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Let Us Have Our Brioche and Eat It, Too

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

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Starting Over in Paris -- Episode HHINT-2807H

January, 7, 2012 at 10:30 p.m. EST/PST
January 7, 2012 at 1:30 a.m. EST/PST

While spending the summer in Paris as a law student, Mimi Chiang told her daughter she'd one day like to own a piece of this romantic city. But once she arrives with her two kids, real estate professional Adrian Leeds has a message that could threaten 10 years of dreaming. Homes in her $1 million budget are scarce. And most likely, they will need some work, especially if she wants the classic French style. Will she settle for small or spend thousands over her budget to create the vision she's clung to for years? Find out when House Hunters International walks the romantic streets of Paris, France.

Dear Parler Paris Reader,

4-1-12miamitoparisAir France flight Path between Paris & Miami

4-1-12traveloysterblogThe Travel Oyster Blog

4-1-12Romney-Santorum-Split-Iowa-Romney and Santorum

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4-1-12Marie-Antoinette-movie-05Marie Antoinette - the movie


Let's face it. American Airlines just 'ain't' Air France. First, they refused to let my carry-on be carried on because it was a bit tight getting it into the metal frame designed to test for carry-ons. Then, the electrical system on the plane was out, so my iPhone flashlight app is how I managed to read a book and eat the pathetic dinner. The movie played on the screens overhead, but there was no sound -- a shame it wasn't L'Artiste, this year's silent film sensation. Then, a big oafish flight attendant almost knocked my head off as he came down the aisle (not as cute and handsome as the Air France 'boys') and the bathrooms smelled.

Stick with Air France. They know how to treat a passenger.

The new year in Paris has already started off with a bang as old friends come to town. Each year Travel Oyster blog writer, Geraldine Kaylor, and her University of Michigan Professor of Mathematics husband, Jeffrey Rauch, descend on Paris for two months...and have virtually every year since knowing them (1998). They often travel on New Year's Eve to arrive on January 1st -- as they did this year. Geraldine immediately wrote about their arrival on the first day of 2012 in her blog with some of her great stories -- things just seem to naturally happen to her that don't happen to other people -- or maybe they do, but they don't tell their stories as well as Geraldine. Be sure to read it.

This morning's news was not at all about France, but about the U.S. Mitt Romney's and Rick Santorum's Iowa Republican caucus campaign...Romney beating Santorum by a mere eight votes! One of them is destined to be in the final ring with Barack Obama in the upcoming elections.

There is a good profile on each candidate at MSNBC Elections -- and I can tell you from the point of view of a liberal democrat living in France (where we have universal health care, quality education and less of a gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'), these guys are about as far from the way the French think about life as one can get. Quite frankly, they scare the pants off me.

Meanwhile, French Socialist rival François Hollande attacked President Nicolas Sarkozy in the news, accusing him of "economic and moral blunders" during his five-year term in office and calling him the “president of the privileged.”

This all makes me chuckle (if not cry). While the U.S. rallies around the "candidates of the privileged," aspiring to be like them, the French may just well put Hollande in office in a reaction to Sarkozy's "bling-bling" presidency with "nouveau riche penchants -- aviator sunglasses, expensive gaudy watches, adulation of rich friends, and his very public courtship of supermodel turned pop singer Carla Bruni."

Americans in France often find themselves in the middle -- our left being the French right. Sure, I can't speak for all Americans in France, but in talking politics with friends, it's clear we all share similar left-wing sentiments and would like to see a little more blending of both sides to make for a better balance. We Americans in France can enjoy the benefits of this socialist democracy -- we love the great health care at bargain prices, our kids attend quality schools at no cost except their supplies, the roads are beautifully kept and well marked, public transportation is amazingly efficient and inexpensive, etc., etc., etc.

People in France aren't earning oodles of money, but they don't need it, nor do they seem to long as they earn 'enough' for a high standard of living and quality lifestyle...which they do. Our American upbringing doesn't agree with the word "enough" -- since we were taught never to be satisfied with what we have, but only with what we can ultimately achieve...and so contrary to the socialist point of view, we wish there was even more of Sarkozian entrepreneurship ideals, since doing business in France is a bureaucratic and non-profitable nightmare!

So, you see, we find ourselves in the middle -- wanting to "have our cake and eat it too." (No, it wasn't Marie Antoinette who coined that phrase. She said "Let them eat cake" ["Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"] when she learned the peasants had no bread.)

Yep, we want the best of both worlds -- it's one reason we're here, and why shouldn't we have it?

A la prochaine...

adrian2 NY2011Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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4-1-12wvillage-3P.S. When I was in New York over Christmas, I stayed in my daughter's "Cool & Comfy Studio in the West Village" (with a perfect view of the Empire State Building)...and now you can, too! It's available for vacation rental February 14 to 20 -- a sweetheart getaway perhaps? -- for as little as $170/night or $900 for six nights. Visit Cool & Comfy Studio in the West Village to learn more or email

julie vetterParler Paris Après-Midi

At every Après-Midi, a guest speaker of note will come to talk about a topic of interest and then open the floor for questions and discussion.

January 10 - Julie Vetter, Online Marketing and e-Reputation Services presents "Inbound Marketing and the Laws of Attraction"

Traditional marketing tries to capture an audience through one-way advertising messages wherever potential customers might be, but the audience is getting better at filtering out this noise. The Internet has evolved to a two-way medium and Inbound Marketing shifts your business to attracting the audience to your products and services. We'll discuss how using new methods and tools can supercharge your online impact and give you a better return on your marketing efforts. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
and the second Tuesday of every month 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais, on the corner of rue des Archives and rue de Bretagne, 3rd.
Métro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, République or Arts et Métiers

Costs nothing except whatever you drink!

For more information, visit Parler Paris Après-Midi

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Come to Paris this winter for the best shopping of the year at the sales from January 11 to February 14 or celebrate a romantic Valentine's Day in the City of Light and your best bargain will be on a luxurious Parler Paris Apartment! You'll receive the lowest prices of the year when you book your stay in January or February.

PPA-La-MusiqueFeaturing La Musique

True to its name, La Musique will make you want to dance when you see it! It is a grand two-bedroom apartment that has been professionally renovated by Interior Architect Martine di Mattéo to a high standard of luxury and will please even those with pitch perfect taste. La Musique is conveniently located in Le Marais close to lots of great cafés and restaurants, markets and just a short walk to a lovely rose garden “Saint Gilles Grand Veneur” and the 400 year-old Place des Vosges.

Book now! Visit Parler Paris Apartments to view our full selection or email

ad-PParlorLOGOPractice Your French...or English!

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!

PPkingcakeparty2012KING CAKE PARTY (La Galette des Rois)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

11 a.m. at Lutèce Langue (23 bd. de Sebastopol)


Come for conversational exchange and celebrate the New Year over Galette des Rois with Vin Chaud. Make new friends, practice speaking French and English and get to know the members.



For further details, visit Parler Parlor.

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Adrian Leeds Group, LLC,