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Parler Parlor is Back in Business (And Other News)

Website meme for the Parler Parlor conversation group


In February 1998, I paid a visit to the director of the Berlitz office on the Champs Elysées to pitch the development of a website for Berlitz. Her name was Marie-Elisabeth Crochard, she spoke perfect English having lived Stateside for many years, and I liked her immediately.

Before leaving her office, I explained that I had an idea to start a French-English conversation group and was looking for a venue—one in which there were small rooms, each with a table and chairs to seat about six people. The Berlitz offices were exactly that.

In these exact words, Marie-Elisabeth said, “You just found it.”

Marie Elisabeth Crochard and Adrian Leeds

One month later, we launched the conversation group from her offices and the rest was history. For 20 years, together we ran the group two or three times a week in a variety of different locations, mostly in language schools and sometimes in cafés. Her health didn’t let her continue, and my free time became non-existent, so the conversation group disappeared. It was really a shame, because the system worked so well. In fact, this is how I learned to speak French, as I never took any courses.

Now, the Nice community has grown by such leaps and bounds that there’s plenty of room and need for a French-English conversation group. The elements to bring Parler Parlor back to life all came together when we discovered Katie Friedland and Restaurant Oscar. Katie is the perfect person to run the group and Restaurant Oscar is the perfect place in which to hold it. She is adopting the same name and same system—”Parler Parlor.”

Of course, we’re supporting the effort 100%! You can mark your calendar for it’s launch on January 27th, 2024…just a few weeks away.

Katie Friedland

Katie Friedland

Parler Parlor is the easiest and fastest way of learning “la langue Française…”

If you’re living in France, even part-time, it will make a big difference if you can speak French…at least a little. More and more French people speak reasonably good English, but you can never really be a part of France without a certain level of the language. You can enroll in a language school, or take private lessons or even immersion courses to get up to speed, but until you actually let it roll off your tongue, all of that time and energy you spent will ultimately be wasted when it comes to speaking and understanding French in everyday life.

Don’t assume that three months in a good crash course in French will turn you into a fluent speaker. Unless you are nine years old with a brain like a sponge, it will take years to learn this language well. And besides, who wants to spend all their time in France in a classroom suffering over the “subjonctif?”

My advice is to relax, take courses or lessons at an easy pace, and let osmosis at Parler Parlor do the rest, while you enjoy every minute of your new life in France.

The system is simple, proven, and effective, yet it’s hard to find elsewhere. We don’t know why, because it’s the one system of practicing that REALLY WORKS. On top of that, it’s fun and a fabulous way of making friends, both Anglophones and Francophones alike.

Here’s how it works:

Groups of approximately six people are formed by a coordinator (Katie) balancing Anglophones with Francophones—as well as she can depending on who arrives at that session. Usually there are several groups, but we never know who will come, nor how many, and there is no predicting it either!

Once the groups are formed, each group is on their own to decide to start in either French or English. For 45 minutes, they speak in one language, then switch to the other for the last 45 minutes. So, it’s just an-hour-and-a-half out of your day for a lot of benefit!

Any topics can be discussed. No one needs to provide themes. Believe me, anything goes and does! You put six people together and the conversation automatically begins. It doesn’t matter what language you begin with and what you talk about. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t speak at all and only want to listen, because maybe that’s all you CAN do! (I sat there for two years without uttering a sound!)

No teacher is correcting you, but everyone in the group is there for support, everyone helps each other. If you were to be constantly corrected for faults, you’d never get French (or English) out of your mouth, so this is a much better system to feel comfortable with speaking, even if not so perfect!

Meanwhile, you’re hearing the language spoken correctly by the native speakers and that makes it much easier to learn and absorb. And because everyone is there for the same reason, there’s no reason to feel embarrassed or intimidated, so it really helps you let loose with your tongue!

Here’s how to get involved:

Your first session is FREE! You can’t resist that, can you? You have no excuse for not trying it at least once!

After that, you subscribe by purchasing 10 sessions at a discount. Your membership card will get checked off each time you come.


If you bring a French native speaker friend—who comes for free their first time—your session will be free, too! This is because we know more Anglophones than Francophones. But this offer may not last forever!

Location: Right in the heart of Nice
Upstairs at Oscar Restaurant
15 Rue Masséna, 06000 Nice
Tram Lines 1 and 2, Buses 5, 8, 12, 38, 57

When: Sessions are twice weekly (excluding holidays)

Beginning Saturday, January 27, 2024, 10:15 a.m
Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturdays from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Special Note: On the Nice Après- Midi weeks (the 4th Thursday of each month), we will meet on Tuesday afternoon that week rather than Thursday.

Membership details:

A 10-session card: 100€ (Cash only, please. We cannot accept checks or credit cards.)

It’s easy to join the conversation group. The first time you come is FREE and you are welcome to come as often as you like!

Here are a few guidelines to a successful group:

• Please be on time. Arrive 5 minutes ahead! It is disruptive to the groups in session to be added or rearranged to accommodate you
• The group should consist of 5 to 7 participants, as well-balanced Anglophone/Francophone as possible
• When you speak, try to speak slowly and clearly to be easily understood
• Only one person should speak at a time. Please avoid speaking to someone in the group while someone else already “has the floor”
• Invite everyone to participate and do not monopolize the conversation, especially in your native language. Everyone should have the chance to speak and practice speaking as much as they want in their second language
• Start in any language you wish by consensus of the group. Change from one language to the other at half-time (45 minutes) or when it seems appropriate
• Sometimes when a group is unbalanced by Anglophones vs. Francophones, you may want to compensate by spending more time in the language most group members want to practice speaking
• Don’t be scared or intimidated by your level of French or English. You have to start SOMEWHERE and remember, everyone is there for the same reason. You’re not alone!

