The Gift of the Memory of a Nation

The View from the Dining Room Table

The Gift of the Memory of a Nation

Parler Paris…

Your taste of life in Paris and France
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Paris, France

Community Calendar Updated Every Wednesday

Don’t Miss Parler Paris! AOL blocks many major European ISPs, so we cannot guarantee that our mail to AOL addresses will arrive. Please use another email provider or “White List” our email address or add “[email protected]” to your contact list.

Join us for the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group 10-Year Anniversary Lunch Party!

Saturday, March 15 at 12:45 p.m.

Parler Parlor turns 10! Come practice French or English in a fun and friendly atmosphere, then join us for a delicious lunch to celebrate our 10 years in Paris!

Lunch will be held at Au P’tit Boulevard, 23, bd de Sebastopol

Only 25€!
Includes Choice of 3 Entrées, Choice of 3 Plats, Special Anniversary Cake, 25 cl of Wine and Coffee or Tea

Please Make Your Reservations and Payment in Advance

Email [email protected],
Elisabeth at or Adrian at

Dear Parler Paris Reader,

From the dining room table on which I have the laptop and all the necessary working tools (coffee, phone, files), there is a view of the ocean, South Beach, Ocean Drive, a swimming pool, palm trees and luxury high-rise condos. We’re staying in one of them with all the creature comforts I’d almost forgotten existed à la Americain.

Miami is a beautiful American city, with a stunning assortment of skyscrapers (mostly downtown), low-level Art Deco designed hotels painted in bright pastels, adorned by lush greenery. I love the tones of blues and greens on a foundation of sand beiges and whites. It’s exactly what I have in mind to decorate the next rental apartment à la Saint-Tropez.

On the plane over, from cover to cover I read a book titled “Sarah’s Key” that my friend and poet, Cecilia Woloch, had sent me simply because the story is centered on what took place in an apartment on my street, rue de Saintonge, in the summer of 1942. If I had known that about it prior to receiving it as a gift, I would certainly have attended the reading and booksigning by author Tatiana de Rosnay at the Village Voice Bookshop on February 7th (6 rue Princesse, 6th). It is distressing to have missed the opportunity to have heard her thoughts about her important subject matter.

The story starts at 4 a.m. on July 16, 1942, when almost 13,000 Jews, of which more than 4,000 were children, were rounded up by the French police by order of the German Gestapo, and (most of which) were taken to the Vélodrome d’Hiver in the 15th arrondissement before being taken to the internment camp at Drancy. The Vélodrome d’Hiver (known as the “Vél d’Hiv”) prior to this had been an indoor cycle track at the corner of the boulevard de Grenelle and the rue Nélaton, close to the Eiffel Tower. From there, almost two-thirds were deported to Auschwitz and murdered. The family residing at 26, rue de Saintonge were among them, including a brave young girl, named Sarah who held an important secret and a key to that secret that haunted her and many others until it is revealed by a curious journalist.

As I was reading the story, with tears welling up, I could easily imagine my own apartment, now under complete renovation, possibly excavating a similarly horrible tale. I had once heard a story by someone who had visited my apartment, remembering it as the apartment of her Jewish aunt and uncle, who was a dentist seeing patients “au noi

r” (illegally) in the living room!

Then, as coincidence would have it, just this past week, President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke in Périgueux, promoting an educational curriculum based on the remembrance of these young victims of the Nazis. Journalist Elaine Sciolino reported in the New York Times on February 16th, that he “dropped an intellectual bombshell” by “surprising the nation and touching off waves of protest with his revision of the school curriculum…” If he has his way, as of this coming fall, “every fifth grader will have to learn the life story of one of the 11,000 French children killed by the Nazis in the Holocaust.” Plaques commemorating these children are already on buildings all over the Marais, including my own daughter’s “college” (middle school) on rue Béranger, so this black history will never be forgotten.

(To read the story by Elaine Sciolino, click here.)

