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Life-Changing Experiences

Fractional property Le Palais du Soleil in Nice under construction
Le Palais du Soleil Fractional Ownership Apartment in Nice Under Construction

My life is under construction. My Paris apartment is shored up, creating a kind of jail behind 19 poles, and my Nice apartment is under “ravalement” (resurfacing of the building) rendering the windows shut tight and completely encased in protective material. Le Palais du Soleil is under massive renovation with new windows having been installed this past week. It has only a few weeks to go before it will be ready for occupancy for its 13 owners. And while it might not look like it from this photo, it will be ready!

All this keeps me on my toes with never a dull moment, about which I can’t complain. It’s life in France, with all its hills and valleys.


Women of a certain age, such as myself, have certainly passed the child-bearing years, but still carry the burden of the reproductive organs, even though they are no longer useful. I first encountered my body going in reverse years ago and started to replenish a lack of hormones with drugs—something women know as “HRT”—or Hormone Replacement Therapy.

That kept me on the straight and narrow for a long time until the pharmaceutical company stopped making one of the drugs I was taking, so I had to find a replacement. That created such havoc that I found myself in the emergency room with the symptoms a 13 year-old might have her first time realizing she’s a woman. With that came some basic tests.

One of our clients happens to be a specialist in menopause. How convenient to have expert advice at my fingertips! She’s such an important guru in the past-the-age-of-reproduction, that they call her “Menopause Taylor,” although we like to call her “Menopause Barbie.”

Barbie lives in Nice and once you’ve seen her, you won’t forget her. She is always dressed in Victorian clothing from head to toe, as if she stepped out of the 1800s when Queen Victoria ruled England. She has the most gorgeous collection of hats and lace dresses stuffed into a big closet in her bourgeois apartment, not to mention shelves and shelves of delicate period-style shoes. I was overwhelmed by her collection. No wonder she has purchased an apartment three times the size of her current digs, to house her wardrobe and as it turns out, her instructional props.

Barbie is a lot more than a model for the Victorian era. She is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist who retired from active practice in 2001 due to severe arthritis. Despite the fact that she had a law degree and a master’s in business at the time of her retirement, her true passion has always been helping women. Good for me, because I needed her knowledge and her talent to set me right again.

In 2008, she published the first edition of her book, Menopause: Your Management Your Way…Now and for the Rest of Your Life (now in its second edition), and developed a 12-hour menopause seminar. In June 2016, she began delivering her unbiased, comprehensive education on menopause on YouTube. I was lucky enough to schedule a one-on-one consultation.

The menopause book by Barbie Taylor

To prepare me, she sent me a 99-page document to read. “Barbie,” I emailed, “I don’t have time to read 99 pages!”

She quickly responded, “Start at the beginning. It will read like a great novel that you can’t put down. (Women actually tell me this!)”

She was right. I did read and I did find it even better than a novel, because it was so informative. I went prepared to our consultation, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the props and gadgets she had waiting to help explain how our bodies work…or don’t work well.

Menopause Barbie with her fun objects for a consultation

Our two hours face-to-face talking about a woman’s reproductive system, and in particular, mine, which had outlived its usefulness many years ago, was the kind of fun one doesn’t normally have with a medical practitioner. And seriously enlightening, too. In all these years, not one doctor had diagnosed the issue, nor encouraged me to dig deeper into my issues, nor fully explained why I was taking the drugs I was taking…at least not in quite the same way.

Now, I’ve got a plan and it feels very reassuring to know that ultimately this is going to help me live a much longer and healthier life. This is hardly a sales pitch for Menopause Barbie, although I can’t deny I had an amazing experience. But it is a wake-up call for women of a certain age to pay attention to their bodies and get the help they need to take what seems like being past our prime, but discovering a new and better prime!


This Wednesday, December 7th, set your clocks for 3:30 p.m. Paris time (6:30 a.m. PST, 9:30 a.m. EST) to tune into the Expat Women’s Workshop hosted by Anya Berezow, a Certified Financial Planner™ at Dunhill Financial featuring…me as speaker!

Anya Berezow of Dunhill Financial

I have been asked to talk about my [incredible] journey to a [successful] life in France as a real estate expert. I also will also discuss the current state of real estate and talk about practical tips for those who are looking to buy property in France.

Promo meme for Adrian Leeds speaking for the Expat Women's Workshop, sponsored by Dunhill Financial

For more information and to register for the workshop, visit our website and follow the links!

Note: If you miss it because the time is not convenient for you, it will be recorded so you can watch it at your own leisure.


I’m so jealous. French President Emmanuel Macron will be visiting my hometown this weekend, the first visit by a French president since 1976 (Valery Giscard d’Estaing), and only the third time ever! French President Charles de Gaulle visited New Orleans in 1960. This trip by Macron is part of his state visit, the first during President Joe Biden’s term.

Valery Giscard d'Estaing visiting New Orleans in 1976

I have visions of Macron eating Gulf oysters on the half-shell only to discover how much better they are than French oysters! And that vision makes me very envious indeed.

A platter of Gulf oysters

A platter of Gulf oysters

A platter of French oysters

A platter of French oysters

According to the reports from major press, this is his attempt to show off France’s cultural and social imprint in the United States, while announcing a fund to finance French language education. Meanwhile, he is sure to tour the French Quarter and hopefully listen to jazz, seeing as New Orleans is the birthplace of the music that the French love most. It’s thanks to the African-American soldiers during World War I who brought the new lively sound to France that they embraced after the horrors of the war.

French President, Emmanuel Macron

There are historic ties between Louisiana and France, as we all know. The territory was founded in 1718 and then claimed by France, before Napoleon sold it to the U.S. in 1803, known as the Louisiana Purchase. On top of that are the Creole and Cajun communities with which France has ties.

When I was a kid, French was taught in the grammar schools via a television screen via the “Parlons Français’’ project. The teacher was Madame Anne Slack. She was memorable as a young woman with a large bouffant hairstyle and perfectly manicured red nails. Sadly, she died at the age of 94 in 2010. Thanks to Madame Slack, two million kids in the 1950s and 1960s across the U.S. learned to “écouter” and “répéter.” This was pretty progressive at the time, and was life-changing for many of us—including my own interest in French and France.

Black and white Photo of Madame Anne Slack

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds dressed in polkadotsAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. Ready to have a life-changing experience? 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 Comment

  1. Melanie on January 4, 2023 at 8:15 am

    I’ve been reading your blog for years fantasizing about living in France one day; however, this one changed my life. Thank you for introducing me to Menopause Taylor. Finally a source of information to deal with this stage of life. I’ve been to so many doctors over the last several years who never mention menopause and change the subject when I bring it up.

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