A New Decade of Parisian Decadence

Chez Leeds as of Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Parler Parlor 10th Anniversary Party, Saturday, March 15, 2008

A New Decade of Parisian Decadence

Parler Paris…

Your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, March 17, 2008
Paris, France

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Judith MeriansScreenwriters: “Plot the Perfect Crime and Find Fame and Fortune” with Judith Merians
April 12, 2008, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
La Pierre du Marais

Throughout film history crime films have provided some of the most successful movies ever made from Rififi to present day American Gangster. Learn how to write and sell a script that encompasses the conventions of three of the most popular sub-genres of crime stories: the detective tale, the crime saga, and the heist.

Led by Judith Merians, who has been an entertainment lawyer and studio executive, literary agent, and film school professor in Los Angeles for over 25 years.

Join us for this 3-hour workshop session sponsored by Adrian Leeds and Parler Paris Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais in Le Marais. Only 30€ per person!

Places are limited. For more information and to register email [email protected]

The Salon BEFORE (left)The Salon BEFORE (right)

The Salon BEFORE (right)
The Bookshelves AFTER

The Foyer BEFORE
The Foyer AFTER

The Bathroom BEFORE

The Bathroom AFTER

Dear Parler Paris Reader,

A Decade of Decadence Part I

For a little more than ten years of living in the Marais apartment, the living room has been on the ‘to-be-renovated’ list…with dread. This is the room where most of life takes place — where we dine, commune and most importantly, work. So it was no easy task to organize a proper time knowing the entire apartment would be uninhabitable throughout the renovation period — about four to six weeks.

The planets aligned themselves and dropped winter 2008 into my renovation lap, providing a place to stay (Le Provençal), someone to project manage the renovation (Interior Architect Martine di Matteo), a reason to be absent (the Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference in Miami and a New York co-op board application submission) and cool weather (no need for air conditioning).

The work had been conceived, pondered over and dreaded for years — literally. Countless sleepless nights were spent making lists of all the things to do to prepare for it, organize and re-organize the logistics of living and working out of a small studio apartment, traveling with too much luggage to stay in a hotel, then a condo, then my daughter’s box-inside-of-a-box loft Chelsea apartment.

All the while, Martine was in charge and ‘sweating bullets’ over having the work completed prior to my return at the end of February. No such luck. The renovation ‘chez Leeds’ was two weeks late in completion — about 50% more time than expected, which is not bad considering it usually takes ‘twice the time.’ ‘Twice the price’ is the other half of the expectation, but in this instance, the overspending equated to about the same percentage as the time it took to complete the renovation — 50%. When you consider the cost of the work on a per-square-meter-basis, it sits better psychologically to know that it cost 50% LESS than the average renovation.

If renovation is ‘in your cards,’ as it would inevitably be should you ever purchase an apartment in Paris, expect to make decisions that cost you more money for which you planned, but make you happier in the end…and hopefully, improve the property. There were several splurges to own up to, but one important one was a new “chaudière” (hot water heater) to increase the power and pressure and the addition of a new “ballon” (hot water tank), so there would be lots of hot water flowing to that “fabulous(!)” bathtub of mine. (You remember the story, right?)

Last week, the carpenter, painter and electrician all came to finish a few details and help hang the art. On Friday, they said “au revoir” thinking all had been done. Of course, as they say, “the devil is in the details,” and all the details are not yet finalized. With each step, I discover some “autre petite chose” not to my standard. I’m starting to worry that it may never be(!), but I know better. “OCD” (obsessive-compulsive disorder) will take care of that problem as sleep does not come easily until every book is on the shelf, every file is in the drawer and every piece of art is hung in place.

From that moment on Friday until this moment as I write, with the exception of stopping to celebrate Parler Parlor’s 10th Anniversary (more about that below), I’ve been unpacking, cleaning, organizing, placing, hanging, rearranging. You know — all the things it takes to make your abode really livable. By 7 p.m. Sunday evening it was 99.9% done. and presentable enough to take these photos. By the time a friend arrives tomorrow from the States to visit for a couple of weeks, hopefully the pain will have completely resided. It’s almost like having gotten pregnant, lived through the justation and given birth…to an apartment in Paris.

Special Note: To learn more about finding a “pied-à-terre” of your own, visit /frenchproperty/consultation or contact French Property Consultation at [email protected]. If you’re more an armchair investor and would like to read and learn more about Paris property, subscribe to our weekly ezine, French Property Insider.

Decadence Part II

It’s really hard to believe that exactly ten years ago today, Elisabeth Crochard and I welcomed our first 60 or so Anglophones and Francophones to the first evening of Parler Parlor. At the time, she was the Director of the Berlitz Language School on the Champs Elysées and upon hearing of my idea to start a French-English conversation group, quickly offered her facility as an “après vente” (after the sale) service.

It was successful from that very first evening. I can remember it so distinctly, as if it were just yesterday. Seventeen people took one-year memberships, just after having experienced one one-and-one-half-hour session. It grew quite naturally and in the last ten years, the conversation group has hosted thousands of people, of every age, of every profession, of more than 50 different nationalities.

