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Music, Music, Everywhere, Etc., Etc…

String sextet performing for Arte Music


Yep, I was nuts. If you read last Monday’s Nouvellettre® then you know that I made a full price offer on a small apartment directly above mine on the 4th floor with the idea of combining the two apartments and creating a “duplex.”

It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time and to confirm that, Martine di Mattéo (interior designer) and Nicole Champagnol (architect) came Tuesday morning to evaluate the possibilities and provide advice. Both of them were very enthusiastic and confirmed that it was entirely possible to connect the two apartments with a real staircase, raise the ceilings in the 4th floor apartment, open the shaft and skylight and potentially create a terrace. The options were thrilling…then we got to thinking.

The bottom line was that it just wasn’t going to work for our needs. Erica and I determined that we needed our own spaces and that meant finding an apartment for her, preferably with a lift, that I could switch with her later if and when my 70 stairs became a burden. So, I politely and appreciatively retracted the offer and will now set out to find the perfect apartment in the neighborhood. As you might imagine, my team is already working on it!


Joe Siart, author of My Property Payday: Turn Your Spaces into Rental Income, was the guest speaker for our Second Quarter North American Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forum last Thursday evening.

Joe Siart holding a copy of his book

We had a surprisingly large turn-out for such a specific topic—but maybe it’s not so surprising that so many people are interested in how to generate a revenue from their property, especially property owned in France. It’s become more and more of a challenge as city and country administrators scramble to find badly-needed housing for full-time residents by clamping down on short-term rentals.

Joe outlined the advice given in his new book and we answered questions from the participants of the webinar. You can watch the video of the webinar on our YouTube channel.
And also on Dunhill Financial’s YouTube channel.

And for the questions NOT answered during the webinar, be sure to read this week’s French Property Insider as I’ll address a few of them there.

As a subscriber to the Adrian Leeds Group Nouvellettre® and Dunhill Financial newsletters, Joe Siart is offering you 40% OFF the eBook presented on our Financial Forum webinar: My Property Payday- Turn your Spaces into Rental Income, France edition! The electronic version includes more than 1,000 links to providers, tools, and platforms to help you, in addition to the regulations and tax aspects referenced.

Here’s how you get your copy for just $5.99! Click on “buy without coupon:”

• Create a Smashwords account
• Tick the boxes and click on “Proceed to Purchase” on the bottom-right
• In the ‘Coupon code’ box of the book, enter “HJ82A”
• Complete ‘purchase’ which should be a zero amount
• Visit your Library and you should see the book there
• Download to your favorite reader. The Epub format works on practically every device and computer. For example, if you have an iPad or iPhone, you can use Apple’s free Apple Books app

We hope you find his book beneficial. If you do, please rate the book on Amazon or review it on Goodreads.


The annual festival of Fête de la Musique seemed very different than in years past, and I found it a bit disappointing. I’m no longer 30 years old and find myself more interested in music of my own era and hearing live music rather than the DJ set-ups which were at most corners, bars and cafés. In years past, Place des Vosges was THE perfect spot to hear classical music, but that wasn’t the case this year…the usual choral groups were missing as were the sing-alongs. There was one group of (mostly) women singers we enjoyed and a jazz band that was pretty good, but the rest were just noise-makers (in my opinion).

The women’s group singing at Place des Vosges

The weather turned out to be perfectly comfortable and rainless, leaving the sky mottled with clouds and turning everything pink as the sun set very late—about 11 p.m. The streets in Le Marais were busier for the summer solstice than I ever remembered them, particularly in our part of the “hood.” At one point, on my way home after having done our tour of music venues, getting through the crowd on my own street became a test of endurance and perseverance. I inched my way through, and when I finally exited the crowd, I found my daughter waiting on the corner with a big smile on her face, who laughingly remarked, “We were wondering if you were going to be able to get through that unscathed!” At one point I wasn’t so sure myself.

The crowd on rue de Saintonge

The crowd on rue de Saintonge

The music pounding outside our windows made the entire building vibrate. It seemed the windows might actually break, and with the structural problems in the apartment, there was cause for concern. At 1 a.m. the music was still as loud as ever. Earplugs, sleeping pills and a pillow over my head were necessary to fall asleep. In the morning, the street was a mass of trash.

Music became the theme of the entire weekend. American composer Scott Starrett invited me to a free concert at the Hôtel de Sauroy (58 rue Charlot, 75003 Paris). Six string musicians played Tchaikovsky and Brahms in the stately 17th-century courtyard on a beautifully warm evening. We joked that we both had a “long commute” to get there—he’s living on rue Charlot just steps away, and I came from just around the corner. It couldn’t have been easier.

People living in the building had their windows open and were watching/listening from their eyries on high. One of the musician’s young son, dressed in an oversized suit with a flower in his lapel and large glasses, looking very debonair and adorable, was taking photos and videos of the scene. He was a treat to watch as the music filled the air.

