Café Life in the City of Light
I landed in Paris yesterday and as I had vowed to myself, I headed immediately home, dropped the bags and did a B-line straight to my favorite café, Café Charlot, for Sunday lunch…that got me right back into the swing of things in a flash. The waiters were glad to see me, but not as much as I was glad to see them. I brought my computer to check emails like usual, and they assured me I could stay as long as I liked.
As the taxi glided through Paris coming from Charles de Gaulle Airport, it was a very different city than I had left. The cafés being open and people gathering there to do what they used to always do…live, made all the difference. Clearly, café life in the City of Light is absolutely essential to Paris being Paris. It all felt normal again.
My time in New Orleans felt almost normal, too—masks were no longer mandatory if you had been fully vaccinated and restaurants were open and serving to full capacity. We went where we wanted, when we wanted and there was very little sign of Covid-19. As a result, I may have over-indulged on New Orleans cuisine, which is not for the faint of heart or for health and diet-conscious folks. I have always joked that if I lived in New Orleans, I’d turn into a “Two Ton Tessie”—and there’s no doubt a few pounds were added on from the fried oyster po’ boys (I felt compelled to try at every restaurant), the multitude of cups of gumbo with rice, the fried Soft-Shell Crab Almandine (à la Mandina’s), the mountains of fresh boiled crawfish and oysters on the half-shell I managed to down at every opportunity.
(You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a raw Gulf of Mexico oyster. It is a strain of Eastern Oyster—Crassostrea Virginica—but with a different taste and texture because the freshwater of the Mississippi River that runs into the Gulf lowers the salinity of the water and contributes to making the Gulf Oysters large, tender and meaty. They are mild and delicate, cream-colored or brownish when raw, ivory when cooked. French oysters are very different and cannot be cooked!)
One of the things I realized by spending 10 days in my home town, is that New Orleans is one of the top cities in the U.S. when it comes to character and culture. I came to really appreciate the architecture of the homes…Creole cottages, American and Creole townhouses, “shotgun” houses, double gallery houses, California bungalows, as well as the French colonial, Greek Revival, Colonial, and Victorian styles such as Italianate and Queen Anne. I took it all in by driving around town and walking around the streets of the French Quarter and in the Marigny district. Jackson Square reminds me of Place des Vosges in Paris, made up of the Pontalba apartments over a colonnade set in a perfect square with a statue in the center. In fact, Jackson Square is thought to have been modeled after Place des Vosges…and it shows.
The statue happens to be of the Confederate Andrew Jackson who “honored white supremacy.” As a result there is an outcry to remove him by the end of this coming June. I wondered if they will rename the famous square, too…surely they must. But to what? Maybe after Michael Jackson? (Bad joke.) It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. One thing for sure, a lot of street names across New Orleans are going to be changed considering how much influence the Civil War had on the city. It won’t be the same, but it will be for the better…as Shakespeare wrote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
I managed to miss the grand event of the reopening of the cafés while being in New Orleans, but friends sent me photos of Café Charlot on their first day back in business—last Wednesday. The reopening of the cafés was such a big deal that Politico wrote about the politicians who came out of the woodwork to celebrate! Members of President Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet and the president himself rushed out to experience the reopened cafés and restaurants to celebrate the “art de vivre” at Café Beauvau (9 Rue de Miromesnil), a two-minute walk from the Elysée Palace.
Our own Patty Sadauskas took most of the day off to go from café to café to test out as many as possible in Nice! Clearly, EVERYONE was doing the same thing and the cafés and restaurants must be very happy indeed to have life back in them. I’m just jealous I wasn’t among the first diners. No problem…I will make up for lost time this coming week!
With the country re-opening after many months of confinement, so are the museums and the usual activities. According to the city website, the top ten expos opening soon are:
1) PEINTRES FEMMES, 1780 – 1830 NAISSANCE D’UN COMBAT
Le Musée du Luxembourg
17 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 PARIS
2) PICASSO – RODIN
77 rue de Varenne, 75007 PARIS
3) EX AFRICA, PRÉSENCES AFRICAINES DANS L’ART AUJOURD’HUI
Musée du quai Branly Jacques Chirac
37 quai Branly, 75007 PARIS
4) LES DIVAS DU MONDE ARABE, D’OUM KALTHOUM À DALIDA
L’Institut du Monde Arabe
1 rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris
5) DALÍ, L’ÉNIGME SANS FIN
Atelier des Lumières
38 rue Saint Maur, 75011 Paris
6) TEMPÊTES ET NAUFRAGES. DE VERNET À COURBET
Musée de la Vie romantique, Hôtel Scheffer-Renan
16 rue Chaptal, 75009 Paris
7) L’EMPIRE DES SENS, DE BOUCHER À GREUZE
8 rue Elzévir, 75003 Paris
8) THE POWER OF MY HANDS/AFRIQUE(S): ARTISTES FEMMES
Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris
11 avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 PARIS
9) LES ORIGINES DU MONDE. L’INVENTION DE LA NATURE
62 rue de Lille, 75007 PARIS
10) MAGRITTE EN PLEIN SOLEIL. LA PÉRIODE “RENOIR” 1940-1947
Musée de l’Orangerie
60 quai des Tuileries, 75001 Paris
That’s enough for a start. I can’t wait to get back into French art and culture! And get ready for the 17th European Night of Museums, this year in the summer on Saturday July 3rd, 2021.
Between the reopening of the eateries and the museums, maybe we can really get back to life in Paris as we have known it.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian at Cafe Amelie in New Orleans
P.S. Special note: On May 19th, AARO and PIK Consulting held a webinar titled: French Tax and Updates for the Upcoming French Tax Filings. The webinar covered general concepts of certain French laws including, liability, tax, residency, the USA/France tax treaty, and other related topics. Please note that the presentation in the video mentions an extension of the French tax filing date of June 30th. This applies only to tax professionals under strict conditions. AARO encourages you to verify the French tax filing date deadlines for your zone on the French government site. A recording of the webinar is available to AARO members on the member-only section of the AARO website. Nothing in the webinar may be construed as legal, tax or accounting advice. AARO is not responsible for the content of the webinar. (If you are not a member of AARO, but are an American resident overseas, then you you should become a member so you don’t miss out on such valuable information.) Visit their site for more information.