Monday, October 23, 2006
If you’ve always dreamed of moving to France, starting a new life in Paris, enjoying a “pied-à-terre” of your own part of the year or perhaps investing in property in France, this power-packed seminar is a MUST. Hosted by Adrian Leeds, Editor of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre® and French Property Insider weekly e-zine and John Howell, lead attorney for John Howell & Co., International Law Partnership, London, this one day in Paris will put you on the right footing to make it happen!
You will learn how to…
* Invest in Property in France!
For more information, visit Living and Investing in France Real Estate Seminar or email Schuyler Hoffman, [email protected]
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
When my friend asked, “How would you like to go to Baden-Baden this weekend?,” it took only a minute to realize that too many working weekends in a row can make “Jack (alias Adrian) a dull boy (girl).” Therefore, I said yes, packed my bags (minus a bathing suit) and hopped in the car to head due east to the famous and elegant ritual baths in the magnificent German hamlet on the other side of the French border from Strasbourg, Baden-Baden.
Five hours by car on the A4 Autoroute Thursday evening landed us in Strasbourg where we stayed overnight and spent most of our first day. The 327 mile trip across France is fast and painless, also quite beautiful. By Autoroute, you pass through the Ile-de-France, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine and Alsace regions…rolling hills, bright green agricultural fields, vineyards, “petits villages” and several cities worth a special stop and visit: Reims, Metz and of course, Strasbourg. Keep your credit card handy and be prepared to stop at many toll stations along the way — you’ll spend more than 30 Euros each way.
Since all we wanted was a place to sleep and shower, we tested out “Mr. Bed,” a hotel chain somewhat equivalent to Motel 6. Yes, it was cheap (30 Euros for a double room), but it’s more akin to bedding down in a preformed Styrofoam container than a hotel. (I don’t recommend it.)
Strasbourg, however, is one of France’s most beautiful and distinctive cities. As the capital and principal city of Alsace, the préfecture of the Bas-Rhin department, the seat of the Council of Europe, of the European Court of Human Rights and of the European Parliament, the city’s Germanic name means “town (at the crossing) of roads.
The names of the streets are Germanic, and the architecture and the cuisine decidedly different from other regions of France. Follow the gentle curve of the canals, step across the tracks of the noiseless, pollutionless electric trams that snake their way across the city, discover the little streets lined with half-timbered houses, and you will immerse yourself in a perfect blend of French and German culture.
Baden-Baden is only 34 kilometers from Strasbourg, a short drive across the border and the Rhine river. My daughter remarked, “What kind of a stupid name for a city is that?” And “Baden” as it might be, it’s a particularly storybook enclave set at the edge of the Black Forest.
After dropping our bags at the Hotel Am Markt, a family-run intimate “hôtel de charme” in the center of town, we walked a few steps to indulge in three-and-one-half hours of decadence at the 125 year-old Friedrichsbad Roman-Irish baths. A bargain, with a soap and brush massage, the price of entry
is 29 Euros, and at the hotel, advance tickets were two euros less.
Mark Twain once wrote about the baths in Chapter XXI of “A Tramp Abroad” had this to say: “The appointments of the place are so luxurious, the benefit so marked, the price so moderate, and the insults so sure, that you very soon find yourself adoring the Friedrichsbad and infesting it.”
Little has changed since Twain wrote that passage in 1880. It can be a surrealistic experience, to be so completely comfortable in your own skin (and only that) in such a lavish, yet in many ways, stark environment. Men and women separate at the top of the tall staircase to their respective sides where stripped naked, placing all belongings in the lockers and then taken by hand to the showers. Here is where I could remain the rest of my life, under the warm cascade of water, but the sign suggests only a few minutes, before moving on to the next stop — the warm and hot-air baths (54 and 68 degrees Centigrade, respectively). With a cotton sheet to protect you from the wood slats of the lounge and arm chairs in a vast and dark space, it is the first point at which you shed your tensions and inhibitions, melting them off with the warmth and aromatic air.