Both the quality of the musical talent and the acoustics in the courtyard, mixed with the perfect setting, couldn’t have been more delightful on every level. We also remarked that an event such as this could never have happened in the U.S. It simply wouldn’t have been possible, and how lucky we were to have the opportunity—all free of charge. This was thanks to the Association Musicale ArteMusica Paris.

Arte Musica in the courtyard at the Hôtel de Sauroy

Arte Musica in the courtyard at the Hôtel de Sauroy

Sunday afternoon, Lisa Anselmo and I walked along the quais Jemmapes and Valmy of the Canal Saint-Martin to hear and see the choral groups as part of the “Voix sur Berges” event. Singing from 10 a.m. to midday, with more than 20 venues and 200 groups, on a gloriously sunny, warm afternoon…what could be more enjoyable than that? The city was out in force as one might expect on such a beautiful day—long awaited!

The Canal Saint Martin in Paris

The Canal Saint Martin

Lisa is a formidable singer herself, having studied opera and classical singing from an early age. This was particularly fun for her, but it became actually funny as we ventured from one group to the next. As Lisa put it, “They sing as if they might wake up the baby.” One group was singing The Age of Aquarius by The 5th Dimension. It was tough to recognize the song since that’s a song that needs to be belted out, not whispered as if too embarrassed…as it was by this group. We decided it must be cultural. I have often noticed that the French (on the whole) just can’t quite let themselves go like we can at the drop of a hat! I’ve been to many concerts of rhythm and blues, jazz and even pop where most of the crowd is sitting or standing perfectly still when I can’t stop moving in my seat! You can always tell who the Americans are, because they’re the ones rockin’ and rollin’. It’s the most incredulous thing…for someone like me who grew up dancing in the streets…at Mardi Gras, any festival and even at funerals in New Orleans!


The Franco-American artist, JR, never ceases to amaze with his brilliant projects. This one might have surpassed all of his others—The Tehachapi Prison Project.

In spite of the beautiful weather, Erica and I went into the cinema to see the new documentary film about his project: “In October 2019, JR obtained unprecedented authorization to intervene in one of the most violent high-security prisons in California: Tehachapi. Some of the inmates there are serving life sentences for crimes committed when they were minors. Through his fresco project, JR brought together the portraits and stories of these men, offering a different perspective on the prison environment and with it, brought a message of hope and possible redemption.” (Source)

What you might not know is that the US accounts for 4.2% of the world’s population and 20% of the world’s prisoners. The reason for that is largely because the prison system is privatized. “Private for-profit prisons incarcerated 90,873 American residents in 2022, representing 8% of the total state and federal prison population. Since 2000, the number of people housed in private prisons has increased 5%.” (Source)

It’s shocking, and the system continues to perpetuate itself, with little hope for rehabilitation. This film is a MUST SEE! It first premiered at the 2023 Telluride Film Festival, and was released in theaters across France just two weeks ago. Watch for it when it comes to the U.S. and DON’T MISS IT! JR is a force with which to be reckoned! I can’t think of another artist who has been as influential or changed as many lives for the better. And this is a guy that started on the street and sees the street as his medium for the message. I admire him greatly, as everyone should!


On top of it all, it’s been Fashion Week in Paris and that makes for some interesting people-watching. My district is where most of the pop-up showrooms are and therefore the Fashionistas fill the streets…and for sure, at Café Charlot. Even for regulars such as myself, it was tough to get a table at times.

The Fashionistas crack me up—I call them “The Aliens.” Immediately it’s obvious that they are not Parisians! There are always a whole lot of very tall, very skinny, very unpretty women who we must assume are the runway models. Then, there are the guys dressed just about as strangely as any man (or woman) might be, and it’s not attractive. Being very loud and taking photos of themselves at every turn are the women Fashionistas in clothing that is clearly “curated” wearing shoes that don’t maneuver the cobblestones very well. It’s a scene, that’s for sure! And amusing to say the least.

Photos of Fashionistas on the streets of Le Marais by Erica Simone (

Photos of Fashionistas on the streets of Le Marais by Erica Simone

Photos of Fashionistas on the streets of Le Marais by Erica Simone (

Photos of Fashionistas on the streets of Le Marais by Erica Simone

Come see it for yourself sometime!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds at Cafe Charlot in ParisAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. Are you considering retirement in France? Don’t do it lightly. Let us help you make the smartest decisions to ensure you create the best retirement plan you can. We can expertly advise you on a variety of topics you’ll need to consider. Contact us to learn more.


1 Comment

  1. Mary McKinley on June 24, 2024 at 2:32 pm

    Great newsletter, alway. However, au contraire, it DOES happen in the US and also most major cities around the world. This from Wikipedia: ‘In the United States, the Make Music Alliance was formed in 2014 to help coordinate efforts across the country. In 2023 there were 4,791 free concerts held across 117 U.S. cities, with over 100 in Cincinnati, Madison, New York City, Philadelphia, and Salem.’

    But I’m a little older than you and didn’t really enjoy all the noise making until the wee hours here in Tours, either.

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