One can easily imagine the controversy centered on separation of religion and state, and the question of exposing what could be traumatic to a young citizen, but underlying there is the embarrassment of France’s history during World War II. Ms. Sciolino reveals them all well in her article and notes, “In France, a country where one’s religion is typically kept private, Mr. Sarkozy heralds his religious identity, referring publicly to his Jewish grandfather and wearing his Roman Catholicism on his sleeve.”

Personally, I believe that ignorance is of no value whatsoever. Knowledge is power — knowledge on any level. True and accurate information should never be withheld and who are we to judge who should hold the knowledge and who should not? That in itself, gives us each too much power over others. Sarkozy said in his speech vowing to proceed in the face of controversy, “It is ignorance ­ not knowledge ­ that leads to the repetition of abominable situations,” adding, “You do not traumatize children by giving them the gift of the memory of a country.”

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Don’t miss the upcoming readings of our Parler Paris friends:

Monday, March 24th at Shakespeare & Co. (7 p.m., 37, rue de la Bûcherie, 5th) with David Andelman about his newest book, “A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today.” For more information, visit

Tuesday, March 25th at the Village Voice (6, rue Princesse, 6th) with Kathleen Spivack reading from her new collection of poetry, “Moments of Past Happiness.” For more information, visit

Your Complete Solution to a New Home in France…

Adrian Leeds and her team of property professionals can help make your dream to live or invest in France come true. These experienced property experts provide comprehensive services including property search, purchase, mortgage and other after-the-sale services, such as renovation and rental management.

Let the Adrian Leeds Group guide you through the process with ease and peace of mind… to have your very own pied-à-terre in Paris or home in the French countryside.

Visit /frenchproperty/consultation or email [email protected]

This Week in French Property Insider…

Rue CharlotRue Chic: Rue Charlot
By Adrian Leeds

One year ago, Elle Magazine declared rue Charlot in the 3rd arrondissement to be the “Nouvelle Vague”… host to a new generation of trendy boutiques and designers. Everyone believed them. New boutiques install themselves on what seems like a daily basis — so quickly it would make your head spin. I just can’t keep up. And I can’t afford the fab fashion…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]

Writing from the Heart (In the Heart of Champagne)

Writing from the heart is a bold act. In writing truthfully we both confront and expose the most vulnerable part of ourselves, by discovering who we really are and sharing with others what we really believe.

Held in the inspiring village of Essoyes, in the heart of Champagne country, two and a half hours southeast of Paris, the workshop is led by Janet Hulstrand, a freelance writer, editor, and teacher. Janet’s essays and articles have been published in the Christian Science Monitor, International Educator, Guide to Retirement Living, and many other publications. She has taught writing and literature at Hunter and Queens Colleges of the City University of New York.

Dates: March 23-29, 2008

Cost: 1050 Euros + a nonrefundable $35 application fee includes tuition, six nights in the hotel, breakfast, and one other meal per day.

Register now! Cancellations received on or before February 14, 2008 will receive a full refund, less a $50 processing fee. Enrollment is limited to 10 people.

For more information or to register email [email protected] or call 1-202-744-7338.

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!


Email: [email protected]

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.


One-Bedroom, Sleeps up to 4

L’Aubergine sits tucked away on an historic and quiet Marais “cul de sac,” making it an oasis of peace and calm. This second floor apartment (two flights) has two large bright windows that face a classic Parisian courtyard. With digicode, intercom entry system and elevator, it has been completely renovated and professionally decorated to the height of luxury, with a soothing “aubergine” (eggplant) and taupe color scheme. Everything in the apartment is new, from the designer linens and towels, to the appliances and electronics.

Reserve now! Visit /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/aubergine.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 March 11, 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!


Saturday, March 15 at 12:45 p.m.

Au P’tit Boulevard
23, bd de Sebastopol
25€ includes Choice of 3 Entrées, Choice of 3 Plats, Special Anniversary Cake, 25 cl of Wine and Coffee or Tea

Please Make Your Reservations and Payment in Advance

Email [email protected],
Elisabeth at or Adrian at

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 R

eynie), 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

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