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Flower vendor Vilmorin

Your taste of life in Paris and France 
March 19, 2012 • Paris, France

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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. You'll receive the lowest season rates when you book and stay in March.

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Located in a grand Haussmannian building, just steps from Le Centre Georges Pompidou, Le Beaubourg is a masterpiece of design and function. Warm, elegant shimmery colors mixed with luxurious fabrics, rich upholstery and elegant crystal and glassworks combine to create a space you won’t want to leave.

Book now! Visit Parler Paris Apartments to view our full selection or email to reserve your stay.

Dear Parler Paris Reader,

19-3-12 geraniums-119-3-12 geraniums-219-3-12 goudemalion-119-3-12 goudemalion-219-3-12 goudemalion-3

Every year mid March, in a somewhat stupid ritualistic fashion, I "schlep" the six-wheel 'Rolls Royce' of a shopping cart (by Rolser -- it jumps the steps like a kangaroo) down to the quai de la Mégisserie (between Pont Neuf and Place du Châtelet) to purchase flowers for the window boxes. I make it a point to lunch first at "Au Vieux Châtelet" on the corner at the Place, except that this year the café is seriously undergoing massive we opted for the café next door -- Le Reynou at number two.

Owners of a brand-spanking-new apartment we are soon to launch on Parler Paris Apartments called "Au Vieux Paris" (by coincidence to the café name), decided to join me in order to purchase flowers for their own window boxes. Their apartment has five windows on two very historic streets in Le Marais with a drop-dead amazing view on the carousel just steps away at the Saint-Paul Métro entrance and was renovated and decorated by interior architect Martine di Mattéo to look and feel like a Paris bistrot. It's a 'must stay in' fabulous one-bedroom luxury apartment and, with bright new red geraniums, is going to be even more delightful.

After lunch we headed down the quai to peruse the flowers at each of the shops before deciding which of them should be the lucky vendor we'd patronize. It was not at all unusual that Vilmorin would have the best selection -- they do most every year, without a question. Rows and rows of many different colors, they are THE spot for geranium-shopping.

The price, however, seems to creep up a bit with each passing year. A "barquette" of 10 potted geraniums was going for 24€ when last year it was 22€.

We anchored down the Rolser with a huge bag of dirt, then loaded it with a barquette of reds, a barquette of fuschias, a thick pot of rosemary (for "Le Provençal") and a big pot of flowers (I don't have a clue what kind) for the terrace at "La Paris Plage," then jumped on the 96 bus to head home with all our purchases.

My housekeeper of 17.5 years looks forward to this almost as much as I do as she helps me both make and clean up the big mess that potting geraniums in a Paris apartment can make. We get such pleasure from tamping down the new fresh earth around the baby plants, watering the window boxes so that the water and fresh earth fall to the street (possibly hitting a few pedestrians on the head unintentionally) and watching the windows come to life! Then, we treat them like our babies and nurture them until next winter when they die again. Ugh.

This year I screwed up and failed to purchase enough plants, leaving "Le Parisol" and my daughter's bedroom window without any. Back to the quai I will go this coming weekend...and here we go again, making another mess, if not as large a one.

Sunday we left the flowers to their own acclimating while we headed to the "Goudemalion" Jean-Paul Goude Retrospective exhibit at Les Arts Decoratifs in the west wing of Le Louvre. It was the last day -- which isn't very kind of me to tell you that you missed (as I almost did) one of the most amazing exhibitions ever.

Jean-Paul Goude is the artist behind Grace Jones' iconic image (with whom he has a child) and the master of Galeries Lafayette's advertising campaign featuring top model/actress Lætitia Casta. He became a "household name" in Paris when he designed a parade down the Champs Elysées to commemorate the bicentennial of the French Revolution.

Aside from the mind-bendingly stunning photos, highly stylistic drawings and brilliant conceptual works, there were a few over-the-top surprises -- such as a live woman in period costume sitting still as a mannequin facing a mirror that with her hands, head and feet placed in just the right position, looked to be flaming. The same woman came out into the open at one point and glided around the room as if on wheels (perhaps she was, as we couldn't see her feet).

