Adrian Leeds Nouvellettre®
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Noël à Nice

I Love Nice in lights


Last week we put the finishing touches on La Lanterne du Marais, one of our Fractional Ownership properties, just in time for my partner in the project to move in and be our first “Guinea pig,” testing out every detail before the new owners take possession in January.

 Fraction property La Lanterne du Marais, Paris

La Lanterne du Marais, Paris

It’s missing a few details, such as some sort of artwork under the bookshelves, changing one cabinet’s handles from brass to silver to better match the decor, two chairs that were not delivered on time, etc. Nothing serious, but important details nonetheless. My personal goal is that every one of our apartments should be missing NOTHING, so it’s up to my partner to make his list of these tiny things…although I think we thought of just about everything, down to a fully-equipped desk with stapler, scissors, etc.

Custom La Lanterne kitchen

Our designer, Martine di Mattéo, outdid herself…but I tell her that every time she completes another project. If you want to see the photos of the now fully completed property (missing the artwork under the bookshelves, etc., visit our website to see them).

All the shares are sold, so you may have missed out of La Lanterne du Marais, but it’s not too late to consider ownership in Les Balcons Saint-Paul, a luxurious two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment on the 5th floor of a Haussmannian building with a wrap-around balcony and beautiful views. It is under full renovation as I write this, but will be ready for usage in January—likely also to be missing one or two small details, as has been “de rigueur” thanks to Covid-19 and confinement causing issues with production and distribution. At Les Balcons Saint-Paul, Martine is having a pumpkin-colored velour “fauteuil” especially made for the apartment that may not make the deadline, for example. Fortunately, this isn’t too serious, although it’s a focal point of the living room and is important to us.

Franctional property Les Balcons Saint-Paul, the pumpkin-colored fauteuil...simulated

Les Balcons Saint-Paul, the pumpkin-colored fauteuil…simulated

We will soon have another one in Paris, also in Le Marais, near rue Saint-Paul on rue Charles V, that will have usage starting in July 2022. It’s a 30 square meter one-bedroom, also on the 5th floor with lots of windows and lovely views. This part of Le Marais is mostly residential and very quiet, but steps to Village Saint-Paul and from La Seine, and therefore just opposite Ile Saint-Louis. In other words, the location is superb. The project is so new that it doesn’t have a name yet, but for now we can call it “Le Charles V.” If you are interested in this property, be sure to email us to be put on a special mailing list so that you will be one of the first to know about it when the shares go on sale.


Details of this coming year’s North American Expat Financial Forum Quarterly Seminars in 2022 are just coming out. Join us for just one hour during which the team at Dunhill Financial and the Adrian Leeds Group pinpoint topics which specifically concern North American expatriates living in France. We’ll be discussing real estate and tax issues for North Americans wanting to move to France, or who are already living here.

Our speakers include Brian Dunhill of Dunhill Financial, Adrian Leeds of the Adrian Leeds Group—“French Property the American Way,” myself. Each quarter, we will discuss a different topic and offer you a guest speaker. Our first one is scheduled for February 9th, 2022. You can also mark your calendar now for the others: May 4th, August 10th and November 9th. It will be on Zoom at 7 p.m. France CET/CEST, 10 a.m. PST/PDT and 1 p.m. EST/PDT, depending on whether it’s Daylight Savings Time or not. We’ll announce more details as we get closer to the dates, but plan for it now so you won’t miss them!

Logo for the quarterly North American Expats Financial Forums for 2022


From one Emily in Paris to another…just speaking French isn’t enough to understand the intricacies of the locals, but it’s definitely a good place to start. Famously defended by armed “immortals” of the Académie Française (no, we’re not making this up) the French language is filled with clues that show interested outsiders what, exactly, makes the French tick. Each episode, listen in as Emily Monaco and an expert take a deep dive into a word that helps us gain a keener understanding of the French.

Sunday, on the Paris Underground Radio, Janet Hulstrand, author of Demystifying the French, was interviewed on the topic of “Navigating CORRECT” (among others). Janet quotes me when she talks about the difference between English Law and Napoleonic Code, which is covered in greater depth in her book (don’t forget to buy it!), so if you really want to have fun with the cultural clashes we can expect, tune in to

Meme for Janet Hulstrand on Paris Underground, Navigating Correct


I trained down to Nice last Thursday and found lots of sun and blue skies, beautiful Christmas lights and a whole lot of good cheer, not to mention great food! Music was everywhere, even in Galeries Lafayette where a band played and moved from floor to floor.

Music at Galeries Lafayette

Music at Galeries Lafayette

The Christmas lights are exceptional this year, all over town, but particularly in and around Place Masséna. There is a massive Christmas Village Market (open until January 2nd) with 60 “chalets” in the Jardin Albert 1er and on the Place Masséna housing a wide range of handicrafts mainly featuring Christmas products as well as a larger tasting area with mulled wine, Christmas beers, delicatessen and cheeses, oyster bar, champagne and other specialties, socca, waffles…etc. The classic Ferris Wheel punctuates the Village and lights up the night sky. It’s cordoned off and entry is a simple “Passe Sanitaire” away, but we didn’t bother with the market.

