Both Somebody and Nobody in Basic Black



Boltanski’s Monumenta 2010 “Personnes” at the Grand Palais

Both Somebody and Nobody in Basic Black

Parler Paris Nouvellettre®
Your taste of life in Paris and France
ParlerParis.com
Monday, February 22, 2010
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Better late than never. Within a day of closing, I finally got a chance to see Christian Boltanski’s “Monumenta 2010″ exhibit at the Grand Palais. You’ve probably already read lots about it in other media as I had, but wanted to experience it for myself. “Personnes” is the title of the installation — a French word meaning both “somebodies” and “nobodies.”

Old friend, compatriot oyster-lover, master story-teller and blogger, Geraldine Kaylor, wrote in her “Travel Oyster” blog: “Immersing myself in the installation, I walked back and forth contemplating the profound questions wordlessly posed by this monumental exhibit. I must admit, however, that every now and then, my attention was grabbed by a particularly attractive coat or sweater. Could I just take one? They belong, after all, to everyone and, at the same time, to nobody.”

(To read the entire Travel Oyster article and follow the blog, click here:
http://traveloyster.blogspot.com/ )

Geraldine happens to be a master thrift-store shopper who boasts of her $2 finds worth 100 times that. So, one could see how all those coats and sweaters lying in perfect M.C. Escher formations and the mountain of garments in constant redistribution would be appealing to her sense of a bargain clothing adventure.

I must admit, I didn’t have the same fantasy, but instead, wanted to wash them, hang them and then donate them to the needy. Then suddenly, the urge came upon me to go shopping for something new. In fact, it dawned on me that I had totally missed an opportunity to find a bargain or two during the Winter “soldes” (sales) and how a Parisian wardrobe is more than complete with just a few basics: black slacks, black skirt, black turtleneck (maybe a red one, too, for a little color), black boots, black tights, black jacket (lightweight), black coat (wool and warm), scarf (any color), black gloves, beret (any color as long as it matches the scarf)…and of course, a small but important collection of lacy lingerie (black, of course) to wear under it all.

With just these few items, one can be “une personne” and be “somebody” or “nobody,” a

s she chooses.

Sunday afternoon, after downing a dozen oysters, Geraldine accompanied me on a small shopping spree in my favorite shop in Paris. It’s a small boutique that exists where a “Bagelry” once was on rue de Turenne (just north of rue des Francs-Bourgeois) named “Nina Kendosa.” At the back of the shop is a mirrored wall with water cascading down it making a stunning impression and giving the illusion of an expensive boutique. Instead, good quality knit dresses range from 25€ to 40€ and accessories are as inexpensive as 5€.

This one boutique along with a basic black wardrobe will take you far with a thrift-store budget. I walked out with three dresses: one black, one red and one blue, all for 79€. (Nina Kendosa boutiques are also located at 87 rue Mouffetard, 5th; 2 rue de Buci, 6th and 46 rue des Abbesses, 18th.)

On the fashionable rue Saint-Honoré last night, a clever display in the window at “Cotélac” sported magnifying circles on the window making their displayed boots larger than life to the naked eye. Again, they were appealing for their basicness — an addition to a Parisian wardrobe that can be worn until they wear out, but not for lack of style. I was certain they wouldn’t fit Geraldine’s idea of a bargain, but I vowed to return when the shop was open to further satisfy the urge for something new…and basic.

At the end of that evening with friends laughing hysterically to taped TV episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” I got on the Métro and looked around at what people were wearing. Yep, you got it. Basic black and lots of basic black boots.

It was a far cry from the fashions worn by RuPaul’s drag queens! But, it was Paris, after all.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. “Le Saint Tropez” and “La Brigitte” are finally making progress! The terrazzo tile is being laid, the aqua glass blocks are getting installed and the painted trompe l’oeil mural by artist Sheila Kern will be pasted to the wall this week. The two apartments with terrace and air conditioning will be ready for rental as of April 1st! If you’re willing to one of the first to enjoy it, visit Parler Paris Apartments Le Saint Tropez and book your stay now!


HOW TO SUCCEED AS AN ‘ALIEN’ IN A FRENCH WORLD

Join Adrian Leeds at Paris Soirées Sunday, March 7th to learn the secrets of success living prosperously in France.

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WRITE YOUR HEART OUT IN CHAMPAGNE!

Welcome to Writing from the Heart…a journey into the heart of France, and into your own heart…April 13-19, 2010 in the inspiring village of Essoyes, in the heart of Champagne country, two and a half hours southeast of Paris.

“A wonderful week of writing, in a charming and welcoming French village.”

The workshop is given by Janet Hulstrand, a writer, editor, and teacher whose essays and articles have been published in the Christian Science Monitor, Guide to Retirement Living, International Educator, Smithsonian.com, and other publications.

For more information visit: essoyesschool.com or email janet.hulstrand@gmail.com


Practice Your French…or English!
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!

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New! Le Bac Marché.

Le Bac Marché is a fashionable studio apartment that sits on well-known rue du Bac, in the heart of an upscale Parisian neighborhood. The décor is proudly traditional and gives a feeling of warmth and security for all who stay there. To check availability, visit Le Bac Marché.

All Parler Paris Apartments are luxurious and well-located with attention to every detail, to make your stay in the City of Light as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. To view all apartments, visit the Parler Paris Apartments site or email us at apartments@adrianleeds.com


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