In one room were almost two dozen video screens placed on the four walls all at the same height. On each a Métro train passed in different stations, each station displaying one of Goude's famous Galeries Lafayette-Lætitia Casta posters. The train passed from one screen to the other, without any break in the rhythm, and as each train passed, the people on the platform either got on and others got off the train, or they stayed on the platform, but in each case, each performed some different pose or action. One could have stayed there for hours trying to understand the entire story and taking in all the characters.

To know Jean-Paul Goude, one only need to search in Google Images and you will be amazed by this one man's creative genius. He's forever in our Parisian lives even without realizing his presence. From now on I will recognize it.

Two other creative geniuses are on display at Les Arts Decoratifs -- Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, having just opened this past March 9th and on until September 16th, 2012. The exhibition juxtaposes the two men's contributions to the fashion world beginning with the industrialization and ending with globalization. If you've ever loved the classic Louis Vuitton trunk, then you're going to love the Marc Jacobs handbags designed for the House of Vuitton.

Don't miss this least!

A la prochaine...

Aprofile200croppedreverseAdrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

Respond to Adrian

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au vieux parisP.S. "Au Vieux Paris" is not up on our Web site quite yet...but if you are interested in being one of the first to reserve your stay (sleeps up to four), email


Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group

PParlorpizza-sliceJoin us March 31st to celebrate the 14th anniversay of Parler Parlor with a pizza party, birthday cake and drinks, plus a special membership sale!

Come for conversation then stay for lunch!

Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 11 a.m.

Lutèce Langue
23, boulevard de Sébastopol (at the corner of rue de la Reynie), 1st arrondissement

10 euros per person or FREE when you register for the SPECIAL OFFER of a 14-SESSION CARD FOR ONLY 100 euros that day! (Regular price is 10 sessions for 85 euros.)

 Party open to everyone, first time is free!

 Practice Your French...or English. Parler Parlor meets three times a week -- come as often as you like!

For further details, visit Parler Parlor.  

ad-normandyhgtvSee Adrian Leeds and French Property Consultation On House Hunters International!
Historic Country Homes in Normandy -- Episode HHINT-2411H

April 5, 2012 at 7 p.m. EST/PST 

The Blairs want a drill in all things French and experience is the best teacher. But Franco-mania can produce life's sweetest pleasures and its worst misfortunes. Is the Blair's dream home hiding in the back roads of Europe's dairy land? Find out when House Hunters moves to Normandy, France with the help of professional real estate consultant Adrian Leeds.

PWW ad Paris Writer's Workshop

June 24-29, 2012

The 22nd annual Paris Writers' Workshop invites you to be a part of one of the most respected (and fun!) creative writing workshops of its kind. Join us for a week rich in opportunities to fine-tune your writing with our outstanding faculty, work in an intensive and friendly environment, stay current on literary trends (such as self-publishing, eBooks, and the use of blogs and social media), receive step-by-step information on how to get published, meet literary agents, become a member of the PWW community, and enjoy summer in the City of Light!

SPECIAL NOTE: Adrian Leeds (Paris Writers Workshop Faculty) will be participating in a panel discussion "Welcome to the 21st Century: How to Use Blogs and Social Media to Your Advantage" on Thursday, June 28, 2012 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information and to register visit Paris Writer's Workshop.

French Property Consultation

Book your FREE personal consultation with Adrian Leeds!

If you are a guest staying in any one of our luxurious Parler Paris Apartments or Parler Nice Apartments, and would like to consider having your own "pied-à-terre" for your pleasure and profit, fill out our consultation request form for a free one-hour consultation while you're enjoying the apartment in the City of Light or on the Riviera.

Visit or ParlerNiceApartments to book your stay and for more information or email Adrian at

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Get your copy of Adrian Leeds' Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants

SOSHelp-adSOS Help Spring Book Sale

Mark your calendars for our next book sale on March 25!

Sunday, March 25 at 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Orrick Law Offices
31, avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie 75016 Paris

Paperbacks are only 1€ and hard covers are 2€. We have books in every category, with a ton of general fiction, young adult, and parenting. Be sure to tell your friends about this great way to get inexpensive books, meet other people in the English-speaking community, and support our organization! We'll also have a bake sale where you can pick up your favorite sweet and savory treats from back home.

We appreciate your donations! To donate books in good condition, you may drop them off at the venue Saturday, March 24, 12-4 p.m. or Sunday, March 25, 12-4 p.m.

All proceeds to SOS Help, 01 46 21 46 46 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Visit

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