RUBBING THE BELLY OF A BUDDHA
Written and Edited by Adrian Leeds
Published by International Living
January 21, 2001
In this issue:
*** All of Asia in a Corner of Paris
*** The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop: Reserve Now
*** The Best of Paris. . . All The Time
*** "One of the Best Apartment Deals
We’ve Seen in a Long Time"
*** Your Chauffeur-Driven Trip to Paris
*** Three Links You Need
*** Apartment Seekers
*** Old Parisian Charm
*** Insider’s Food and Wine Excursion
*** Surviving on French
*** A Celebration of Liberty and Civil Rights
*** Where to Get the Best Falafel (Anywhere)
*** American Football on The Big Screen
*** BONJOUR FROM PARLER PARIS!
There are 143 museums in Paris, according to Paris’ newest
entertainment guide, Zurban (http://www.zurban.com). That
explains only partly why after all the years of living here
I hadn’t had the pleasure of exploring the Musee Guimet
until just yesterday. There is another reason . . . the
museum spent the last several years in massive renovation.
Collector Emile Guimet’s brainchild was opened in 1899, a
museum devoted to the religions of ancient Egypt, classical
antiquity, and Asian civilizations. Throughout the 1920s
and 1930s, under the administrative control of the French
Museums Directorate, the museum obtained large collections
from major expeditions including a French archaeological
delegation to Afghanistan. From 1945, the French national
collections underwent a massive reorganization and its
Egyptian collections were transferred to the Louvre, and in
return, Le Musee Guimet received the Louvre’s Asian
In 1938, the museum completed its first renovation, roofing
over the central courtyard to house extensive collections
from Cambodia and Indian sculptures. Years later, when the
general renovation of the Louvre was in its final phases,
Guimet curators convinced the Ministry of Culture that the
museum deserved a refurbishment of its own. In 1992,
architects Henri and Bruno Gaudin won the competition to
redesign the space adding more than 2,500 square meters to
floor space. Together with the team of curators, priority
was given to natural lighting and to the creation of open
perspectives. The work was completed in 1999 and on January
15, 2001, was reopened to the public.
Yesterday, "the public" (including me) formed a long line
outside at Place Iena to slowly and cautiously enter via a
security check. The lobby on the main level is not
overwhelmingly impressive, as is the Louvre’s Pyramid, but
is quiet, elegant and subtly powerful. In the distance, you
are drawn to a naturally lit space of varying size Asian
sculptures set on individual pedestals of stone. As I moved
from object to object, room to room, civilization to
civilization, I was intrigued by both the similarities and
the differences of each culture’s artistic expression.
I admit to no prior knowledge of Asian cultures or the
teachings of Buddha. And of course, Buddha abounds at Le
Musee Guimet. Not the big-bellied, round-faced Buddha that
initially comes to mind, but Buddhas of many visages, of
many body-shapes, of many expressions. I found Buddha to be
feminine and tranquil. I fell in love with his curvaceous
lips and moon-shaped brows, broad shoulders and passive
From the more practical side of life, ceramics and
porcelains from the Ming and the Ching dynasties fill
several rooms. Carved jades, apothecary boxes with inlaid
mother-of-pearl and earthenware for everyday use are
esthetically displayed so that you can view them from all
angles. A carved ivory "pavilion" the size of a large
dollhouse made a lasting impression.
Allow several hours to explore the collection and the
museum, including the "librairie/boutique" of books and
postcards and gifts. There is an audio guide should you
wish to learn more in detail. Open every day except
Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and all summer long. Entry is 4
euro the first Sunday of the month and normally 5,50 euro.
Under 18 is admitted free.
Musee National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet
6 Place d’Iena 75116 Paris
Web site: http://www.museeguimet.fr/RMN/guimet/
A la prochaine fois . . .
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*** THE ULTIMATE TRAVEL WRITER’S WORKSHOP . . . IN PARIS!
If you’ve ever dreamed about being a travel writer in
Paris, now is your opportunity to attend, April 23-26,
Join us for three days of accelerated work and immersion
study with writers, editors, and travel-industry experts in
Paris. Jennifer Stevens, editor of "Passport to Romance:
The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Course," and her team will
teach you how to become a successful travel writer as you
travel around the world.
The workshop includes a welcome reception, three days of
intensive instruction, a buffet dinner in a Paris home,
readings at Cafe de Flore, and guest speaker presentations
by well-known Paris authors, Polly Platt, Thirza Vallois
and Harriet Welty Rochefort.
