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,
Part I: Photographic Memories
This was the week of photography – with Paris Photo on at the Grand Palais and a number of other “salons” and auctions centered around the recorded image. People from all over the world came to present their work, sell their offerings as well as to make purchases. A dealer pays a heavy price to have a stand at the international expo, but to most, it’s well worth it, as important collectors find it convenient one-stop shopping.
I perused Paris Photo twice during the week and visited with several old friends from Los Angeles where I first began to collect photography. At the time, I dabbled a bit as a dealer, holding shows in my own home and working with a few of the galleries. Learning the art and getting to know some of the artists themselves was fun and exciting, not to mention acquiring a small collection of beautiful pieces to hang on our walls.
Photography used to be a truly affordable collector’s item, but now a formidable print can sell for as much as 300,000€ – as did one Irving Penn photo at Saturday’s auction at Christie’s. I bid on one photo in the auction, but halted short of going over my budget when calculating the TVA, the auction house commission and the dollar to euro rate of exchange.
To those of you who are considering collecting photography and investing in this genre of art, I have one bit of advice: only purchase what you believe you will never want to sell! Honorable dealers will tell you that you should never collect art for the sole purpose of investment – that to own it is to love it and cherish it – and should it reap financial rewards in the future, then all the better, but it’s not a reason to own it.
This is true for just about everything in life – it’s the passion in it that makes it profitable.
Part II: Cleanliness is Next to Frenchliness
A friend sent me a report from the national news channel France 24 saying that the “French are the cleanest in Europe,” according to a study taken in 2010. Journalist Tony Todd jokes that “If cleanliness is next to godliness, then the French – and especially French women – are among the most saintly in Europe.”
Well, we know that Paris cleans its streets every single day compared to New York which picks up in most neighborhoods only two to three times a week and not on holidays. But lets’ face it, the French have always had a rather dubious reputation for lack of cleanliness. Just look at all the bad press they have gotten over doggy poop on the sidewalks…although great improvements have been made in the last few years (thank goodness).
Still, according to “United Minds for Tena,” “97% of women in France feel ill at ease going out without having washed their hands or brushed their teeth, compared to 84% of Germans. And 94% of them feel uncomfortable leaving the house if they have not showered, as opposed to only 74% of in Britain.”
The British invented the “water closet” as early as 1596, but it didn’t become popular until the late 1700s. The French were the first to provide separate facilities for men and women and the first public toilets appeared in Paris in 1824, but you’re going to love this little-known fact: in the 1850s, the man who had the distinct pleasure of developing the toilet design as we know it today was named Thomas “Crapper.”
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Adrian Leeds' Resto of the Week
All of you foodies must have felt a bit ignored, since even though I dine out twice a day and keep the Adrian Leeds® Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants up to date, you haven't heard much from me about my latest finds. So, to do us all a bit of good, we’ve added the "Restaurant of the Week" to our regular missives.
The Restaurant of the Week may not be a restaurant that warrants inclusion in the Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants (Adrian Leeds Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants), because it may not be cheap enough or classic enough to make the grade, but I promise you it will be worth a visit. In this case, it’s definitely worth adding.
There are several cafés in a row along rue Vieille du Temple that are all of the same owner, but each is very different in some ways and similar in others. My favorite café of them all is “L’Etoile Manquante,” and while “Les Philosophes” packs them in morning till night, it’s not nearly as good or as reasonably priced, nor as much fun as “Au Petit Fer a Cheval.”
You won’t know it as a restaurant unless you squeeze past the large horseshoe-shaped zinc bar to the back room which seats only about 20 people. If you’re there for a drink, then enjoy the bar or the tables on the terrace, but for dining, head to the rear. There’s no view from this room, but no matter, the food is well worth it, in both quality and price. The primary waiter is a robust and a smiling charmer who is an absolute pleasure and remembers you by face even if you’ve crossed his path only once or twice. Service is 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and there are no reservations, so take your chances, but pick other than peak times to get your seat.
Daily are specials on the chalk board to add to the already well-heeled menu. Main courses are well below 20€ so you’re never going to break the bank and you’ll find its bistrot fair to be as formidable as any for twice the price. Plus, in spite of its location along the busiest of Marais streets, it’s the locals who know that working your way to the back has big rewards.
AU PETIT FER A CHEVAL
Address: 30, rue Vieille du Temple, Arrondissement 4 Phone: 01.42.72.47.47 Métro: Saint-Paul, Hôtel de Ville (Lines 1, 11) Google map: Google Maps Hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Average per Person: €25 - €35
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Adrian Leeds® Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants -- You don't need to be rich to dine well in Paris, you just need to be in the know!
Online since 1996, Adrian Leeds® Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants has been completely updated for 2011. This restaurant guide has been a favorite among visitors to France for many years.
The guide includes 100 restaurants from the 20 arrondissements in Paris, so no matter where you are in the City of Light, you can discover great food and better value. You’ll find detailed descriptions of the food, service and ambiance, complete with Google maps, a glossary of French food terms and guidance on how to have the best dining experiences in Paris! If you want to dine “à la française” on your next trip to the City of Light, be sure to pack this guide.
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