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Black is Back; Out in the Open; Vivian in Paris

View of the Arche de Triomphe from below, wrapped in fabric for the Christo exhibit in Paris


Where does one hide a body in the 19th arrondissement? That’s what mystery writer Cara Black asked me over lunch on Saturday. “Hmmm…,” I said, “between the kosher butcher and the halal butcher, maybe?” If you didn’t know, the 19th is well known as a district in Paris where the Jews and Muslims have lived side-by-side for decades…peacefully. It is not unusual to find the butchers side-by-side, too, and some that cater to both, such as the Boucherie de l’Argonne. We’ll see if she makes use of this tidbit in the upcoming Aimée Leduc mystery she’s writing that takes place in the multi-ethnic district.

Boucherie de l'Argonne in Paris

Cara’s in Paris doing research, after a two-year hiatus in confinement writing away in San Francisco and she’s happy to be back. We took advantage of the beautiful afternoon to walk along the River and take in the sights and sounds while video-ing some of our chatter for her blog. A speedboat came whizzing by while doing a kind of wheelie making S maneuvers at a high speed. Everyone else was just being very lazy, including Cara who hopped on a hammock for a swing or two.

Speedboat on the Seine

Cara Black hanging out on the Seine in a hammock

Her latest book isn’t an Aimée Leduc mystery at all. Three Hours in Paris is a story of a woman sharp-shooter who parachutes into France in June of 1940 to assassinate Adolf Hitler while he’s in the city just those three hours. It’s riveting…a total page-turner. Next on the horizon is an Aimée Leduc that will be published in March 2022 and Cara will be talking about it at Après-Midi in April 2022.

The cover of Three Hours in Paris, by Cara Black

Be there!


Christo and Jeanne-Claude outdid themselves. The massive work of art by the artistic couple is only on display till October 3rd, so get there fast. Our Nouvellettre® from last Monday describes the installation in some detail, so there’s no need for a repeat performance, but there’s nothing quite like seeing the monument under wraps up front and up close.

the Arc de Triomphe as a work of art by Cristo in Paris

the Arc de Triomphe as a work of art by Cristo in Paris

The Etoile is cordoned off with entry accessible with a Pass Sanitaire. You can walk up close to it, under it, around it and even climb to the top if you’re willing to get tickets and wait in line. Volunteers are handing out tiny square samples of the fabric that was used to wrap the giant monument and we were lucky enough to score one—recyclable silver-blue polypropylene fabric.

the Arc de Triomphe as a work of art by Cristo in Paris

the Arc de Triomphe as a work of art by Cristo in Paris

It doesn’t matter from what angle you see it. It’s shimmery and stunning. We were enamored by the splendor, but wondered what Napoleon might think of it…


It’s one of those great stories. In a nutshell, John Maloof set out to find 220 high-quality vintage photos of his Chicago neighborhood for a book he was writing. The scavenger hunt that lasted almost a year lead him to a local auction house where, for $400, he purchased a box of negatives depicting Chicago in the 60’s. They didn’t work for his book project, so they went in the closet for a while until he realized what he really had…a collection of Vivian Maier’s work with which he became obsessed, and rightly so. One can read all about it here and for a seriously in-depth look, watch the documentary here.

Self portrait of Vivian Maier

Maier was a nanny with a camera. She was born in New York, but spent most of her young life in France. Over five decades, while being a full-time caretaker, she took over 100,000 photos, most which were shot in New York and Chicago. She was the window into American Life in the last half of the 20th-century—that might have been lost forever if John Maloof had not discovered the negatives. My friend, Barb Westfield, remembers her as a nanny in her own neighborhood growing up and recalls that she was someone very special to be reckoned with. “She used to yell at me,” Barb wrote. “Well at the very least, admonish me in a very strong manner!”

Photo by Vivian Maier on exhibit in Paris

On now and until January 16th at the Musée du Luxembourg, “Vivian Maier”  is on display with a brilliantly curated exhibition by Anne Morin of some of her best work. This is a public showing for the first time of much of the archive including vintage prints, Super 8 films and audio recordings.

poster for the Vivian Maier exhibit in Paris

It was open and free on Sunday as part of the Journées du Patrimoine and therefore it was bumper-to-bumper with visitors, but it didn’t matter. My friend and I laughed with awe throughout the entire exhibition. She had quite an eye for the unusual in everyday life and the curator knew just how to put the images together in a way that really exemplified her talent. There were too many to call “favorites,” butt (pun intended), a man on a park bench really got my attention.

Vivian Maier photo of a big butt on a bench

Don’t miss it; you won’t regret it.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with  Cara Black on the Seine

Living & Investing France conference and tour logo for NiceP.S. I’m headed to Nice tomorrow to get ready for our Living and Investing in France Conference and Tour to Provence and the Occitanie. Don’t expect any Nouvellettres® the week of September 27th as I’ll be concentrating on educating the attendees in the art of living in France and meanwhile having a whole lot of fun!


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