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A Presidential Weekend

Screenshot graphic of the results for the French presidential election

The next President of France will be Emmanuel Macron. Whew! I got that same message from a whole lot of friends right at 8 p.m. when it was announced.

The abstention rate was 28.2 percent, the second highest in history. These are the voters who were either apathetic or who can’t bear to vote for either candidate…and that means those votes were votes for Marine Le Pen. Her constituency was very active. Fortunately, it wasn’t enough to put her in office.

Screenshot of the abstention rate for the French presidential election

I was glued to the TV last Wednesday evening for 4.5 hours to watch the Presidential Debate between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen on, in English. They voice-over the interpreters which is great for comprehension, but one never knows if the translation is good and you don’t get the same intonation as you would from the original speaker, so it can be a bit challenging. Still, I went to sleep with a certain amount of fear that the French people, the populists, will be fooled into thinking she can fix France to suit their tastes.

Wall Street Jounal cover articla and photo of the French Presidential debate

Madame Le Pen is frightening…every bit as frightening to me as Donald Trump, and in some ways more so because she is a lot smarter than he is. She is anti-immigration—at least certain kinds of immigrants which is clearly and openly racist (I bet Americans are okay on her list as long as they are Caucasian); believes that people shouldn’t have the freedom to express themselves religiously—at least certain kinds of religions such as Muslims (although we know how she [and her father] feels about Jews); wants to put a lot of people in prison—especially the ones she calls “thugs” (she intimated that these were “undesirables,” inferring Muslims) and in regard to her proposals for change, Macron pointed out they would cause 1) a civil war, 2) bankrupt France and 3) be contrary to France’s constitution.

Meanwhile, she speaks on the same intelligence level of her constituents, while Macron is on a level that speaks to the intelligentsia, which shows how intelligent he is, but might not win him votes.

David A Andelman Unleashed posted to his blog, “France/Élections Présidentielles: #16 with his own take on the debate, citing the audience polls.

Screenshot with the statistical results of the French presidential debate between Macron and Le Pen

Poster for Asa's concert at the Royal Albert Hall in LondonBefore settling into dinner on a tray in bed to watch the debate, I had a tea with Asa at Café Charlot. She’s in Paris to rehearse with her band for a concert she’s giving at the Royal Albert Hall in London on May 3rd, 2022.

Asa is a “Paris-born, Nigerian singer-songwriter and multi-platinum selling recording artist. She fuses pop, Afrobeat, soul and R&B, all built to compliment her unique smoky voice. She released her debut album in 2008 to critical acclaim and has since released four studio albums and two live albums.

As the world familiarizes itself with Nigeria’s booming Afro-fusion hip-hop, Afrobeat, dancehall, pop hybrid, the other side of the country’s sounds may seem like uncharted territory. But Asa has been present and consistent in her singular, distinct voice that cuts through the noise. Her newly released fifth album, recorded after the lockdown, put a stop to her 42 city LUCID tour and forced Asa to leave her Paris base for home in Lagos, a welcomed solitude, which resulted in beautiful encounters and a fifth studio album ‘V’ full of brightness, cheekiness, heartfelt emotions and features for the first time ever.” (Source)

I hadn’t seen her in more than two years, since February 2020 right before lockdown. Patty Sadauskas and I lunched with her at Café Charlot, not long after attending her concert on December 17th in Paris at Le Trianon—the theater once frequented by Toulouse Lautrec. Her performance blew us both away with her powerful presence on stage and smoky, sexy voice. Then, she really surprised us when she called out my name from the stage! Maybe she does that to all her invited guests, but it was the first time a performer has ever referred to me in front of such a large audience (about 1,000) for no apparent reason.

Asa’s portrait was on the cover of the 20th-anniversary issue of Divas, Le Magazine Afropolitain (December 2019-January 2020), and on posters on kiosks all over Paris. The article was impressive—nine pages long. She was in good company in the magazine along with articles about Michelle Obama and Meghan Markle. When we met for lunch, I brought along a Sharpie pen so she could autograph my copy. Patty just laughed at me, “You’re always so prepared!”

Asa holding a copy of DIVAS with her photo on the cover

Adrian Leeds' copy of the DIVAS article autographed by Asa

(Download a copy of the article in Divas.)

