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In Your Paris Dreams

The Art of Dreams from the inside looking out
The Art of Dreams from the inside looking out

Dreaming of a visit to Paris? Or you live here now and it still seems like a dream? Or you’ve lived here as long as I have and still have to pinch yourself that you actually live in Paris?

It’s almost embarrassing when visiting the U.S. and someone asks where you live. You don’t want it to come across as arrogant or snotty, but it’s tough not to, even if there’s no tone to the phrase, “I live in Paris.”

“Really? Aren’t you lucky!?” That’s what you hear most often.

What can you say to that but, “Yes, I really am, aren’t I!?”

I was explaining to clients recently that the moment they have an apartment in Paris, not only will they have friends and relatives they didn’t know existed, but they will be seen by their peers at a much higher level than before. Suddenly you become the coolest kid on the block and before you know it, your boss will give you a raise or a promotion. I swear it’s true. Investing in Paris is more about investing in yourself in more ways than one.

This week I took advantage of just a few things Paris has to offer…because there’s not enough time in the day, month or year to do it all. This is a city where FOMO (fear of missing out) can make you crazy because there’s too much do and too much to miss out on. Here’s what a typical week of mine can look like, outside of normal working time…


Weekend before last I was surprised and pleased to see Smith and Son’s (formerly WH Smith) window filled with Oliver and Lina Gee’s children’s books on display. The couple from the Earful Tower podcasts now have three books under their belts—Oliver’s memoir titled “Paris On Air” and two collaborative efforts utilizing all of their talents, Kylie the Crocodile and their latest, Roger the Liger in Paris.

Smith and Son's, rue de Rivoli, with the Gees' books on display

Smith and Son’s, rue de Rivoli, with the Gees’ books on display

I was privileged enough to see Lina’s drawings live and in person before they were printed in the book during a visit to their cool apartment in the 7th arrondissement in September, where I met their new son, Otis, for the first time. So, the launch of the new book was special for me and even if considered a “children’s book”—these are books centered in Paris with beautiful illustrations and thoughtful messages that adults will appreciate even more than their tykes will. Lina is an accomplished illustrator/designer and Oliver is a master wordsmith…a perfect combination for success.

Adrian Leeds with Otis Gee

Adrian with Otis Gee

Lina and Oliver Gee with their books

Lina and Oliver with their books

Wednesday night the inventive couple orchestrated a book launch to celebrate their new arrival at Treize au Jardin. It’s a café/restaurant with a name that makes no sense to me since its address is 5 rue de Médicis, in the 6th, opposite the Jardin du Luxembourg. However, they explain that it was once just “Treize”—as in a baker’s dozen—but now in a “bigger better fancier space with a (non-smoking) terrace, and view of the Luxembourg gardens.” Even the tables on the sidewalk/terrace are non-smoking and we like that, with a “boozy tea-room with a range of fully homemade, organic, drinks and food, and service all day long.”

Lina and Oliver Gee in Disguise at Le Treize au Jardin

Lina and Oliver in disguise at Le Treize au Jardin

The entracne to Treize au Jardin

Treize au Jardin

Just down the street at number 9 is The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore, our favorite English-language bookstore, run by Penelope Fletcher. Be sure to patronize the independent bookstores and by all means get your copies of the books—all in support of expats making a go of it in France—which I can tell you from experience, isn’t at all easy!

Adrian Leeds with Penelope Fletcher, owner of the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore

Adrian with Penelope Fletcher, owner of the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore


At the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) that same evening, a large number of invitees came for cocktails and to honor Andrew Gentry who is retiring as Events Coordinator and Historian of their building, the Château de La Muette, for the last 33 years. I’d never had the pleasure of visiting it until Andrew decided to retire and his colleagues had the notion to honor him. Since he’s the master historian of the building, I best be careful saying much about it, but I bet my bottom dollar that Andrew is largely responsible for the description of it on the OECD’s website.

