Paris Positioning and Timing are Everything

Positioning Yourself at the Foot of La Grande Dame
May 2, 2006

Paris Positioning and Timing are Everything

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Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Timing is everything.

Monday May Day (Labor Day in France) I instigated a picnic at the Place des Vosges for a few friends. When the temperature had dropped and the gray, rainy skies wouldn’t let up, question marks formed on our brows, but we weren’t daunted. The basket got packed anyway with assorted goodies, bottles of wine, a big sheet to lay on the ground and I grabbed the biggest umbrella I could find.

Surprisingly, a die-hard group of toughies turned up baring home-made guacamole, spicy Thai noodles, leek quiche, salad, fresh strawberries and lots of different things to drink. A polite woman gendarme shooed us off the northwest quadrant of the place where they are trying to grow fresh grass, but we found respite under the thick newly leafed trees where the rain could be felt only where there were “holes.”

The insanity and hilarity of it all while we became damper and colder by the moment made for a good laugh and a good story. One person later wrote in a thank you note typical of Southern gentleman (an excerpt):

What did I learn?
You can have picnics in the rain.
You can have picnics standing, sitting on benches and laying on wet ground.
Straight men make good guacamole.
“Lagniappe” is a baker’s dozen.
How to work a wine cork in reverse.
So, see. It was not only fun, but it was an education.

Position is everything.

The next day, I had a very kind of different picnic. Blue skies and warm air resulted from Monday’s misery. Francophile friends with a rental apartment on the edge of the Champ de Mars overlooking the Eiffel Tower couldn’t wait to show off their fabulous view. From the living room windows, you could almost touch the ironwork, with only the narrow strip of gardens blocking your reach. By amazing fortune, they discovered another elegant apartment in the same building with the same great prospective available for sale.

I’ve always said, I’d rather be lucky than smart. When luck affords you the opportunity, you simply have to be smart enough to recognize it and seize it. So you can guess their immediate reaction: “Yes! Where do I sign?”

The glorious day had throngs of visitors to the Eiffel Tower. As we crossed under the Grand Dame’s arches, we had to snake through the lines of tourists waiting for the elevators heading to the top to see Paris from the perfect position. On route to an outdoor lunch under the sun at Café de l’Alma, we passed behind the new Musée du Quai Branly currently under construction.

Scheduled for completion later this year, the Musée du Quai Branly will be dedicated to arts and civilizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas housing and displaying 240,000 objects from the Ethnological Laboratory of Musée de l’Homme and 25,000 objects from Musée National des Arts d’Afrique. President Jacques Chirac established the commission to establish the museum and architect Jean Nouvel designed the building to be set among trees in an extensive garden designed by Gilles Clément to include 15,000 plants of 150 different species, on a vertical surface of 800 m². For more information (in English, French and Spanish) visit the Museum’s official Web site:

The sultry air and blue skies held tight all day and throughout the evening when everyone, absolutely everyone, was drinking and dining at outdoor cafés and restaurants. From a café overlooking Place Colette, with La Comédie Française and the bejeweled Métro entrance as backdrops, we dipped into ice cream and sipped one last cup of co

ffee. We could not help but admire the beauty of the city before us, the soft glow of the street lamps warming the stones, and I was reminded of what bad timing to have planned a picnic the day before, but how well positioned we were to enjoy it all.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. Get Practical Answers from Jean Taquet’s Q’s and A’s. Visit /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html for May’s column.




French Property Insider

Price Growth in the Paris Region, Ile-de-France
By Adrian Leeds

There are three parts made up of the Ile de France: Paris, the Petite Couronne (the suburbs directly adjacent to Paris) and the Grand Couronne (outside the suburbs, the departments which make up the rest of the region).

Fourth quarter showed gains of 1.2% in the Petite Couronne are in comparison to 5.8% the previous quarter and for all of 2005, 15.9% compared to 16.1% in 2004. As you can see, most of the slow down has occurred in the last quarter of the year — the trend we are seeing take shape both in Paris and its surrounding suburbs on the Ile de France…FPI Subscribers Read On…

Learn how to buy property in France. French Property Insider is an e-mail newsletter from the editors of Parler Paris. Learn all the insights, recommendations, and discoveries about buying and investing in real estate in Paris and France that French Property Insider readers get every week.

To learn more, visit /frenchproperty/insider or go directly to subscribe at /frenchproperty/insider/subscribetofpi.html

Subscribe today!

Insider Paris Guides

* Excerpt from the Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France

I work as a waitress in a neighborhood restaurant. The owner says he is under no obligation to share the 15% obligatory service charge with the staff, and he never does. I was told that charging 15% for “service compris” was a way for restaurants to avoid having to pay extra TVA under the “conventions collectives.” But customers assume the servers are being tipped 15% (many Paris guidebooks even tell tourists this) and they refuse to leave tips out of ignorance or misunderstanding. Bottom line, the waiter is forced to rely on the few who are generous no matter what. What is the law on tipping, and why are so many people so ill-informed about it? Are employers like mine flagrantly violating French law…?

Some 20 or 30 years ago, waiters and waitresses in France were paid nothing but tips. Then France passed laws setting a minimum wage and mandating monthly payment of wages. To help restaurants, cafés and bars deal with the sudden financial burden, they were allowed to increase prices by 15% to pay the new wage cost. That is why this money goes to the employer. Since then, the minimum wage has increased a great deal, as inflation was quite high for a while. The system still takes the 15% and uses it to pay waiters and waitresses. Whether the system is fair is irrelevant; waiters and waitresses must be paid the minimum wage, and you should receive that much every month…
For more information, see the guide….

NEW Spring 2006 Edition now available! The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France is packed with almost 300 questions from real people, for real people…and the practical answers that will save you countless hours of frustration. If you’re moving to France, this guide is a must! Get your copy now!

To read Jean Taquet’s latest column, visit /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html

Further Resources

* French Property Insider Consultation…your complete solution to finding, buying, renovating or renting your new dream home or apartment in France. /frenchproperty/consultation

* At the Taos Writing Salon, you will discover wells of imagination you never knew you had. or email [email protected]

* Don’t just dream of an island escape…make it a reality this year. For a dose of first-class pampering, tours of excellent-value properties on offer, and a meeting with our best contacts on the ground, join Agora Travel on an intimate, luxury trip June 18-25, 2006. For details: call Agora Travel 800-926-6575 or 561-243-2572 or visit:

Calendar #107

sday, May 3, 2006
Paris, France


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Copyright 2006, Adrian Leeds®
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Copyright 2006, Adrian Leeds®
Adrian Leeds Group, LLC, /

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