Topping Off Heads and Hot Chocolate

Le Chocolat Chaud à l’Ancienne at Café Paul Bert

Topping Off Heads and Hot Chocolate

Parler Paris Nouvellettre®
Your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday December 14, 2009
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Sunday morning, we started out early in the freezing cold to wander the “allées” of the “Marché aux Puces” in Saint-Ouen to find the one missing piece to “Le Saint-Tropez’s” furnishings puzzle.

The Marché aux Puces is Paris’ largest rummage sale and antique market that spans the area between Métros Porte de Clignancourt and Porte de Saint-Ouen just outside the “Périphérique” (ring road and border of the city of Paris). There are dozens of “allées” (alleys) in which one can be totally lost and hundreds of different merchants selling every sort of resale or discarded goods at every age, level of condition, quality and price.

Le Saint-Tropez” is the studio apartment with a terrace currently under renovation to which I’ve devoted 4.5 years of giving ‘life.’ Over the years, there have been so many trials and tribulations that I’ve kept a complete written account, and which has yet to be fully realized. It’s now on it’s second contractor; the first one having ‘gone belly up’ just AFTER he received 30% of the payment in advance for the work, leaving me in the lurch for both the renovation and the funds.

Such is life in the City of Light from time to time, just like anywhere in today’s tenuous economic climate…but we carry on with persistence knowing that when all is said and done, this very special ‘aerie’ bathed in light overlooking Le Marais under 17th-century beams will well be worth all the efforts.

Over the past months, I’ve been shopping the various “brocantes” (rummage sales) and antique markets looking for just the right furnishings to turn Le Saint-Tropez into the heavenly ‘seaside’ escape I’ve envisioned all these years. To date, it’s missing just one piece for which I was searching yesterday — the bathroom cabinet on which a “vasque” (counter top washbasin) will be positioned. It must be very special, as it will be seen from all points through an arched doorway leading to the bathroom — the arch bordered in aqua and gold mosaic tile, acting as a frame to the view beyond.

On route to the “allées” of the market which branch off from “rue des Rosiers,” just prior to crossing the Périphérique, is an open-air market of a variety of newly manufactured goods that is reminiscent of a “souk” and within one can find inexpensive clothing as well as bargain a bit on the prices. It’s here I found new brightly colored berets to add to my collection at 5€ each and my friend found solid combat boots
for 50€ that elsewhere were twice the price.

Midday we took a break from the cold to have a “Vin Chaud” (hot wine) and “Boeuf Bourguignon” at “Chez Louisette,” a restaurant in the Allée Vernaison where Edith Piaf once sang and where, to this day, a “chanteuse” much like her sings the same sad songs on weekend days. One doesn’t go for the quality of the food, but for the atmosphere and a touch of nostalgia.

At the antique market I found two or three possible choices of cabinets, one of which has just the right aqua patina to fit well in the space. Most of the good finds were in the Allée Paul Bert, my favorite of them all, where the assortment of goods is most eclectic. The merchants were bundled in mittens and wooly coats, weathering the freezing temperatures, but lunching together in good spirit. We had to interrupt them to ask about this or that, bargain on price or determine a delivery date. They didn’t seem to mind — there weren’t many shoppers as brave as us.

Before hopping back on the Métro we couldn’t resist stopping into Café Paul Bert, one of the market’s best restaurants, for a REAL “Chocolat Chaud à l’Ancienne” that made the bitter cold seem like a good excuse for such a decadent dessert. Like the whipped cream floating on the chcocolate, it topped off the day.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Photo by Peter Nichols

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Parler Paris Apartments
Last Minute Christmas and New Years special!

Book any one of Le Balcon Plante, Le Deco, Le Grand Ciel or La Table du Roi December 21 through January 1 (subject to availability) and receive 10 to- 15% off the normal rate.

To view our apartments and check availability, visit the Parler Paris Apartments site or email us at for our recommendations.

This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Delicious, Affordable Dining in Paris!

Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants is the perfect gift for the Francophile on your holiday shopping list. It is the first online restaurant guide to Paris, written and updated by Adrian Leeds.

You don’t need to be rich to dine well in Paris – you just need to know where to go! For more information, visit Insider Paris Guides at

Only 2 Days Left to Donate! A Journey through Volunteering in Cambodian Orphanages

There are 2 days left to donate to Erica Simone’s Photographic Project — a Journey through Volunteering in Cambodian Orphanages project. Your donation will include providing supplies for the kids, such as art supplies, fabrics for backdrops, unused medical supplies, books, toys, etc., so don’t hesitate to make your contribution. Click here for more information and to learn how to receive Erica Simone original prints when you make your pledge:

Erica will be making her New York City West Village studio apartment available for rental while traveling in Southeast Asia from February 1 through the beginning of April. If you are interested, please email her at


Le Palace des Vosges New Special Offer!

French Property Fractional – Ownership Opportunity.

Purchase a share with your 15,000€ deposit received in the escrow account by December 31st, 2009 and receive a 5000€ discount off the price of your share!

Only Eight shares Left. For more information about how to purchase your share of Luxury – Le Palace des Vosges, visit or email
Mary Ellen Gallagher at

If you are interested in traditional fractional ownership properties currently offered by our Fractional Ownership partners, visit: French Property Fractional for more information.

Practice Your French…or English! New Wednesday Location.
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!

Note: Closed between Christmas and New Year’s, December 25, 2009 through January 4, 2010

For further details, visit Parler Parlor

NEXT MEETING: January 13th, 2009 AND EVERY SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The second Tuesday of every month, 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, January 13th, 2009 from 3 to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit Parler Paris Après Midi

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