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In the Right Place at the Right Time

View of the interior super structur for La Samaritaine
La Samaritaine


For those of you who missed the Second Quarter North American Expats in France Financial Forum that took place on Zoom last Wednesday, don’t despair. The session with panelists Brian Dunhill, Benjamin Pik, Jonathan Hadida and myself was recorded so you can view the hour for yourself by clicking here.

Screenshot of the opening slide for the Financial Forum Zoom session with Adrian Leeds and Brian Dunhill

We had a lively session that could have lasted all night, because the subject of French inheritance taxes is complicated…and important, especially if you are tax resident in France and have heirs that will happily receive your worldly possessions—but not the big tax bill that could go with it. We only had a few minutes left for questions, so they didn’t all get answered, but we tried to scope out the most important ones.

Screenshot of the panelists for the Financial Forum Zoom session with Adrian Leeds and Brian Dunhill

Meanwhile, the bottom line is this:

If you are tax resident in France (see for a good definition), then your worldly goods will be subject to inheritance taxes upon your death.

To be very blunt: you’ll be dead, so you won’t care, but your heirs might when they get hit with the steep tax bills France will impose on them. To avoid that, advance estate planning is the key. And this is why we offered up these key advisors to help you organize your life after death NOW.

Visit our website to meet our preferred and recommended advisors who can save your heirs tons of money…with good planning.


Synchronicity a subject I talk about often, because it happens to me constantly. This is how I know I’m in the right place at the right time.

Synchronicity is a concept first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl G. Jung “to describe circumstances that appear meaningfully related yet lack a causal connection.” (Source:

Thursday evening I ventured out after arriving back in Paris by train from Nice, feeling well enough to have dinner in the neighborhood with an old friend. She’s an expert in the field of fashion and we got to talking about some of the people we know in common. As part of the our discussion, I mentioned that I had met the CEO of the fashion line, Commes des Garçons, last December at a screening of the documentary film about artist Steven Arnold, “Heavenly Bodies.”   The documentary was part of the ASVOFF Film Festival. We happen to share the same first name and that got us talking.

Poster for the ASVOFF film Festival featuring Steven Arnold

I had presented the film for the audience, asked to do so because of my close relationship with the artist, whose work I avidly collected and who died of AIDS less than one month before we moved to France in 1994. I also had a very short interview in the film. (Read more about this here.)

The next day, my daughter called me from Los Angeles, all excited. She had gone to an art opening at the Fahey Klein Gallery and had bumped into the Trustee and Executor for the Steven Arnold Archives, Vishnu Dass. They went back to his apartment after the opening where she saw some of the archives she hadn’t seen before along with a three-piece ensemble (pants, skirt, shirt) created by Commes des Garçons made of fabric printed with Steven Arnold’s drawings! She also had news that Fahey Klein was giving the artist a solo show in August, the opening to take place on August 11th!

Clothing by Comme des Garçons, Fabric drawings by Steven Arnold, photo by Vogue Magazine

Clothing by Comme des Garçons, Fabric drawings by Steven Arnold, photo by Vogue Magazine

“How crazy is that!? I was just talking about Commes des Garçons last night!,” I exclaimed.

“Mom, I just have to have the pants…at least! How about a birthday gift? Pretty please!?”

That got me to work. Within minutes, I had found an article in Vogue Magazine about the fashions, found the outfit on sale for half-price and ordered it up…then booked tickets to Los Angeles to attend the opening in August!

That was synchronicity at its finest. And that’s why I knew not to waste a single moment putting all that into motion. We’ll be first in line and Erica and I will be wearing our Steven Arnold outfits at the opening in his honor…of course!

To attend the opening, or learn more about it and the artist, Steven Arnold, visit the gallery’s website and/or the website for Steven’s archive.


Sunday afternoon I hopped up to my apartment to grab my laptop, head to a café to work on emails and such. I must have been in the apartment only about five minutes. Once back on the street, I spotted a pen on the sidewalk. It was mine! And it was a special pen from Florence made with Florentine paper that I quite treasure. It must have fallen out when I was getting out the keys unbeknownst to me…but there it was, waiting for me to find it again.

That’s how I know I am in the right place at the right time.