Special Note: Anyone attending Parler Parlor must order at least one drink to support our host café as they are offering this space for us for free. Your presence indicates your willingness to participate.

I will be there for the first session and after that, it’s all Katie’s! I do hope you will come and bring a few friends!

Questions or for more information visit our website, and/or email Katie directly.


You have until April 28th to to see the Iris Van Herpen exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD)—”Sculpting the Senses“—and you won’t want to miss it. My jaw hung open throughout the entire display of more than 100 of the fashion designer’s creations, one more mind bogglingly beautiful and fascinating than the next, as I oohed and aahed with astonishment and wonder.

Outfit on display at the Iris Van-Herpen exhibit at MAD in Paris

“A pioneer in the use of new technologies in her discipline, Iris van Herpen transgresses the conventional norms of clothing, open to both traditional and forward-looking know-how.”

Born in 1984 in Holland, at a young age she became a renowned fashion designer celebrated for seamlessly integrating technology with traditional haute couture craftsmanship. Establishing her label in 2007, she made a significant mark on the fashion industry and in 2011, she attained the status of a guest member of the Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, an integral part of the Fédération Française de la Couture. Her influential work has found a place in esteemed institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris…and now at the MAD.

Outfit on display at the Iris Van-Herpen exhibit at MAD in Paris

Integrated throughout the exhibition are sculptures and creations by contemporary artists such as Philip Beesley, Collectif Mé, Wim Delvoye, Rogan Brown, Kate MccGwire, Damien Jalet, Kohei Nawa, Casey Curran, Jacques Rougerie, as well as design creations by Neri Oxman, Ren Ri, Ferruccio Laviani and Tomáš Libertíny, and pieces from the natural sciences such as coral and fossils creating a unique resonance with historical pieces…that either inspired Van Herpen or mirror her own in some way.

Outfit on display at the Iris Van-Herpen exhibit at MAD in Paris

Not only should you not miss it, but it deserves to be visited more than once! I certainly hope to do it again before it’s over!

Outfit on display at the Iris Van-Herpen exhibit at MAD in Paris


Take a “Voyage” with a good Samaritaine…the restaurant on the top floor of La Samaritaine Department Store for a special treat. Voyage is illuminated under the emblematic Art Nouveau glass roof on the fifth floor, in front of the iconic peacock frescos in an eclectic 1,000 square meter space that “breaks down boundaries, a place where fine cuisine, mixology, the arts, poetry and music meet.”

The restaurant Voyage at La Samaritaine in Paris

On the way up, make a stop to circle the fourth floor shoe department for the wearable art that will literally “knock your socks off,” by such designers as Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and a host of others (most one cannot afford, nor actually wear, but are total eye candy).

View of the shoe department at La Samaritaine in Paris

The restaurant designed by architects Jean-Michel Wilmotte et Associés, is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week, with different atmospheres and changing menus to suit different tastes throughout the day. In this constantly evolving space, chefs are shaping the revival of international cuisine under the direction of Mathieu Viannay (Meilleur Ouvrier de France and 2 Michelin stars) and Jimmy Elisabeth (Executive Chef of Voyage).

The regularly-updated Voyage menu offers a variety of culinary destinations throughout the year. A menu of cocktails, with or without alcohol, signed by renowned mixologist Matthias Giroud, inspired by a vast library of wines and spirits, featuring the collection of the Moët Hennessy Houses.

Saint Jacques served at restaurant Voyage in La Samaritaine in Paris

Try to score a table at the railing for the ultimate view of the restored Art Nouveau department store and enjoy a sumptuous meal at a reasonable price.


We have only one life to live, at least in this physical body of ours, which doesn’t always cooperate as we’d hoped. It is with indescribable sadness that I learned Saturday night of the very premature passing of my 50 year-old niece, Shari Devorah Linnick, at the hands of an unstoppable and aggressive cancer that attacked and took her life within only six months time.

She was a commercial real estate finance professional with expertise in CMBS transactions (commercial mortgage-backed securities), real estate capital markets, financial analysis and investment, sales and leasing. She was also an adjunct Instructor at the NYU School of Professional Studies. Her jobs required the kind of brilliant mind that she had, but more importantly, she was a very special warm and loving human being with whom I became very close in the last 10 years, while living in France.

Adrian Leeds' niece Shari Devorah Linnick

Shari made many friends of my staff and other friends as she invested in French property as part of her pleasure. I often called her “a property junkie” as she couldn’t resist a good property that suited her New York taste. In fact, she, my daughter and I filmed a TV episode eight years ago for Tiny House Nation on the network FYI. It was about the little studio apartment she had bought in Paris from me in 2015. You can watch a short trailer from the show here.

Shortly before she died, she married the love of her life, George O., at a New York Court House, with the entire family on Zoom watching from afar.

I devote this Nouvellettre® to Shari Devorah Linnick, a warm, loving, brilliant and insightful woman who will remain forever in my heart, and to remembering always that our lives are precious. We must live every single day as if it is our last…just like she did.

Special Note: Do not feel it necessary to send condolences, but if you want to do something, either make a donation to your favorite charity, or email me to be notified of Shari’s favorite charity (being set up now), or do something good for another victim of cancer…there are too many of them out there to count. It’s simply not fair.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with niece, Shari, and Simone Dyer in NiceAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with niece, Shari, and Simone Dyer in Nice

P.S. I’ll be in Los Angeles February 28th and 29th and will accept in-person consultations those days at a location on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica at 10 a.m. If you are interested in booking this time with me, email us today.


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