Cynicism in the City of Light
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
It’s just a mood I’m in — cynical and jaded after a long, cold, wet and very gray winter. It’s the deprivation of vitamin D which leads to an early death, not to mention depression (scientifically proven) and cynicism, which manifests itself as a result of frustration, disillusionment, and distrust.
So, it’s mid February and there’s been no let-up of the winter blues. This is what you get from the lack of sun: a jaded, cynical point of view that will only last until the first signs of Spring. Or, at least, let’s hope so. But, may I ‘vent’ a little just to lighten the load?
Bursting with New Boutiques
I headed for the Mk2 at Place de la Bastille to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie when I couldn’t help but notice the number of new, hip shops? Boulevard Beaumarchais is very quickly getting a face-lift going from ‘basically boring’ to “branché.” The new shops are ‘concept’ stores — the kind with minimalist inventory and high prices that attract people who think that it’s ‘cool.’ “Merci” has already been on the scene since March of last year and now there are at least another half-dozen like it.
Don’t worry, they won’t be around long. I give it two to three years before the difficulty and expense of doing business in France gets the best of them…unless their owners have very deep pockets. I am forever amazed that these kinds of retail establishments open their doors at all, spending small fortunes to renovate, decorate, stock (not with much), employ, pay rents, pay taxes, advertise and exist for even as long as two years. The city is forever churning businesses, except those that have a heavy cash trade with which they can creatively report their earnings to the French “Fisc” (equivalent to our IRS) — such as cafés and restaurants. (Notice how the ones that have the most longevity are cash only!)
A Drag fo
r the Dragon
It was freezing cold, except for during a few intervals of sunshine that warmed the air. The annual Chinese New Year Parade Sunday afternoon was heavily promoted and therefore the anxious crowds were quite ready to watch the parade pass before them. Forty-five minutes they waited patiently along the curb on rue du Temple, so patiently that several took up reading a publication handed to them in free distribution to pass the time. Even the balloon vendor got bored and moved on.
Then a rather disorganized and sparse representation of the Chinese community in Paris began to work its way up the narrow Marais street. Several colorful cloth dragons wound their way through the crowd, animated by a line-up of costumed men pumping the dragon’s supporting poles up and down. It struck me funny — the movement seeming like such a natural motion. (Blame Valentine’s Day for such thoughts!)
The cold got the best of us and unlike any previous year I had been at the parade, it had lost its charm, likely because of the bitter cold, so we headed into the corner café and watched the remainder of the parade from a warm, cozy spot over a frothy hot chocolate. We felt privileged to have this perfect vantage point.
My daughter’s first ‘nanny’ in Paris was the daughter of a close French friend from Los Angeles who came to live with us our first year here. Before long she went home, got married and had three kids of her own. The next thing I know, she’s sending “Flat Stanley” in the mail (based on a book by Jeff Brown), a kid who gets flattened by a bulletin board that falls on him in his sleep. Stanley wants to travel, but air fare is too expensive (he’s got that right!) and so his family folds him up and mails him to one adventure after another.
Flat Stanley came to Paris to visit Auntie Adrian and partake of all that Paris has to offer. So far, Stanley has had dessert at Le Loir Dans La Theière (3, rue des Rosiers, 4th) and escorted the Chinese New Year Parade Officials up rue du Temple. It’s akin to being a tour guide to a Pet Rock. Oh, what we jaded Parisians won’t do for our special friends!
A la prochaine…
P.S. On a serious and not-so-jaded note, do visit the Elliott Erwitt “Personal Best” exhibit at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, on until April 4th, and well worth a special trip. Visit http://www.mep-fr.org for more information.
Four Days in Paris That Will Change the Way You Experience the World.
Join the AWAI Travel Division in Paris this spring and spend four days learning from and exploring the city in the company of like-minded travelers
Not only will you come away with a real passion for Paris – having
And if you sign up before midnight on Monday, April 12th 2010, you can
Thursday, Watch Adrian Leeds and French Property Consultation on House Hunters International.
***”Settling Down in Paris” – Episode HHINT-402
***”Vacation Home in Paris” – Episode HHINT-1A05***
You don’t need to be rich to dine well in Paris – you just need to know where to go.
Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants
For more information, visit Insider Paris Guides at InsiderParisGuides.com
Practice Your French…or English!
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!
JOIN US FOR OUR 12TH-YEAR ANNIVERSARY CREPE PARTY (FREE)!
Saturday, March 13th, 11 a.m.
SPECIAL OFFER THAT DAY! : Save 25€ when you sign up for any 6 month membership - 20 sessions, 6 months as a new member or renewing member!
For further details, visit Parler Parlor
HOT PROPERTY “Mon Petit Château”…On Sale Exclusive toParler Paris and French Property Insider Readers!
The owner of one of our prettiest little rentals, “Mon Petit Château,” has decided to sell her place to move on to a larger apartment. It’s 30m2 in the 3rd arrondissement on the fashionable rue Charlot, with a living room/dining/kitchen and toilet on the first level, bedroom, bathroom and toilet on the second level. It’s been completely (and elegantly) renovated, and sleeps up to four people.
The apartment is located in the same wing as “Le Provencal,” in a beautifully maintained building just steps from rue de Bretagne! Mon Petit Chateau has its own distinct “Paris” feel The apartment is a “duplex” — a garden level and first floor — and the two levels are connected by a stunning circular glass staircase that lights from the interior -– très original!
The renovation exposed the original stone walls, opened the beams in the ceiling, and added other detailing. The living room and bedrooms both face southeast, into a small garden within a secure courtyard.
What’s most important, besides the fact that the apartment is charming and makes a perfect pied-à-terre, is that you just move right in with just your suitcases and no more, and is rentable (proven!) from the moment you own it! Asking price (including all furnishings): 390,000€, plus 2.5% finder’s fee.
Buy and sell with Parler Paris classifieds: ParlerParis.com/advertise.html
Earn money. Become an Introduction Partner of French Property Consultation:
Copyright 2010, Adrian Leeds®
Adrian Leeds Group, LLC, adrianleeds.com
Cynicism in the City of Light
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