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Your taste of life in Paris and France 
April 4, 2012 • Paris, France

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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.

Dear Parler Paris Reader,

This morning has been 'in the toilet.' Ugh.

Once my daughter got in the shuttle headed for Charles de Gaulle airport (and ultimately New York City) after a good three weeks at home in Paris, it started with a big fat 'flush.' Two mobile telephones (the old SFR and the new Freemobile) rang off the hook. First, the sanibroyeur in "Le Parisol" was malfunctioning. Then a friend's "john" (also a sanibroyeur) was so stopped up the water was coming up through the shower drain. Ugh.

4-4-12sanitop4-4-12Cabinets-inodores-5-centiémes-18714-4-12Vespasienne jardin de la Bourse 18764-4-12 pissoir by Michelle Young4-4-12 paris toilet

A sanibroyeur is a macerating toilet that uses a pump and electricity to grind the (excuse my French) 'merde' in place of a 'real' toilet. The reason they even exist is to be able to have such facilities in a space that does not have a proper sanitation pipe which is much larger than the average water pipe. "Le Parisol" is the "studette" adjacent to "La Paris Plage" that is rented as a second bedroom and is equipped with a sanibroyeur so that the renter need not disturb the others in the main apartment. The main manufacturer is a company called SFA with locations worldwide.

Sanibroyeurs are delicate beings. Put anything into them other than the usual "papier de toilette" and what you get is what I got -- a big mess and a big bill. No matter how many signs we put up in the apartments that have these lovely creatures, no matter how many times we tell our guests not to put anything in of any 'substance,' they still don't listen and think it's a joke.

No joke. This time, the plumber came up with a condom. Somebody got lucky, but it wasn't me. The motor was so mangled, that the entire unit had to be replaced to the tune of more than 700€. Ugh.

My plumber is a rare creature. His name is Cohen -- normally a name for a doctor, lawyer or accountant, but in France a "Kohen," or "Jewish priest," can perform all sorts of feats. In this case, he's the smartest plumber I've ever known. He can figure out any tough plumbing problem. He's also expensive, but worth it. I don't negotiate with him ("Christian him down") and he takes care of me like a queen.

So, when I asked politely if he would take care of friends across town, he said, "Bien sûr, Madame Leeds" and then noted that he was familiar with the street on which my friends live, he knew the "guardiennes" and a whole host of merchants on their block. It's a small world. Cohen is a small man, but only in height, not in personality.

Fortunately for all of us, Paris provides public toilets that are clean and efficient. I tested one recently with my daughter and found the experience not at all unpleasant. There are more than 400 of them in the city, heated and equipped with motion sensors and accessible to wheelchairs. Just look for the large, grey, cylindrical booths sporting signs that read "Toilettes - Entree Gratuite." For a list and to learn more, visit Public Toilets in Paris.

At 2 p.m. today I heard that my friend's toilet will not be flushingly happy either until it is replaced and must come out of the tiled wall, too. Those renters will be finding new accommodations until Cohen can make the repair, but fortunately the guest a Le Parisol is a happier fellow, now that the condom is out and the new 'sani' is in.

All this in anticipation of Passover and Easter on the horizon...happy holidays!

A la prochaine...

adrian toiletAdrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

Respond to Adrian

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P.S. In Paris and looking for Matzot? You'll find it in any grocery store in Le Marais for sure. For the rest -- gefilte fish, horseradish, etc., head to rue des Rosiers, 4th arrondissement before sundown on Friday! To attend a Seder (traditional Passover meal) in Paris, join Kehilat Gesher and the Cjl for a community celebration at 10-14 rue Moufle, Paris 75011 or join Chabad of Champs Elysées for a meaningful Seder that you can follow Friday, April 6th and Saturday, April 7th 2012, 8:50 p.m.

P.P.S. I'm off to Normandy for the holiday weekend, but we'll be back in town and back in business with "Parler Paris Après Midi" Tuesday, April 10th when Kristin Shannon and Antonio Meza of PSI Communications teaches us how to "Make friends with your multiple minds!" It's free and it's fun! Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.

P.P.P.S. Parler Parlor is closed this coming Saturday for the holidays. Reopening the following plan on being there!


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.

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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.

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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!

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