The Tip of the French Cultural Iceberg

Ruth Mastron, Co-author of “Au Contraire: Figuring Out the French”
pointing out the tip of the cultural “iceberg.”

The Tip of the French Cultural Iceberg

Parler Paris–your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, October 24, 2005
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Still battling jet lag, I am writing you from the famous Fisherman’s Wharf, where I have eaten cracked crab at almost every meal and marveled at San Francisco’s beautiful landscape and Victorian architecture. It’s no wonder that there are about 60,000 French living here in the Bay Area — it’s about as “close to home” as a Frenchman can get living in the good ol’ U.S. of A. We were lucky to have several of the French community with us during the weekend at the Living and Investing in France Conference.

San Francisco is also the strongest Francophile community in the States with the oldest Alliance Française ( in the country dating to pre-1900 as the official center of French language and culture in San Francisco. It is one of 1,085 Alliances that have been established in 138 countries around the world. The new Director, Gregory Douet-Lasne and Board Member Keith Maillard, spoke on the advantages of learning French BEFORE you come to France and how to make language learning easier and faster. If you live in the Bay area, you may want to become a member and take part in their many cultural events.

Carole Granade of the San Francisco French-American Chamber of Commerce ( also made a presentation to the attendees, as a show of support by the Bay Area association to assist those who are interested in doing business in France. She invited everyone to attend the 24th Beaujolais and Beyond Festival, on Saturday, November 19th, at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Visit the site for more information and to purchase your ticket.

Berkeley resident and Bay Area thespian Leonard Pitt, author of Paris Disparu, expounded Saturday evening on the pros and cons of Haussmann’s broad brush strokes to straighten Paris streets, create long and beautiful vistas and improve the city’s circulation, while attendees downed chocolate mousse after a sumptuous dinner at the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf. Pitt is passionate about Paris before and after…”passion” being a word we discussed early on as to why Paris is the world’s most romantic city. Even he will agree that Paris is just as beautiful after Haussmann as before…just that Haussmann’s broad strokes could have been a little more refined and delicate.

Doug Johnson of HiFX Currency Brokers (/frenchproperty/insider/currencyonlineconvertor.html), also a resident of San Francisco, closed the sessions yesterday with good advice on how to transfer funds from dollars to euros at the least exchange expense and with total elimination of risk. This one tip alone easily pays for the cost of attending conferences of this nature. Not long ago, when I transferred a sum via HiFX, the U.S. bank made the mistake of sending it directly to the French bank rather than via HiFX — costing several hundred dollars in rate difference, a percentage of about 3%! Ouch! I learned then how valuable it is to use a broker rather than a commercial bank.

Ruth Mastron, co-author of “Au Contraire: Figuring Out the French” (, opened the conference on Friday afternoon with eye-opening culture crossing tips, including the tip of the cultural iceberg — the only portion we see until we immerse ourselves in the culture. Beware of how much is below the surface too!

Today was the last day of the conference — where our team of John Howell, his French attorney Sebastien Oddos, French Pr

operty Insider’s Yolanda Robins, GE Moneybank’s Philippe Vasseur and I wrapped up the three-day-long event with a Q and A panel for any last-minute leftover questions.

Attendee Mary Scott had one final question — “So, why is it that French women don’t get fat?” she asked of Philippe and Sebastien to which I asked her, “Why ask them? How would they know?” Her husband, Jim, being the punster extraordinaire then piped in, “Why not? She always asks me, being the thin French woman I am!”

Roar!…guess you had to be there. In fact, that’s what they all said… the conference — “…far exceeded expectations…,” “…the most informative conference I have ever attended…,” “…a weekend well spent both in terms of time and money.”

A la prochaine…from New York City…








Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. The Invest in France Seminar is just two days away, but you can still sign-up online now or come to the Harvard Club Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. to register — walk-ins are welcome!

New York, October 26, 2005

Or contact Schuyler Hoffman, Conference Coordinator, at [email protected] or call Pacific Time

====== French Property Insider ======

Renting Your French Property for Profit
By Adrian Leeds

Overview of the Rental Market

Let’s take a look at Paris as a market for short term rentals. It’s the number one most visited city in the world. Approximately 25 million visited Paris in 2004 and of those that had overnight stays in hotels, about 3.5 million were North Americans, 3 million British, 1 million Australian/New Zealanders — all Anglophones to which an Anglophone owner could easily promote. The biggest spenders on accommodations are the Japanese (100 Euros/night), then followed by the Chinese (81 Euros/night), the British (78 Euros/night) and lastly Americans (77 Euros/night). This indicates that the Anglophones are seeking a good value. More and more, tourists are choosing apartment rental options rather than hotelsSubscribers 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 Insider readers get every week, now’s a special opportunity.

Subscribe today!

=========Further Resources===========

* Now available! New Summer/Fall 2005 Edition of The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France! 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!

* Free classifieds for Anglophones in France and Francophiles worldwide! Jobs, housing, services, personals, for sale, and much more…Browse the postings…

* This fall, combine a little business with pleasure and discover Argentina and Uruguay in pampered luxury. Meet with wine experts… linger over long, five-star meals… take chartered flights across the continent… and glimpse some extraordinarily good-value profit opportunities, too. For details, call Agora Travel at 800-926-6575 or click here:



Leeds Marais Apartment
Available in its entirety November 22 – 28, 2005

Located in a 17th century Le Marais Hotel Particulier, this 70 square
meter two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and
is perfect for up to four people when rented in its entirety or a
single woman in the freshly renovated guest room when owner Adrian
Leeds is there.

Pictures and more details available at


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


Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:
The next gathering is November 8, 2005

Subscribe to the PARISMARAIS monthly newsletter FREE…The Art of Living Guide to Le Marais.
Buy and sell with Parler Paris classifieds: /parlerparis/advertise.html

Read past issues of Parler Paris: /parlerparis/issues/readpastissues.html
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Copyright 2006, Adrian Leeds®
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