"Santas" at Place Masséna

“Santas” at Place Masséna

The Ferris Wheel at the Nice Christmas Village

The Ferris Wheel at the Nice Christmas Village

Instead, we strolled through a monumental structure positioned directly on the water mirror (what is normally a fountain on the Promenade de Paillon) called “Le Miroir aux Étoiles.” This structure, a true sensory experience, is made up of 78,000 meters of garlands, 2,177 meters of fir trees, 1,518 motifs and 3,800,000 LED lights! A carpet has been laid directly on the water, so it’s a bit squishy, but walkable.

Le Miroir aux Etoiles, on the Promenade de Paillon

Le Miroir aux Etoiles, on the Promenade de Paillon

Le Miroir aux Etoiles, on the Promenade de Paillon in Nice France

Le Miroir aux Etoiles, on the Promenade de Paillon

In addition to this, the city has added 2,648 meters of garland in the streets of the old city, seven “luminous doors” on the outskirts of the Old Town (rue de la Préfecture, Marché, Centrale, Saint François, Pairolière, Sincaire and la Porte Fausse), a large garland of more than 30 meters crossing the whole of Rossetti square, fir trees on all the candelabras of the Place du Palais de Justice (like Massenet and Ségurane streets) and an illuminated tree of 10 meters high installed on the Garibaldi square. It doesn’t stop there, as four more trees have been illuminated: Place Randon, Saint Antoine de Ginestière, Halte de Gairaut and Saint Isidore. In all, 193 trees have been illuminated throughout the city (excluding the Promenade des Anglais) and 45 Christmas trees are decorated and deployed throughout the city. It’s impressive, to say the least, not to mention very “illuminating.”

Read more about it here.

Saturday afternoon we hopped the Number 15 bus from Nice to the end of the line—Le Port de Plaisance of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat…just for lunch at Léo Léa. Famous for their beef and home-made fries, of which you get a copious portion, it’s worth a detour. (Léo Léa, Port de Plaisance, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Tél: +33 4 93 85 79 50, Email: [email protected])

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat Panorama

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat Panorama

Restaurant Léo Léa

Restaurant Léo Léa

We also managed to sneak in two amazing meals at two of Armand Crespo’s restaurants: Le Bistrot d’Antoine (27 Rue de la Préfecture, 06300 Nice) and Le Comptoir du Marché (8, rue du Marché, 06000 Nice). These are seriously yummy for cuisine that is hearty yet refined, creative yet simple…words cannot describe the pleasure of dining at these or any of M. Crespo’s…not to mention that they are ridiculously inexpensive. Two courses with wine and coffee will run you about 30€. Here’s a great article from Nice-Matin (in French) from this past summer all about him.

Magret de Canard, à la Armand Crespo

Magret de Canard, à la Armand Crespo

Armand Crespo from Nice Matin

Armand Crespo from Nice Matin

Some of the beachside restaurants in Nice are serving at this time of year, even if just simple salads. On Sunday it was warm enough to dine al-fresco in the sun directly on the “galets” (pebbles) while watching the goings-on: a Santa in a kayak on the sea, a woman in a bikini swimming in 12° water, a parasail in the middle of the sun’s reflection and whatever else you might not expect. This is when one thinks, “What could possibly be bad about this!?” “Nothing” is the answer.

Santa kayaking on the sea

Santa kayaking on the sea

A bikini on the beach in Nice France

A bikini on the beach in Nice

Parasailing in the sunlight

With Christmas and New Year around the corner, now is a good time to reflect on how you want your future to play out. Do you want to keep doing what you’re doing, or do you want to have the life we have here in France? It may not be perfect, but it’s pretty close to heaven, nonetheless.


A la prochaine…

Adrian with her "God-child," Simone Dyer in NiceAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with her “God-child,” Simone Dyer in Nice


P.S. Correction: In last Wednesday’s Nouvellettre®, I wrote: “She gave many examples of how the French cherish him and his films to an extreme, including a story about how recently at the Cannes Film Festival, she almost missed seeing the screening of his new film “A Rainy Day in New York” because of a medical situation finding her in an emergency room…but once they found out why she needed to leave as soon as possible, the medics sped up their duties and got her out the door in time…all thanks to Woody!”

I stand corrected. For the record, the Woody film she was desperate to get out of the Cannes hospital in time to see at the morning press screening was 2016’s “Café Society.” (“A Rainy Day in New York” wasn’t shown in Cannes.)

Special note: Thanks to Lisa Nesselson for introducing me to Woody Allen’s autobiography, Apropos of Nothing. It is perhaps the funniest book I’ve ever read, although I am listening to the audiobook and it’s read in his voice—which makes it very, very special to hear it from him with his own voice and tone. I listened as I sat on the train to Nice on Thursday and am sure everyone on the train thought I was nuts as I laughed through it out loud! I highly recommend it, regardless of what you think about Woody Allen, and suspect it might change your mind.


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