Over the years, we’ve moved to various locations for a variety of reasons, outlasting language schools and their directors who have gone by the wayside. The premise remains the same: groups of six are formed balancing Anglophone-Francophone as well as possible. Then the groups speak for 45 minutes in one language, then 45 minutes in the other language. There is no instructor in the room to intimidate and they can start with whatever language they want with whatever topic they want. Participants correct each other. The conversation is natural — about real things, just as if you were at a party or a meeting — as real a situation might be.

Everyone is there for the same reason, so the idea is to feel comfortable with your level, whatever level that is. I have found that yes, of course my level of French has greatly improved, but that the mistakes I make, or lack of vocabulary, do not hinder my ability to communicate — thanks to the confidence it has given me to feel good ‘in my own skin’ and in a language that is truly so foreign to me.

Saturday, after the conversation group, about half of us gathered together to celebrate ten years of communication and friendship over lunch at Au P’tit Boulevard, 23, boulevard de Sebastopol, just downstairs from Lutèce Langues, where the group is held every Saturday. We realized then how many friends we had made over the years — how many people are loyal and regular members and others who come in and out of our lives.

Elisabeth and I have never waivered in our friendship and agreed many years ago that as long as running the group didn’t cost us money, we’d continue it for the sheer pleasure of it. And that’s what it is…sheer pleasure. How decadent!

Special Note: Parler Parlo

r is free the first time you come. Just come a few minutes ahead — no need to make a reservation. For more information about Parler Parlor, visit http://www.parlerparlor.com

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Keep your eyes out for new rental apartments to be announced on the Parler Paris Apartments roster — all of which are apartments purchased by our property search clients and renovated to perfection at the capable hands of Martine de Matteo to make perfect vacation accommodations. Coming soon: “La Bonne Nobel” in Montmartre and “Le Déco” in the “Lucky Eleven.” Bookmark this page for your next stay in Paris: /parlerparis/apartments/

Save money when transferring from dollars to euros!

HiFX takes the pain and guesswork out of currency conversion. They offer a range of services and can provide the ideal solution to fit your specific situation when transferring money for your French property mortgage and more. Save more of your own hard-earned money with HiFX!

For more information, click here: /frenchproperty/loan

This Week in French Property Insider…

Saintonge CourtyardReporting on the Annual “Copropriété” Meeting
By Adrian Leeds

Every year I half-heartedly look forward to the annual “Copropriété” (homeowner’s association) meeting which takes place sometime during the first quarter of the year. The meetings are both pain and pleasure…Subscribers Read On…

Learn how to buy property in France!

French Property Insider is a weekly e-zine, sharing insights, recommendations, tips, and discoveries about Paris real estate and French property. Each information-packed issue is devoted to educating its readers on how to effectively, efficiently and profitably purchase property in France.

For more information visit /frenchproperty/insider or email [email protected]

“The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop” with Lori Allen and the AWAI
July 24-26, 2008
San Francisco, CA

This summer, spend three fun days with the folks from the American Writers and Artists, Inc. in San Francisco and discover the secrets to traveling the world, potentially for free by getting paid as a travel writer.

It’s true. Lots of writers do it. This is your chance to rub shoulders with some of the best writers and editors in the business and discover first-hand how to turn your traveling into royalties or paychecks, and see the world in a different way than as an ordinary tourist.

Register by June 24, 2008, and save $300!

To register for the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop call Terry Frank at (202) 370-6459 EST or toll-free at (866) 415-1425 or email her at: [email protected]

We wanted better guides. So we wrote them.

Insider Paris Guides are written for people who love the City of Light. You’ll get a Paris insider perspective on Good Value Restaurants… Making a Life… Black Culture… Expat Writers…plus the newest guide, Practical Paris!

Visit http://www.insiderparisguides.com

Email: [email protected]

Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a priva

te apartment in Paris that has the “seal of approval” from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds.


Les Portes de Notre Dame
Rue des Trois Portes, 5th Arrondissement
Latin Quarter — Two Steps from Notre Dame
One-Bedroom Duplex, Sleeps up to 4

Les Portes de Notre Dame is a charming and spacious one-bedroom duplex apartment centrally located just one block from the Seine and only a few steps from the cathedral of Notre Dame…

Reserve now! Visit /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/portesdenotredame.html
or email: [email protected] 

Parler Paris Après Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris…

The next gathering is April 8, 2008 and every second Tuesday of the month.

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!

Parler Parlor meets Tuesdays 6:30 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

23, boulevard de Sébastopol (at the corner of rue de la Reynie), 1st arrondissement
3rd Floor on the Left (read notice on door to obtain entry code)
Métro Châtelet, Les Halles

Wednesdays 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
14 rue Mabillon, 6th arrondissement
(at rue Guisarde and Le Marché Saint-Germain) 1st Floor
Métro Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Mabillon, Odéon

For further details, visit http://www.parlerparlor.com

Subscribe to the PARISMARAIS monthly newsletter FREE…

The Art of Living Guide to Le Marais.




France Today The Magazine of French Travel and Culture, delivers all the information you need to indulge your passion for France: travel advice you won’t find anywhere else, off-the-beaten-path trips, the inside track on trends in dining, hotels, shopping and style, and the culture scene.

To subscribe, visit http://www.francetoday.com or call 1-800-901-6560

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