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After Matisse

After Matisse, painting by Tom Wesselmann


We held our very first Après-Midi in Nice last Thursday at La Brasserie Le Félix Faure. After searching for a venue for 10 years, it finally launched, with me as the first speaker!

Adrian Leeds speaks at the first Apres-Midi in Nice

We filled the room with about 45 participants: our readers, friends and clients…our community of like-minded individuals all now enjoying their time in Nice. When we asked who was living in Nice full-time, almost all the hands went up.

Attendees at Apres-Midi in Nice

My presentation was mostly about my story, how I got to Paris, how I survived a divorce and stayed in Paris against the odds, then what took me to Nice, and how we all got to that moment at Le Félix Faure. It was loads of fun and I hope informative for the audience.

You don’t have to miss it, however, because we recorded it! See the full report with photos and watch the video by clicking here.

Composite photo of Lisa Anselmo and her book My Paris LifeFor the future: the gathering will be held on the fourth Thursday of every other month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Plan on the upcoming sessions in May, July, September, and November, restarting in January 2024. Our next speaker is author and coach, Lisa Anselmo, who will enlighten us all on “Finding Purpose in France.” She will share her story, and talk about how disrupting your life (whether intentional or not) can set you on a path toward self-discovery, reinvention—and renewed purpose. See our website for more information.

You’ll find us at La Brasserie Le Félix Faure at 12 avenue Félix Faure in Nice (on the corner of rue Alberti). You can easily get there by taking tram lines 1 and 2, and buses numbers 5, 8, 12, 38, and 57…or just walk, since the town is so walkable!


There’s an exhibition at the Musée Matisse in Nice you will not want to miss. First off, I am “Matissienne,” meaning “in the style of Matisse.” My apartment in Nice was fashioned after Henri Matisse’s work thanks to the fabrics that inspired it. His work hangs on the walls (in the form of cheap posters, of course, not the real thing). The apartment’s name is “Le Matisse.” One cactus in the apartment is “Henri-le-Cactus,” and his smaller friend is “Henriette.” Matisse’s colors are inspirational as are his shapes and subject matter.

The exhibition at the museum is titled “Tom Wesselmann. After Matisse,” on until May 29th of this year. When I saw this, it jumped to the top of the to-do list—Wesselmann is also at the top of my favorite artists list.

Entrance to the After Matisse exhibit in Nice

The excitement mounted more and more with each work on display (41), like being a kid in a candy store. Wesselmann clearly admired Matisse, who died just before he began his career as an artist.

“After Matisse explores the multiple ways in which the artist expressed his admiration for Matisse, from his first collages in 1959 to his last works, the Sunset Nudes series in the 2000s. They reflect different modes of appropriation: works based on Matisse, direct quotations, or, more profoundly, a Matissian conception of color and surface.”

Tom Wesselmann artwork on display for After Matiise

In the end, it was tough to decide which artist’s works I liked more. The Matisses are familiar friends that soothe any space, but the Wesselmanns can get one awfully energized. In fact, I told my friend about one particular large 3D wall cut-out that if it hung in my apartment, I would never get anything done because I’d be too distracted by it.

Tom Wesselmann artwork on display for After Matiise

As I said from the beginning, don’t miss it. Visit the museum’s site for more information.

Note: if you are a resident of Nice, or own a property there, you can have free access to all municipal museums and galleries. It’s easy to obtain. Just go to any municipal museum or gallery, bring an identity document (valid national identity card or passport) and proof of address (like a utility bill) less than three months old with you and they will give you a personalized pass on the spot, valid for three years from the date of issue. For more information, visit this website.

Example of the museum pass in Nice

Special Note: Outside of the museum, in the “Jardin des Arènes de Cimiez,” there is an outdoor kiosk that serves up quite a decent lunch on tables under the olive trees. Plan your visit so that you can enjoy a drink or lunch in this beautiful spot.


Ratatouille might have been the most adorable rat in Paris in 2007, but he’s showing up, eating up, and having babies, thanks to the massive strike of garbage collectors. Paris is already one of the top five cities in the world most infested by rats with about 6 million compared to the 2,175 million Parisians. That was before the strikes. While tons of garbage litter the capital, so are the rats multiplying.

Disney's poster for the Ratatouille movie

Believe it or not, this has inspired the association Paris Animaux Zoopolis to defend their rights, by demonstrating during a recent Saturday to raise awareness about the condition of rats in the capital. Seriously? Seriously. The association, which deals with animal suffering in the region, wishes to change people’s minds about these “small animals,” and to stop “massively poisoning rats.”

Okay, I get it, but seriously?? I’m off to Paris on Friday and I can tell you that I am not looking forward to the garbage or the rats! Let’s just hope Madame Hidalgo gets it cleaned up before I get there!

Garbage piling up in Paris


A Long Way from Iowa, From the Heartland to the Heart of France is hot off the press and available for purchase and reading. Even better than that is that the book tour with the author, Janet Hulstrand, will begin in France, with events scheduled for Paris and Nice: April 30th at the Red Wheelbarrow Bookshop in Paris, June 3rd at Meet the Authors in Nice and on July 11th at our own Après-Midi in Paris. Then in August, Janet will trek to the U.S. for events scheduled there, starting with September 23rd in Washington DC, at Politics and Prose bookstore.

Author Janet Hulstrand

To see the list of events planned in all venues, visit Janet’s website. And buy the book before you come, if you can, so you can get the author to sign it for you!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds at the Musée Matisse in NiceAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian at the Musée Matisse in Nice

P.S. The 2023 National Election and Annual General Meeting of Democrats Abroad France takes place (in-person and via Zoom) on Saturday, April 1, 2023 starting at 2 p.m. at the American Church in Paris. All members of Democrats Abroad France are welcome to attend the meeting, hear candidate speeches, and to vote at that time. You must RSVP by March 30th to be registered to vote at the meeting. RSVP here and register to vote at the April 1 meeting.

Read Candidate Statements here.

You must be a member of Democrats Abroad France in order to vote. New members are welcome but must join by March 30th in order to vote at the Election and Meeting on April 1. To join, visit their site. You must be a US citizen 18 years of age or older by Nov. 7, 2023.

Questions? Contact the DA France Election Board.


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