Smiling Geraniums Overlooking La Rue

Geraniums on the Quai de la Megisserie

Smiling Geraniums Overlooking La Rue

Parler Paris…
Your taste of life in Paris and France

Monday, March 27, 2006
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Overnight, the clocks moved forward one hour, the weather turned balmy and Spring has definitely SPRUNG. Thank goodness. If I would have woken up to one more day of cold, rainy weather, I might have thrown in the “serviette” and headed back to Los Angeles.

Instead, I dragged the rolling cart (“chariot” or “Caddie®”) out of its hiding place and headed to the quai de la Megisserie along the Seine between Place du Châtelet and Pont Neuf to do the annual and ritualistic purchasing of new geraniums to pot in the window planters.

When I lived in Los Angeles and had a garden behind the house, I took great pleasure in spending Sunday mornings tending it, planting and reaping the rewards of fresh herbs, trimming and pruning the lush greenery that perfect Southern California weather affords you all year ’round. Life in a Paris apartment is quite the opposite, especially if there isn’t a balcony where you can more fully satisfy your agricultural yearnings.

At least I have four windows from which planters hang where I can nurture my favorite urban flower — the geranium. Being a purist, I refuse to pot any color but red — the redder and bigger the better. So, when I set out on the quai, the goal was to walk the length of it seeking out the best the sellers have to offer, and of course, at the best price.

It didn’t take long to make one trip up and back before settling on two cartons of ten potted plants for 20 euros each at one of the bigger shops, loaded a huge bag of soil into the cart and headed home for the big project I was about to undertake.

I’ve tested different methods of planting and have learned the hard way NOT to do the planting IN the apartment, but to make use of the beautiful courtyard with its ancient faucet and trough as a more reasonable spot to unearth and re-earth the flowers. The down side is that means carrying all the half-dead and pathetic planters, not only DOWN the 70 steps, but back UP the steps, too, and once they’ve been watered, they’re heavy, not to mention messy.

I imagine all the neighbors are watching me closely from their windows as I unearth the old, scale back the root ball with my fingers (in rubber gloves, of course), trim the old leaves and then alter the old with the new in the planters, filling them with fresh earth, watering them well and setting each aside to drain and dry. That’s the routine.

It took about one hour to have the planters ready to hoist up the stairwell two at a time, but the mess I had made in the courtyard would surely have gotten me reported to the “Syndic” (manager of the homeowner’s association) if I didn’t clean it up to perfection! Brooms, buckets and elbow grease got the mountain of old soil and debris into the trash, its final remains washed down the drain to leave this 17th-century courtyard just the way I had found it — lovely and calm.

The planters found their way back to their rightful homes outside the windows, I dropped a kilo or two thanks to the exercise and once again, red geraniums are smiling at me, seemingly quite happy and content overlooking rue de Saintonge.

For those of you who get as much of a thrill as I do over something as simple, yet natural as colorful flowers, don’t miss the Forum en Fleurs going on now through April 5th at the Forum des Halles. Click here for more information (in French). For serious gardeners, the city of Paris encourages everyone to plant their windows and balconies to beautify the city and has held a contest for the last three years to discover the most original floral creations, those most harmonious in color, and the compositions with the greatest volume! You have now till July 15th to submit your entry. Click here for more information (in French). And for more information about parks and gardens in Paris, click here.

A la prochaine…







Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. STRIKE! Tomorrow beginning at 12 noon, demonstrations will begin at place d’Italie protesting against the CPE employment contract, marching to place de la Bastille, and then along the boulevards to place de la République. A major transportation strike follows suit. Most of the TGV and regional trains will be affected along with the Métro, RER and bus lines. Put on your walking shoes, your skates or take a ride on your wheels, but don’t plan on using public transport.

French Property Insider

Taking the Apartment Tour
By Adrian Leeds

Yolanda Robins, FPI Property Manager, and Ellen Jung-j2999se, FPI Property Search Consultant, took the attendees of the Living and Investing in France Conference on an apartment tour the afternoon following the conference. It was the first tour of its kind since the inception of the conferences — five apartments in the Marais and Montorgueil districts, all owned by FPI clients (four of which were past conference attendees), all discovered by FPI consultants and currently either under renovation or with a history of rental…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. If you’d like to learn about the insights, recommendations, and discoveries about buying and investing in real estate in Paris and France that French Property Insiderreaders get every week, now’s a special opportunity.


Right now, get the FREE 10-page report “17 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Moved to Paris”… By Adrian Leeds when you subscribe for two years to French Property Insider! Plus,save 20% off the regular subscription price! To learn more, visit /frenchproperty/insider or go directly to subscribe at /frenchproperty/insider/subscribetofpi.html

Last 5 days…offer ends March 31, 2006!

Insider Paris Guides

* Excerpt from the Writers Insider Guide to Paris…

One of the best ways to juggle money-earning work and writing activities in Paris is to go through France’s student teaching program. Every year, the French Ministry of Education offers 1,500 teaching assistantship positions in French primary and secondary schools to American citizens under the age of 30 who are studying the language or who have received a major or a minor degree in French. There are also positions (though fewer in number) for native speakers from the following countries: Germany, Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Britain, Trinity, Tobago, Argentina, Bolivia, Chili, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, China, Italy, Japan, Portugal, and Russia. You do not need to have any prior teaching experience to obtain an assistantship position… For more information about the student teaching assistant program including how to apply, see the guide.

Novelists, journalists, poets, dreamers and doers…discover the writing life in Paris. It is possible, click here to find out how….

Further Resources

* Moving to Paris? Our experienced relocation expert will help make your move easy and hassle-free. We offer complete property consultation and search services…visit

* Experience Food and Cooking the French Way! On Rue Tatin Cooking School is run by Susan Herrmann Loomis, an internationally-recognized food expert and the author of six cookbooks. Class sizes are small, giving you plenty of hands-on learning, and the recipes are geared to daily home cooking. Choose from her week-long cooking courses, or special themed classes including:

* April 10 – 14, 2006, Susan in Paris at Patricia Wells’ Left Bank Cooking Studio
* April 30 – May 5, 2006 Standard Week-Long Course
* May 14 – 19, 2006, Mother/Daughter Week

For more information visit or e-mail mailto:[email protected] … and let Susan know you’re a Parler Paris Reader!

* Practice your French or English in a fun and friendly environment with interesting people from all over the world at Parler Parlor…visit

Classified Advertising

APARTMENT RENTAL Coming soon…Parler Paris Apartments rental representation at If you have a property ín Paris you’d like to keep booked and represented properly, please email Parler Paris Apartments at [email protected] for more information.

For all short term rental apartments in Paris, take a look at /parlerparis/apartments or
/frenchproperty/insider/longterm.html for long term apartments.

APARTMENT RENTAL Near Place des Vosges
One bedroom, one bathroom (tub/shower), separate kitchen, on the second floor of a 17th century building (no elevator). Features exposed beams, hi-speed Internet, cable television, stereo, CD.
Sleeps: Four
Rate: 1,000 euros per week, discount for longer stays
Metro: Saint Paul, Line 1



Parler Paris Après Midi

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

The next gathering is April 11, 2006

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.


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

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