Even if you’re not participating in the course, you may
want to do a pre-conference "Survival French" immersion
course, or a post-conference Literary Tour of Paris.
more information, click here:
*** THE BEST PLACES IN PARIS TO EAT,
STAY, LIVE, WORK. . .AND MORE
There are now nine updated Insider Paris Guides available
online. . .and more on the way. I know these guides
have generated a large volume of interest, so if you tried
unsuccessfully last week to read more about them, you can
use this link now: http://insiderparisguides.com/
*** HOTTEST LOCATION IN PARIS
By accident, we just found what might be one of the best
apartment deals we’ve seen in a long time: the perfect
pied-a-terre in the heart of the Saint-Germain-des-Pres
neighborhood of Paris on rue Mazarine, the hottest spot for
visitors to the City of Lights.
For short-term rental or purchase, this wood-beamed
one-bedroom tastefully decorated and completely equipped
ready-to-move-in apartment is a rare find. This is the sort
of thing you spend years waiting for. Nice apartments like
this simply don’t come along very often. A friend wants to
buy it, but can’t come to see it until March. "It will be
sold long before that," said the agent.
For more information, contact me quickly at
*** SENATIONAL VIEWS OF THE EIFFEL TOWER
I have seen this luxurious two-bedroom apartment and can
vouch that it is the perfect place to stay while you’re in
Its 1,500 square -feet, has a study, two bathrooms, and is
at the edge of the 7th arrondissement. It has sensational
views of the Eiffel Tower, and has been professionally
decorated to American standards. The price includes
transfer from the airport by a chauffeur-driven car, an
apartment/neighborhood orientation, and access to a
priority taxi service. It is available for a minimum of 5
nights, and would be perfect for 2 couples. It costs
$300-$425 per night. Contact me for more details at
*** RENT DIRECTLY FROM THE OWNER
ParisMarais is not a rental company and not an estate agent
. . . It’s the first web site dedicated to Le Marais for
the Anglophone community visiting Paris. Run by a couple of
private owners, most apartments are available only at
certain times of the year. Ask for Pascal.
Web site: http://www.parismarais.com/
By the way, if you’re looking for an apartment to rent in
Paris, we also recommend "Rentals in Paris,"
http://www.rentals-paris.com/; and "Rendez-Vous a Paris,"
*** APARTMENT SEEKERS
* Bill B. is seeking a two-bedroom (3 or 4 pieces, 80 to
100 square meters) unfurnished apartment with an elevator
in the 3rd, 4th, 7th or 11th arrondissements for $1,500 a
* Ashley N. is seeking an unfurnished very quiet two-room
apartment near shops and Metro, 35 to 50 square meters,
from the 1st of March for a long-term rental less than
1,000 euro per month in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 14th
arrondissements (or others).
* If you own an apartment that would suit these readers, or
you have a Paris apartment to rent, contact me, Adrian, at
*** PROPERTY SEEKERS
Maxine S. is seeking to purchase a one-bedroom apartment in
Paris for between $100,000 to $185,000 in the 3rd, 4th,
5th, 6th, 7th, 11th arrondissements. She is "Looking for
something with a bit of old Parisian charm in an older
building that’s in move-in condition in a quiet location
with a digicode."
Editor’s note: Today’s prices range from $3,000 to $6,500
per square meter depending on the neighborhood, location
and quality of the apartment. One-bedroom apartments (known
as "deux pieces") are normally 40 to 60 square meters,
therefore prices will range from $120,000 to $390,000. The
most expensive neighborhoods Maxine has chosen are the 6th
and 7th arrondissements, where average prices are currently
about $5,700 per square meter.
Should you know of something for Maxine, please contact me
*** THE LOIRE VALLEY. . .AND THE CHATEAU D’OUZILLY
This summer (June 24-July 01), International Living’s
founding publisher, Bill Bonner, will host us at his
chateau not far from Poitiers in the western part of
France. There we’ll learn to cook in the local style–to
prepare the fresh, hearty country fare the French are
famous for–and get a taste for what the heart of France is
really like. I should say, however, that this chateau is
not a picture-perfect museum piece–we’ll travel through
the Loire and have a look at others nearby. No, the Chateau
d’Ouzilly is a family house and an active, working farm.
There are cows, ducks, and chickens in the yard, a stable
of horses, and a cat named Cinders.
The Chateau d’Ouzilly has been lovingly restored–and is
still in the process, of course! I understand it’s going to
be a decade-long project. The roof that was full of holes
when the Bonners purchased the property has been repaired,
and the walls have been beautifully painted. This is a very
comfortable residence. You’ll love it. And we won’t simply
learn how to cook on this trip, though that is, ostensibly,
our purpose. It will be a much richer experience than that.
