.). But, for New Year’s Eve, there is nothing in the media yet about extended hours. Last year all transportation on the Ile de France was free from 5 p.m. the 31st to 12 noon the 1st, but this year, strikes are preventing any such positive news (strikes are predicted for this coming Wednesday). Don’t plan on getting a taxi, either, so if you’re smart, you won’t venture too far from your hotel or apartment during peak periods such as New Year’s Eve.

Christmas Eve is when families gather, so don’t even expect to take in a movie (they close early). Buy a block of foie gras, a good bottle of champagne and organize a little picnic at your hotel or apartment, then take a walk in the City of Light to see the beautiful light displays. Visit for more information about the city’s festival of lights.

At midnight, take in the Family Christmas Mass at Eglise Saint-Germain-des Prés, the oldest church in Paris, first completed in 558, with the current building dating from the 11th century (3 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 75006). Lots of other churches offer the same, such as Nôtre Dame and Saint-Eustache.

Christmas Day is a day of rest for Parisians when they eat turkey and turn into stuffed birds themselves. You’ll be polishing off the foie gras, so to work it off, head to the ice…go ice skating at the Hôtel de Ville 4th arrondissement), or at the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand (13the arrondissement) or in front of the Gare Montparnasse (14th arrondissement). For more information, visit

If skating isn’t your thing, you can also take in a concert at 4 p.m. at the Eglise Madeleine on the Grand Organ by François-Henri Houbart (8th arrondissement).

Between Christmas and New Year’s there is lots to do. Don’t forget, on the 27th, you can participate in a “Paris ChiXmas” and on the 29th, “A Vivid World.” The Office de Tourisme offers a list of things to do, too. See the listing they recommend in English.

On New Year’s Eve, take in a cabaret show or dinner cruise. It will be pricey, but festive. See for a good Web site where you can reserve your place. For all sorts of other “spectacles,” visit and end your evening on the Champs-Elysées with the other thousands of revelers, but watch out for drunkenness and rebel rousing!

New Year’s Day will be quiet, at least until early afternoon. Then, I suspect, weather permitting, people will take to the streets for a stroll and a “vin chaud” if nothing else.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about what’s happening in Paris during the holiday season, do what I just did…research the Web. It’s filled with valuable information! And while you’re out and about taking in the City of Light, you’ll find me home eating foie gras and drinking champagne.

A la prochaine…  

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris



P.S. See you tom

orrow at Parler Paris Après Midi, 3 to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.

P.P.S. Plan on coming to Parler Parlor December 22nd to practice speaking French or English, bring your cake or cookies and we’ll supply the “Vin Chaud!”…plus register that day and get 12 sessions for the price of a 10-session card and 24 sessions for the price of a 20-session card! (Closed only December 25, 2007 through Jjanuary 2, 2008. Reopens January 5, 2008.) See for more information.

Save money when transferring from dollars to euros!

HiFX takes the pain and guesswork out of currency conversion. They offer a range of services and can provide the ideal solution to fit your specific situation when transferring money for your French property mortgage and more. Save more of your own hard-earned money with HiFX!

For more information, click here: /frenchproperty/loan

This Week in French Property Insider…

To Buy or Not to Buy, That is the Question
By Adrian Leeds

It’s an interesting problem to have…when the owner of the apartment you’ve been renting suddenly says, “We’d like to sell the apartment. You have first right of refusal until [such and such a date], and if you don’t purchase it, this is notice that you must move out.”…Subscribers Read On…

Learn how to buy property in France!

French Property Insider is a weekly e-zine, sharing insights, recommendations, tips, and discoveries about Paris real estate and French property. Each information-packed issue is devoted to educating its readers on how to effectively, efficiently and profitably purchase property in France.

Subscribe today at /frenchproperty/insider

For more information visit

By Erica SimoneJoin us for a very special event…to celebrate the photographs and writing by Erica Simonebased on her recent book… A Vivid World


6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Saturday December 29, 2007

46, rue des Abbesses, 75018 PARIS
METRO Abbesses (line 12) or Blanche (line 2)
10 euros entry
includes wine, drinks and snacks

Sponsored by Grace Teshima
For door code, RSVP by email
Home: 01 42 62 45 98
Cell: 06 98 42 69 69

Original photographic prints (editioned and signed by the artist) and copies of “A Vivid World” will be available for purchase.

We wanted better guides. So we wrote them.

Insider Paris Guides are written for people who love the City of Light. You’ll get a Paris insider perspective on Good Value Restaurants… Making a Life… Black Culture… Expat Writers…plus the newest guide, Practical Paris!



Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a private apartment in Paris that has the “seal of approval” from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds.

Le Penthouse Voltaire

American comfort with French flair! Overlooking Boulevards Richard Lenoir and Voltaire, in the 11th Arrondissement.This three-bedroom, two-bath luxury penthouse
with wrap-around balconies and spectacular views, sleeps 6.

Reserve now! Visit /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/voltaire.html
or email: 

Parler Paris Après Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris…

The next gathering is December 11, 2007 and every second Tuesday of the month.

Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group

Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week — come as often as you like!

For further details, visit

Christmas Party Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bring some cookies and cakes for everyone to share and we’ll be serving up a cup of “Vin Chaud!”

Register that day and get 12 sessions for the price of a 10-session card and 24 sessions for the price of a 20-session card!


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