In a massage room run by muscular women wearing white shorts and tank tops, one surrenders to the strong hands of the masseuses and the scratchiness of the exfoliating brushes. Lathered, rinsed and slapped on the rear denotes the signal for entering the next phase — a Eucalyptus scented steam room with a pyramidal tile stage where the higher you climb, the hotter it gets. Hot drops of water that form and fall from the lit glass domed ceiling burn your skin slightly at which point the pain/pleasure sends you scurrying to the big central pools of varying temperatures (only after another luxurious warm rainhead shower) where the bathing is mixed men and women. Here your own nudity is mirrored by the faux marble statuary and the other indulgent souls under the tall domed ceilings.
If you follow the schedule and move from pool to pool, cooling and heating your body with each immersion, it is said you will drop a kilo of weight. Before leaving and checking the scale, you are to totally cream your body head to toe then lie cocooned in warm towels and blankets in a softly-lit circular room where one can think prenatal thoughts and shed every ounce of tension.
At the end of the session, a bit waterlogged, but stress-free, we were ready for an evening at the Baden-Baden casino and cocktail lounge. At the gaming tables, we watched the international clientele place their bets, rather than gamble ourselves. In the adjacent lounge, we drank till we got drunk, danced till we dripped with sweat and laughed without reservation.
Baden-Baden isn’t only for bathing and betting. A Mecca of cobblestoned pedestrian streets, chic boutiques, excellent dining establishments and art galleries, it attracts a cultured European following. At the contemporary Museum Sammlung Frieder Burda, designed by American architect Richard Meier, we visited the Marc Chagall exhibit titled “A New Light” and at a slow pace shopped finding big bargains, by French standards.
I did not leave Baden-Baden without making one important purchase — a round stiff-bristled body brush just like the one that exfoliated our skin to pure goodness, if not Baden-ness.
Hotel Am Markt
Friedrichsbad Roman-Irish Baths
Museum Frieder Burda
A la prochaine…
P.S. This week’s French Property Insider will explore the latest Paris property prices in depth as well as Strasbourg and the surrounding area. If you subscribe now before October 31st, you can take advantage of the free report “17 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Moved to Paris.” Scroll down for more information or click here now: /frenchproperty/insider/subscribetofpi.html
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Excerpt from the Writers Insider Guide to Paris
Allen Ginsberg came to Paris in 1957, 31 years old and already infamously known as the author of Howl. A month before his arrival, the news-making obscenity trial concerning this perverted, sex- and drug-crazed writer out to deride American values, had just ended in favor of the poet “debutant” and “subversif.” After the trial, Ginsberg came to France because he had long been inspired by French literature, had read the avant-garde lit magazines VVV and View, and had been exposed to Artaud, Céline, Apollinaire, and Gide. “I’d walk the Left Bank streets,” he remembered, “thinking that Apollinaire or Rimbaud or Baudelaire had walked down the same streets.” He didn’t, however, let the past drag him from the present – didn’t let it become a “burden” – and got a full bohemian Beat-education from his Paris. For more about the Paris “Beat” scene, see the guide….
Novelists, journalists, poets, dreamers and doers…discover the writing life in Paris. It is possible, click here to find out how…
Now is an excellent time to brush up on your French. With a subscription to Champs-Elysées monthly audio magazines you’ll never run out of interesting and authentic cultural audio material and you’ll soon find that your language skills have moved from good to near perfect! Available worldwide, visit: http://ads.champs-elysees.com
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.
Parler Paris Apartments offers high quality accommodations to make your stay in the City of Light as enjoyable and memorable as possible. We at Parler Paris know each and every apartment owner or manager personally, and stand behind the quality of those we represent. We understand your needs and desires, all the small details that make a rental apartment a warm and welcoming home – and a much better alternative to an impersonal hotel!
Parler Paris Apartments is administered and serviced by the same great team as Parler Paris, French Property Insider and French Property Consultation. You can trust that Parler Paris Apartments and all those with whom it is associated will do their best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction.
* “Le Provençal” Studio: Now Available!
Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence. ace="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
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The next gathering is November 14, 2006
So mark your calendars to be sure not to miss it! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.
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!
NEW TUESDAY LOCATION IN LE MARAIS!
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