We’ll have more details in future issues of Parler Paris,
or if you can’t wait, write to
*** SURVIVING ON FRENCH
Coprom Langues entry got a face lift this past weekend, so
Parler Parlor held its session at Le Canari, our favored
brasserie just down the street. Tuesday night, we’re back
in business at 14 rue Lafayette, in the quiet and pleasant
classrooms of Coprom, now with a new look.
Co-coordinator of Parler Parlor and veteran director of
Berlitz Champs Elysees, Marie-Elisabeth Crochard, will be
teaching the Survival French immersion course April 23 and
24, 2002. If you’re trying to get your French up to speed
so that surviving the streets of Paris is "du gateau"
(piece of cake), then don’t miss this opportunity!
To sign up, or for more information, click here:
Then join us at Parler Parlor to practice what you’ve
learned. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., Saturdays at
11 a.m. at Coprom Langues, 14 rue Lafayette, 4th Floor,
9th arrondissement The first time you come is free and
native Anglophones get a 10% discount.
Stay tuned for information abo
ut our upcoming anniversary.
For more Information:
Ask for Adrian and Elisabeth
Parler Parlor French/English Conversation Group
THIS WEEK IN PARIS
January 25, 8 p.m. at the American Church in Paris.
The Franco American Community Centre in Paris and the
American Church in Paris are putting on a celebration of
liberty and civil rights in music, dance, poetry, and prose
in honor of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Complementary cheese
and wine will be served.
For more information, contact Martin Michael Graham by
email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or call
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*** RESTAURANT PICK OF THE WEEK:
L’AS DU FALAFEL
— Israeli Specialties
— Middle Eastern
— 34, rue de Rosiers, Arrondissement 4
— Phone 01.48.87.63.60
— Metro Saint Paul
— Closed Friday Night and Saturday
— Per-person-price: 8 euro to 15 euro ($7 to $13)
Don’t be tempted by any of the other restaurants on rue de
Rosiers because I would match the quality here with any
schawarma or falafel served anywhere in the Middle East!
I don’t say this lightly–I’ve lived in Israel and every
Israeli I know agrees. It used to be that the only way to
get a sandwich from L’As du Falafel was to wait on line and
take it out. Then they turned the one-time Israeli food
market into a restaurant by adding booths and tables so
that you could enjoy the best schawarma and falafel in
Paris without sitting on the curb or walking it down to the
Place des Vosges for a "bench lunch."
Recently, they took over the space next door, so now there
are even more seats…and air-conditioning. There’s a wider
range of choices–the expected schawarma or falafel in
pita, or on a plate, but also lots of other Middle Eastern
dishes, not to mention the best oriental salads and
appetizers this side of the Black Sea. It costs a little
more to dine "sur place," but definitely worth it. You’ll
love the animated scene almost as much as the falafel.
There’s a take-out menu, too, so have a party and order it
up. Izaak runs the restaurant and he and his young staff
will happily take care of you in Hebrew or French and
often, English, too.
Be prepared to let the juices run down your hands and have
sauce from ear to ear. Special thanks to Chuck and Sarah
Edelstein who put-up with my messiness this weekend as we
"dined" chez L’As du Falafel.
*** LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
* Dear Parler Paris,
I’m in Paris as you read this now . . . staying at the
Hotel le Montmartre. I have a question for you. Being an
American who happens to enjoy American Football, can you
recommend a site/location where they might televise the
upcoming NFL playoffs. Any advice would be appreciated.
Dear loyal reader,
NFL football in Paris? You are in luck! I found a bar
advertising the playoffs live on the big screen.
The Moose Paris: http://www.mooseheadparis.com/
Metro: Odeon, 16, rue des Quatre Vents
* Dear Adrian,
I was in Paris for the first time from December 29, 2001 to
January 6, 2002. Paris was a lifelong dream that was
finally realized. I am hopelessly in love with the city. I
plan to visit many, many more times with a particular slant
for living there.
In the interim, I would like to develop a
friendship/correspondence via email. I’d like to get to
know Paris from a Parisian’s perspective.
Any suggestions on how to do this? Thanks.
I am an American female living in Detroit, Michigan. I took
an early retirement buyout package from my job.
Perhaps our readers who like to become a penpal? Anyone
interested in corresponding with Rosemary, please email
Vicki at email@example.com and she will gladly
pass on the emails to you.
My other suggestion is simply to keep reading Parler
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*** HAVE A SPECIAL MESSAGE? WANT TO EXCHANGE LINKS?
If you would like to have your message read by the
subscribers of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre®, please email me
*** If you would like to have reciprocal links, please
email me at
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