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April in Paris

Inside the Musée d'Orsay in Paris


I’m back in Paris for the entire month of April: “April in Paris”—just like the song by Vernon Duke and E.Y. Harburg, performed by Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong…

April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
No one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of spring
Never met it face to face
I never new my heart could sing
Never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart
Yes, April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
No one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
That no one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never new my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart

When I think of “April in Paris,” personally, I don’t think of the song anymore…or the rainy weather…but I do think of April Pett and her “April in Paris Tours!

When I first met April, a young woman from Canada my daughter’s age, her company was NOT called “April in Paris,” but something a bit less memorable. It was surprising that she hadn’t immediately adopted the name of the song. I suggested she change the name…and she did. Her business is a huge success, but that’s because of April’s talents, not the memorable name.

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests from friends and relatives for suggestions on things to do and see in Paris (and Nice) as well as restaurant recommendationS. I guess this means the “revenge travel” is still as revengeful as ever and Americans will be flooding the Paris streets (hopefully replacing the trash that is now finally getting picked up).

Maybe I know a lot about the cities, but being a tour guide is not my usual job. The best thing to do is refer them to April—as fulfilling someone’s travel wish list is a big job (it’s taken her years to develop her tours) and best left to the professionals who know the city from a visitor’s point of view, not a resident’s.

You might think that’s exactly the opposite approach a visitor might want, because experiencing a city like a local is what every tourist dreams of…but that’s a fallacy. That’s not what they should want. Face it, the life of most residents, even in Paris, is relatively mundane. Ask any Parisian if he has ever been to the top of the Eiffel Tower and the chances are he will say, “No!” But, I’ll bet just about every tourist has! Often, I wish I was a tourist again so I wouldn’t be so jaded.

It’s customary to caution all of our newly-moved-to-Paris clients: Don’t invite all your friends and relatives to come to visit you…because THEY WILL. You will discover friends and relatives you didn’t even know you had the moment they know you have an apartment in Paris! And they will land on your door, ready for YOU to show THEM your city! You then have to stop everything you already had on your schedule to accommodate them and become The Tour Guide, which as April discovered, is a big job…and a well-deserved business. Every non-French resident, even the part-timers, will agree with what I’m telling you.

Please understand. It’s not that we don’t love our friends and relatives and would love to see them, be with them, and even show them our city, but as new residents, you will adapt to the life faster than you think they will. Before you know it, you’ve made tons of friends and your dance card will be full with events and great things to do. You may even be working much of the time, and that doesn’t leave you time to be a tourist…again. There are many occasions I wish I could stop the Merry-Go-Round of life and take friends to the top of the Eiffel Tower…haven’t been up there in eons.

I will say, however, that I make a point of taking advantage of what Paris has to offer, more than the average Parisian. It’s the reason I moved to Paris to begin with—to enjoy the cultural Mecca that it is. I try not to miss any major exhibition, paying close attention to the ones that interest me the most.


It was very lucky to score tickets to the Manet/Degas at the Musée d’Orsay for Saturday afternoon. Time it well if you want to lunch first in the museum’s restaurant by arriving about 11:45 a.m. and heading straight to the entry on the first floor.

This was the former dining room and smoking room of the Hôtel d’Orsay, completed in 1900, appointed in an exceptional décor with frescoes by Gabriel Ferrier and Benjamin Constant, gilded and bathed in sunlight from the large bay windows. The room has been classified as a historical monument and the cuisine is committed to seasonal, gourmet and refined dishes. The current chef, Yann Landureau, likes to surprise the restaurant’s diners by going for inspiration in connection with the museum’s exhibitions, which he did for the Manet/Degas exhibition by offering a special menu. It’s a perfect way to start off your discovery of the museum and its collections.

the restaurant in the Musée d'Orsay

Tourists must be here in droves, because I’ve never seen the museum as busy as this. In the exhibition, it was near to impossible to get close to any of the works on display without worming your way through the crowds, being a bit assertive. There was no choice but to simply take our time slowly working our way from beginning to end to see it all.

I learned some fascinating facts that struck home, particularly about Edgar Degas, who visited his uncle and brothers (living there at the time) in 1872 in my hometown, New Orleans. It turns out that his mother was a native New Orleanian, and his uncle was a prosperous businessman who became wealthy through the cotton trade and insurance. He fell in love with the city—the beautiful Esplanade Avenue and the lovely homes of the garden district. He wrote to his friend James Tissot in Paris on November 19, 1872, “Nothing pleases me more than the Black women of all shades, holding little white babies that are oh so white in their arms, in white houses with fluted wooden columns surrounded by orange-trees and magnolia gardens. The ladies in muslin in front of their little houses and the steamboats with two smokestacks, as high as the twin chimneys of factories and the fruit merchants with shops full to overflowing. And the lovely pure-blooded ladies and the beautifully planted quadroons.”