Patty was on a plane to Kansas City while Asa and I were downing in our tea, with me knowing Patty would be awfully jealous of our encounter. Asa is an amazing voice on the new music scene worth a listen and certainly worth tickets to see her live at the Royal Albert Hall! So get your tickets NOW if you’re anywhere near London! You’ll be thanking me!

I arrived in Nice Thursday afternoon in perfect health with a very busy schedule for the upcoming week, including dinner that first night at one of my favorite restaurants, Le Comptoir du Marché in Old Town. Friday morning things went wonky as fatigue and body aches took over. The symptoms were Omicron-ish, but I consistently tested negative all through the weekend. Still, there’s no point in taking chances so I holed up at home, changing all my plans to meet up with friends, while the rain came down on Nice all day Saturday.

Sunday evening, I stayed in bed eating soup, while Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who is also President of the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis and President of the Southern Region, invited me (and I’m sure a lot of other people) to the second round election evening where he wholly supported Emmanuel Macron for President. It took place at 7 p.m. Sunday at the restaurant La Taverne Masséna located directly across the street from my apartment. I didn’t need to go further than my balcony to witness the event, or at least what I could of it without falling over! The crowd on their balcony grew, but it didn’t look like I missed much.

The view of La Taverne Massena from Adrian Leeds' apartment in Nice

The crowded balcony at La Taverne across from Adrian Leeds' apartment in Nice

I’ll be in Nice till Friday when I head to Provence for Labor Day Weekend, that is, if I am feeling well enough. If all goes well, I’ll be spending the weekend with a friend from Nice and staying with my friend, Barb, who lives in the Luberon town of Ansouis. Saturday we’ll take a tour of the beautiful hilltop villages of the Luberon while visiting properties for sale on behalf of a client. It’s a perfect excuse to be there.

The plan is to be in Arles on Sunday, May 1st for the annual Fêtes d’Arles, a festival that is part of the culture of Arles and folklore of the Occitanie town. Here’s when special festivities offer a variety of activities where Arlesian women, herdsmen and traditional groups mix in the heart of the arena and the ancient theater, and spill over into the squares and streets. The spectators are counted in thousands and we hope to be among them. Stay tuned for more about this next week!

Poster/photo for the Fêtes d’Arles in the south of France

May 1st, May Day or Labor Day, this year falls on a Sunday. Don’t expect to go too far from home by public transport if you’re in certain cities. There is no general rule concerning the operation or not of public transport services (bus, coach, tramway, Métro…) on May 1st, but each public transport network has its own operating schedule.

In the Île-de-France region, whether or not to run on May 1st varies according to the carriers operating the lines. This situation is gradually being reviewed by the organizing authority Île-de-France mobilités. The coaches of the long-distance lines BlaBlaCar Bus and Flixbus will run normally. For regional transport lines, traffic will vary depending on the network.

Photo with two public transportation buses announcing suspended service on May 1st

Public transportation service is suspended on Sunday, May 1, 2021 on the public transportation systems in 54 cities in France including Nice. And in the Vaucluse, no traffic on the Zou! regional lines. For a complete list, visit their website.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with Asa at Café CharlotAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with Asa at Café Charlot

Adrian Leeds with guest on House Hunters InternationalP.S. We have a new House Hunters International episode airing next week!

Only the Best in Paris

After 20 years making sacrifices for her career, a woman finally lands her dream job in Paris. She’s ready to fall in love with a new city and a new person, but she won’t settle for anything less than the perfect man and the perfect home.

Air Dates: April 28th 10:31 p.m. EDT/9:31 p.m. CDT and April 29th 1:31 a.m. EDT/12:31 a.m. CDT

Don’t miss it!



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  1. Ruth Kleinfeld on April 25, 2022 at 8:49 am

    Marvelous post! You are living my dream life ✨️. Thanks for your straightforward comments on the political scene (whew!) and enticing description of your environs. A la prochaine,

  2. Helen McKenna on April 25, 2022 at 9:08 am

    I also watched the debate but not live as I am in Oz. I enjoyed the political commentators, who gave their views at the end, very much.

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