The Ile de la Cité is where life in Paris began centuries ago, centered around one of the world's most important cathedrals, Notre Dame. Just a few steps away is this old-world elegant studio apartment with windows providing a perfect and beautiful view of "Our Lady.".
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Seven American Expats sat around a sumptuous home-made dinner last night and discussed sentiments of being misfits -- misfits in their home towns and home country. One such Expatriate was convinced that we Americans living in France all had something to hide -- leading me to believe that at least he was one that did, as I certainly don't and didn't -- it wasn't the reason for moving here at all.
Nonetheless, there is no doubt that we all have a thread that ties us to Paris or other parts of France that is often inexplicable. That thread carries with it political leanings (mostly to the left), a sense of adventure, risk-taking and a point of view that there is simply no reason whatsoever that anyone must or should spend their lives in the place where they 'grew up.' In fact, for many of us, our maturity took place here, rather than during our more formative years in our home towns...perhaps because a culture that is so many centuries old offers more inherent wisdom than (what the French consider) the 'adolescent' U.S. of A.
North Americans are all immigrants like so many others living in France, although I don't believe we are seen by the French in the same light as the North Africans, the Africans or even the Eastern Europeans. I was told once at the "Préfecture de Police" which processes all immigration visas, that we (Americans) hold "the golden passport." However, it is estimated that one-third of the entire French population is of foreign descent.
Meanwhile, President Nicolas Sarkozy is promising even tougher laws on immigration, "including measures to reduce immigrant numbers from 180,000 to 100,000 a year." (International Herald Tribune) He stated that "we have too many foreigners on our territory" and that "France could no longer house, employ, and educate this number of new arrivals each year."
So, Mr. Sarkozy, what about the gunman who attacked the Jewish school in Toulouse and (they think) murdered three North African soldiers in two other recent shootings? The president himself believes he was motivated by anti-semitism and racism. But, isn't that what you, Mr. Sarkozy, are propagating, by taking a stand that foreigners, who make up one-third of your population, are not wanted on French soil???
Other theories about the serial killer indicated he is an "Islamic extremist angry at France for sending soldiers to Afghanistan and with a hatred of Jewish people." This past January, Sarkozy announced that "French troops will begin handing over security to the Afghan army in March and leave the country completely by the end of 2013." (France is the fourth-largest troop contributor in Afghanistan.) And did you know that Mr. Sarkozy himself is the son of a Hungarian immigrant whose mother is half Greek Jewish and half French Catholic?
Mr. Sarkozy, what are you thinking? Have you forgotten who you are?
This morning's news broke with a shoot-out between the police and the gunman -- a 24 year-old Muslim man who is a French citizen of Algerian origin. Sarkozy is blaming racism, but I ask, by whom? The gunman or the French people? Fifty years ago a treaty was signed to end 132 years of the rule of Algeria by the French that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and Algeria still awaits an apology! And the "Harkis" and "pieds-noirs" (as the Algerians are called) are still made to feel unwelcome in France.
I can tell you that on the "Pyramid of Hatred," there are many others high above the Jews who are unwanted in France. The difference is the aggression -- as those who suffer the most and are angriest are the most aggressive and make the most noise, as is with this gunman who takes his hatred out on a Rabbi and young children for the sake of making a statement. Sarkozy, what are you doing about that?
The Socialists are keeping quiet on all this -- Socialist candidate François Hollande hasn't said much except he is expected to make an appearance at the Jewish school in Toulouse and his Web site has a very 'sweet' opening message expressing his sentiments. Other than that, there is virtually not a word out of his mouth about immigration or any of the important issues that at least Sarkozy isn't afraid to address.
"Oy vay." What is this crazy world coming to? Here we are a global society networked by Facebook, CNN and Parler Paris...and we still can't see that we are all made up of the same parts regardless of where we come from or what we believe.
P.S. For supporters of Barack Obama, get involved with "Paris Professionals for Obama" -- attend a special re-election fund-raising event March 29th at the Glass House (which the NY Times called "the best house in Paris.") Meet special guest, David Simas, Director of Opinion Research for the 2012 Obama re-election campaign. Entry donation to the campaign: $500/375€. Click here to download the invitation and registration form.
PARLER NICE APARTMENTS
Parler Nice Apartments from Adrian Leeds are luxury vacation rentals in Nice on the Côte d'Azur!
Le Matisse is a luxury one-bedroom apartment in the heart of one of Nice’s chicest and safest districts, Le Carré d’Or. Located on a well-known pedestrian shopping street, rue Masséna is teeming with cafés, restaurants and boutiques so you will never be for want of anything. Le Matisse is an artist-designed, newly renovated and decorated apartment that will put you in happy, high spirits, much like a Matisse painting -- full of color and life.
Enjoy the gorgeous Côte d'Azur climate all year long! To book this Mediterranean masterpiece visit Le Matisse for more information and put in your request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.