The Price Paris Pays for Freedom

The Poster of Ingrid Betancourt Finally Came Down After 2,321 Days…

The Price Paris Pays for Freedom

Parler Paris…
Your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, July 7, 2008
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

All weekend long, the “parvis” of the Hôtel de Ville of the City of Paris had been the scene non-stop of celebration since Colombian-French politician, former senator and anti-corruption activist Ingrid Betancourt’s release from Colombia captivity on July 3rd after six and a half years of imprisonment. Mayor Bertrand Delanoë honored her here on Saturday by saying that she would forever be a citizen of Paris and hailed her freedom. Ceremoniously they pulled down the huge poster of herself that adorned the facade of the Hôtel de Ville marking her 2,321 days as a hostage.

(Witness the scene with Ingrid Betancourt honored by Mayor Bertrand Delanoë at the Hôtel de Ville on the official City Hall Web site at:

It’s another testament to the celebration of liberation this month — with the festivities of Canada Day (July 1st), U.S. Independence Day (July 4th) and of course, Bastille Day (July 14th).

It’s also the first anniversary of the “Vélib”(an abbreviation for “Vélo Liberté”) when on July 15th the city celebrates the success of its public bike program. When the bikes first rode the streets of Paris last July, 750 stations were opened with 10,000 bikes. Now one year later, the program can boast of more 20,000 bikes, 1,450 stations and than 26 million rentals over the course of the year.

Of course, there’s been concern over the three people who have lost their lives on the public bikes, but what price must we pay for freedom? According to city officials, even with the growing number of rentals, the bike accident rate has not increased. I find that surprising, given the way the “pedes

trians-turned-bikers” behave like pedestrians with new found wheels instead of true conductors of vehicles. Pedestrians must now watch for the bikers running right through red lights, traveling against the designated direction of the streets and riding the sidewalks. But hey, there is a price we must pay for all this freedom!

(For some fascinating statistics about the Vélib program, visit

Another form of liberation is on the horizon with the newest equivalent car rental service — “Autolib” — electric cars that drivers can pick up and drop off in stations around Paris. By the end of the year, there will be 4,000 cars placed in and around the city — the first of its kind in a capital city. Skeptics complain that bikers will resort to the cars further crowding the roads and that car-sharing schemes are more ecological.

But hey, we must pay a price for freedom, n’est-ce pas?

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
(with Pascal Fonquernie, Webmaster of, at the official VIP launch of the new parfume, by “Etat Libre d’Orange,” “Tom of Finland,” July 3, 2008, yet another celebration of independence!)

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P.S. Plan on joining us tomorrow at Parler Paris Après Midi 3 to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais when we meet, drink, discuss and have a barrel of laughs together! Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information

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This Week in French Property Insider…

Chateau de la Trousse“La Residence Belle Vue du Château” at Le Château de la Trousse
By Adrian Leeds

A 37-minute ride from the Gare de l’Est takes you to the town of Meaux, a commune of the Seine-et-Marne, on the edge of the Ile-de-France quite near EuroDisney. From Meaux, the drive is another 30 kilometers to the little town of Cocherel, crossing over to the Champagne region where the Château la Trousse sits quite regally…Subscribers Read On…

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Living and Investing in France ConferenceRegister now for the…

Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference

San Francisco
An Alliance Française of San Francisco Special Event!

Date: July 26-27, 2008
Limit: 80 people

Don’t miss our 22nd Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference! Learn how to live and invest in France…profitably.

*Please Note: Special Friends pricing ends July 14th! Register today and save $100 per couple!

To learn more and reserve your place, click here: frenchpropertyconference/LIF_SF_2008

For more information, email [email protected]

Naughty Paris: A Lady’s Guide to the Sexy City
By Heather Stimmler-Hall

Special Price for Parler Paris Readers!

“Naughty Paris: A Lady’s Guide to the Sexy City,” is a beautifully illustrated, 296-page guidebook with over 200 full color photos. At just 6.25″x 7″, it fits easily into your purse, and makes a wonderful souvenir even after your trip is over.

Naughty Paris will be available in bookstores for €25 in September, but you can pre-order your own copy here, and you will receive it a month in advance, fresh off the printing press at the pre-order price of just €20!

The Naughty Paris Guide was written by Heather Stimmler-Hall, a Paris-based journalist and editor of the Secrets of Paris website since 1999.

Book Signing and Reading
“Siren of the Waters” by Michael Genelin
Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore

Be sure to hear author Michael Genelin talk about his new book, “SIREN OF THE WATERS,” a Commander Jana Matinova Investigation.

“A terrific novel by a man who knows crime, knows Europe, and knows how to write. Siren of the Waters is a genuine pleasure.”—Thomas Perry

Author of Siren of the Waters, Michael Genelin is a resident of Paris. He’ll be signing copies after the reading Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore, 22, rue St Paul, 75004 Paris.

To order the book, visit

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Parler Paris Après Midi

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

The next gathering is July 8, 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!

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 Reynie), 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 Discover the number one travel guide to central Paris, affiliated with the Tourist Bureau of Paris, is the creation of a team of journalists and advertising professionals. Passionate about their district, they want the world to discover it as well. The team constantly selects and recommends the best charming hotels, inexpensive restaurants, upscale shops, museums and galleries. Their goal is to provide information to all tourists and residents. Whatever your passion, everything you want to know about le Marais, in English, is on! So chic, n’est pas?

Subscribe to the free Parismarais® Newsletter and each month you’ll receive a review of great bargains to be found in the district…

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