One of my favorite paintings in the exhibition is “A Cotton Office in New Orleans” where it is depicted the interior of his uncle’s cotton firm with his brothers René and Achille, and his uncle’s son-in-law William Bell, as well as other associates, who are shown engaged in various business and leisure activities while raw cotton rests on a table in the middle of the office. This painting was eventually sold in 1878 to the Municipal Museum in Pau, France. Interestingly enough, Degas was the only major French Impressionist to travel to the United States and paint US subjects.

In New Orleans, the Edgar Degas Historic Home and Museum is now a Bed and Breakfast. The owners were honored to have welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to a tour of the Degas House during his recent visit to the United States.

French president Macron visits Dega House in New Orleans

The exhibition examines the friendship and rivalry between the two artists with over 200 paintings, pastels, drawings, engravings, monotypes, letters, and notebooks on display, in a thematic and chronological route through their artistic careers. Women must have played an essential role in their rivalry. It is thought that the artist, Berthe Morisot, had a secret relationship with Edouard Manet whose black eyes charmed many a gentleman. He painted 11 portraits of her. She was charming and beautiful, living among men within the artists’ community, but it’s no wonder that in the end, she married Manet’s brother, Eugène, in 1874 when she was 33 years old and he was 41. Morisot also became close to Degas, which must have added fuel to the Manet/Degas fire.

A Gegas Painting

Berthe Morisot by Manet

Throughout the exhibition, you will discover their similarities and their differences and when all is said and done, if you’re like me, you’ll have trouble deciding which you prefer, and why!

Get your tickets NOW—because clearly, it’s a blockbuster show and you won’t want to miss it.


Saturday night, in a house (yes, a house!) off the beaten track in the 14th arrondissement, actually just around the corner from Jim Haynes’ atelier where he held thousands of Sunday Night Soirées for more than 40 years, was a concert offered free of charge as part of “Les Nocturnes de Laude.” The concert hall is part of this private residence of Gaspard, a magnificent Pleyel piano, which is the delight of the many musicians who meet and play him. The discreet owner of the home and concert hall does not hesitate to invite invested and passionate souls to present their work. We were among them to hear three musicians play Zoltán Kodály’s and Maurice Ravel’s compositions: Konstanze Heinicke on violin, Marc-Antoine Novel on violoncello and Baptiste Tricot on the Pleyel piano.

The Nocturnes de Laude house

All of the musicians were exemplary, but 28-year-old German-born Konstanze Heinicke, stole the show. She picked up the violin at the age of four and it shows, with numerous 1st prizes won at the regional, state and national levels. She could make her instrument hit notes I didn’t know were possible and fear for glasses to begin breaking.

he concert

Curious music lovers who wish to have a unique experience…do not hesitate to ask for the upcoming program by emailing.


Last week, while I was still in Nice, I spoke on a Webinar hosted by Bargain Homes Abroad and Shannon Acton that had a formidable audience to hear about “Navigating French Real Estate.”

You can watch the webinar now by visiting their website, which offers up a 1-month membership trial offer from Bargain Homes Abroad. You can also go to our own Youtube channel to view it.

In the upcoming months, we will be featuring another webinar with BHA, designed to discuss Fractional Ownership and highlighting some of the properties we have available. If you are interested, be sure to visit BHA and sign up!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds at the Musée d'OrsayAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. We host or speak at a number of events each year. To see what we’re up to next, please see or Events page on our website.



  1. Patricia Vanderhoof on April 3, 2023 at 8:35 am

    Lived in Paris in the 1960’s. Loved it (I was very young. First time away from home) but when you live there you can tend to pretty much stay in the quartier where you live and/or work. Every time I as back in Paris it was with family or friend in tow and had to do all the tourist things. Last year – in April – at the young age of 79, I went back to Paris on my own. Every morning, after breakfast, I packed my backpack. With Metro carnet in hand and a good pair of sneakers, I walked a lot and explored places I’d never been before as well as revisiting some of my old haunts and favourite places. Found beautiful places I never knew existed and tourist never see. It was a a very special time. Thanks Adrian for all your informative writings.

    • Adrian Leeds Group on April 4, 2023 at 6:59 am

      Sounds like a lovely trip Thanks for sharing!

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