Have you ever heard of the artist, Giovanni Boldini? I hadn’t, but I’ll never forget him, now. There is a first retrospective of his work at the Petit Palais, on until July 24th. He was considered “a virtuoso painter and figure on the social, artistic and literary scene of Belle Époque Paris.”

Interior of the Petit Palais in Paris

Interior of Le Petit Palais

Painting by Giovanni Boldini at the Petit Palais in Paris

Painting by Giovanni Boldini

Painting by Giovanni Boldini at the Petit Palais in Paris

Painting by Giovanni Boldini

Before meeting a friend at the Petit Palais for the exhibition on Saturday afternoon, I lunched with author Julia Frey. She brought me a “petit cadeau”—a small notebook printed with an Edouard Vuillard painting, “Figures in an Interior,” on display at the Petit Palais!

Painting by Edouard Vuillard at the Petit Palais

Painting by Edouard Vuillard

“How crazy is that!?” I’m headed to the Petit Palais after this!,” I exclaimed.

That’s how I know I am in the right place at the right time.


My niece is visiting from New York with her boyfriend. She hadn’t been here in years, despite her ownership of an apartment around the corner from me. Lots has changed in Paris since, one thing of which is the new Samaritaine Department Store she hadn’t seen.

The history goes back to 1603 when King Henri IV commissioned the engineer Jean Lintlaër to construct a pump house at the second arch of the Pont-Neuf bridge to draw water from the River Seine. The name comes from the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well in St. John’s Gospel. In 1870, Ernest Cognacq opened a shop on rue du Pont-Neuf and called it La Samaritaine. But, it wasn’t until the mid 1920s that Architect Henri Sauvage supervised the construction of the tiered Art Deco building on the banks of the Seine. In 2021, after years of restoration and renovation by the DFS Group Limited, the world’s leading luxury travel retailer from Hong Kong, it reopened to the public.

It’s not a store we can all afford, but it’s fun to fantasize about the possibilities. It’s also fun to peruse the shoe department…which takes up one full floor with designer shoes that are more like sculptures than apparel. In another life, I want to be a shoe designer…not to wear them, because most of them are a podiatrist’s dream, but to create them and then just display them for all to see, just as they are in this beautiful setting.

Shoes by Louboutin at Le Samaritaine

Shoes by Louboutin at Le Samaritaine

Worth a visit, even if you leave with nothing but awe.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds, by Steven ArnoldAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian, by Steven Arnold


P.S. Considering a property purchase in France? Don’t do it lightly. Let us help you make the smartest decisions to ensure you make the best investment you can. We can also expertly advise you how best to create a profitable rental. Contact us to learn more.



  1. Rita Kolycius on May 9, 2022 at 8:45 am

    Adrian , you are one of my heroes! Your zest for life, art, clothes, real estate and writings are so refreshing and inspiring. I just adore you and hope to meet you one day when and if I’m ever in Nice. I love your honesty and humor on HHI too! You are DA BOMB girl!

  2. Cheryl Brooks on May 9, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Adrian,
    Loved reading about La Samaritaine, especially since Graham and I visited it just a couple of weeks ago, on our first return trip to Paris after 2-and-a-bit years (thanks a lot, COVID!). Those buildings were such a sad sight, standing empty and forlorn on such a prime site on the rue de Rivoli, and so close to the Louvre. We too were thrilled with the sheer beauty of the restored buildings, and the quality of the restoration. The French are such masters of such things, it’s one of the many things we love about the city, and after such a long time since our last visit, so much has opened after having had massive renovations/restorations. You are so right: there’s always something to delight and enjoy in Paris. Just a question though: I thought that La Samaritaine was owned by Bernard Arnaud’s LVMH? Or did they flick it on to DFS after the renovations? Not that it matters. Whoever did it and is now responsible for it, all credit to them!
    Cheryl Brooks,

    PS: We say all the time that the best thing we EVER did was buy an apartment in Paris–all thanks to you!

  3. Elaine McCarthy on May 12, 2022 at 7:02 am

    Just a note to say I LOVED everything about this issue: most especially the synchronicity theme, but also all the fabulous photos!

  4. Julie Almberg Stegink on May 18, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    Now that you know who Boldini is, I highly recommend this book. It is historical fiction, but based on a long-forgotten painting in an abandoned Paris apartment. Fun read!

    Paris Time Capsule: Heartbreaking, emotional and gripping historical fiction (Secrets of Paris)

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