How Marie Antoinette Lost Her Head to Halloween (And Other Headless Surprises)

“Cake” by Pascal Amblard
With Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette Painted on a Decorative Panel
On Display at “Le Palace des Vosges
Photo by Erica Simone

How Marie Antoinette Lost Her Head to Halloween (And Other Headless Surprises)

Parler Paris Nouvellettre®
Your taste of life in Paris and France
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

The alarm goes off, it’s still dark outside and it’s a typical workday in the City of Light. By 8 or 8:30 a.m. the computer goes on, coffee is placed in reach and the emails start loading into an already overloaded inbox. One never knows what the outside world will bring to your own inside world via the Internet until you start to peruse the correspondence. This morning there were a few surprises.

The reaction to the first one was a combination of a groan, the sound of disgust and a chuckle to a photo and link sent by a reader named Diana Alexander of the latest in Halloween Costumes: a headless Marie-Antoinette! If you weren’t sure what disguise would best fit you this year, perhaps this is the one! One blogger says, “I love how this ensemble is such a harmonious synthesis of sexy and undead. Once you’ve sculpted yourself a new blue bosom, those zombie-ninja-aliens will be clamoring to buy you your next O Positive cocktail.” With Halloween just ten days away, you better get on the horn to create your own headless beauty. Have a look how.

The next surprise was from a bank, enough to ‘spin your head’ if not chop it off. Interest rates have gone so low that you could be paying as little as 2.04% interest on your French mortgage! This is a lender we have worked with for years — in fact, it’s the lender who has held my own personal mortgages (all four of them!) since the year 2000…but I can tell you, none of mine are as ‘brainless’ as that! This is the lowest rate we’ve ever seen.

On a variable-rate mortgage, which is the most desirable in France for a variety of beneficial reasons (in contrast to how the U.S. favors fixed-rate loans), the first year’s rate is as low as 2.3%. After the first year, the rate goes to “Euribor” (the money market reference rates for the euro) plus a 1.3% margin. If the rate stays the same the second year, you could easily be paying only 2.04%!

So, let’s not ‘lose our heads’ and play this out. You purchase a one-bedroom 40 square-meter apartment in the heart of Paris at about 10,000€ per square meter: 400,000€. Your loan is 80% of that: 320,000€. You take a 15-year loan because you’re in your mid to late 50s and the bank doesn’t want to lend beyond the age of 70 (but, this is not always true). The first year your payment per month is 2100€. The second and subsequent years, your payment is 2065€. The payment stays the same, but the term of the loan changes (increases or decreases) as the rate changes — that’s how the variables in France work.

“Footrest” by Anthea Hamilton at the FIAC

Meanwhile, your rental revenues are covering the mortgage (I call this “OPM” — Other People’s Money) and becaus

e of the low interest rate, you stand a very good chance of making a profit, too! The point is, that this is a great time to buy property in France with prices having stabilized in central Paris and interest rates as low as they have ever been. If you want more information, our man with a ‘good head on his shoulders’ can help you get a pre-approval on a loan at these rates (at no brokerage fee). Just email John.

The last surprise shouldn’t have been one. The annual FIAC International Modern and Contemporary Art Fair officially opens tomorrow and runs through October 25th, but opens for the press and by special invitation today at two venues: the Grand Palais and the Cour Carrée du Louvre with 210 exhibitors and 4200 artists. An invitation from a journalist friend to attend tonight received an immediate “yes” response!

It’s doubtful I’ve missed even more than one year of attending since even before living in Paris, particularly at the Grand Palais venue, which is a stunning backdrop for the mind-opening contemporary art. One could be ‘head over heels’ to witness the level of creativity (and sense of humor) exuding from the works of artists well known and soon-to-be-well-known from all over the world.

It’s an overwhelming undertaking to absorb such a massive amount of self-expression, so be prepared to stay a while and either ‘edit out’ the fray or take it all in with patience. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for all those who have ‘lost our heads’ and hearts to contemporary art. For more information, visit FIAC.

‘Heading’ off to a day of surprises in the City of Light…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. The French Property Insider site was down for almost 48 hours…for which we apologize! So, if you tried to access it to listen to the conference call (subscribers), but couldn’t…have no fear…now you can! Just click here.

P.P.S. IDEABLOG is looking for American Women to partake in a focus group in English this Thursday, October 22, at from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. You should be aged 25-40 years old, be living in France for no more than 5 years, use daily facial skincare products and read fashion magazines. The group will take place in Paris 1st arrondissement near M° LEs Halles/ Rambuteau/ Etienne Marcel. You will receive 150€ for your participation plus a well known luxury brand perfume! To reserve your spot, contact Kathleen McBrien Bloh at, or phone 01 55 56 09 12.

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NEXT MEETING: November 17th, 2009 AND EVERY SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Special upcoming date November 17, 2009)

The second Tuesday of every month (except November), Parler Paris and French Property Insider readers gather at La Pierre du Marais for a drink and a “schmooze” –It’s an opportunity to meet and chat with other like-minded people and a great way to make friends! Costs nothing except whatever you drink. Don’t miss the next gathering, Tues, November 17th, 2009 from 3 to 5 p.m.

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