A "small" array of country flags at the OECD

A “small” array of country flags at the OECD

It’s beautifully located on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne near the Porte de la Muette amidst some of Paris’ finest residences in the 16th arrondissement. It’s another part of town that is not often on my radar, but it’s a neighborhood that oozes with wealth and a truly “bourgeoise” lifestyle. It can even be intimidating to someone like me who’s used to living a bit more bohemian-like in Le Marais.

The champagne was flowing as was the revelry. The party was all for Andrew who has devoted his entire adult life to the organization for which he has been greatly appreciated. At his side was his new husband, Pascal Tesniere-Serfati, while Anthony Gooch, the Director of Public Affairs and Communications, made a glowing speech about Andrew’s own history at this very important international organization. There are 38 member countries spanning the globe, from North and South America to Europe and Asia-Pacific designed to “stimulate economic progress and world trade.” They say their “goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all.” (Learn more about it here.)

Andrew Gentry at the OECD with his husband, Pascal Tesniere-Serfati

Andrew Gentry at the OECD with his husband, Pascal Tesniere-Serfati

Andrew, we wish you a happy and long life!


Until now, the Palais Galliera has been a bit of a sleepy museum, although over the years I’ve seen some pretty amazing exhibitions there. This one, and everything the museum has going for it now, is over the top! Start with the 100 Year Celebration of Vogue Paris Magazine exhibition. Even non-fashionistas will revel in it.

Entrance to 100 Years of Vogue Exhibition, Palais Galliera

100 Years of Vogue Exhibition, Palais Galliera

Condé Nast’s Vogue, which was founded in 1920, is the oldest French fashion magazine still published today…and for good reason, evidenced by this exhibit. You will be wowed from the get-go by the display of Vogue covers that span all the years, then seduced by the many beautiful photos of the world’s most beautiful women by seasoned and championed photographers such as Horst, Bourdin, Klein, Newton, Testino and a host of others. If that’s not enough, you’ll discover the special relationship the magazine had with such designers as Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, with models such as Kate Moss and actresses such as Catherine Deneuve.

Magazine covers on display at 100 Years of Vogue Exhibition, Palais Galliera

100 Years of Vogue Exhibition

It’s all eye-candy, from one beautiful image to another including the fabulous fashions themselves. But, that’s just the ground floor. Go downstairs to see the permanent collection which is hot off the press. It wasn’t available for us until this past summer, but now it’s come out of the closet and on display…a small portion of the nearly 200,000 works in the archives (clothing, accessories, photographs, drawings, etc.) reflecting clothing styles in France from the 18th-century to today. Trust me, you’ll be in awe of the fashion over centuries and the stunning presentation of what I’d call “wearable art.”

Adrian Leed's favorite dress from the Galliera Permanent Collection

Adrian’s favorite dress from the Galliera Permanent Collection

Upstairs, downstairs…still not enough? The Art of Dreams is in the garden—an installation by the sculptor Cyril Lancelin. This isn’t just any old installation. This is monumental. Titled “Remember your Dreams,” it is an immense inflatable lavender-colored structure with a surface area of 124m2, a height of 7.6 meters, considered a “surreal landscape.” It’s weird, it’s funny and it’s fun…a playground for adults.

The Art of Dreams on the garden of the Palais Galliera

The Art of Dreams on the garden of the Palais Galliera

Tomorrow I’m headed back down to Nice, my other playground. There is much to do, including a brief trip over the weekend to Saint-Tropez for the Grande Braderie des Commerçants where we hope to find things to outfit our new Fractional Ownership Property in Villefranche-sur-Mer, La Belle Terrasse. (Sale of the shares will be announced very soon, but if you wish to be on our special mailing list, email us now.)

Today, however, the architects of my building here in Paris are having my ceiling opened up AGAIN, this time with many more holes (foyer, bathroom and full length of the living room) in order to have a good look at the structure and determine why my cracks just keep coming back. There are two levels that are perched above mine and they’re afraid the beams are not solid enough. YIKES!

I’ll be leaving Paris, the dust and the patchwork ceiling behind for a couple of weeks…but I’ll be back, just like the cracks. Stay tuned!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with full, mussy, wild hairAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. If you are 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. Contact us to learn more!


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