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Reopening in France Can’t Come Soon Enough

Al Fresco dining in front of Adrian's apartment building in Nice, Summer 2020
Al Fresco dining in front of Adrian's apartment building in Nice, Summer 2020

FUNCTIONAL ART AFRICAN STYLE

I thought I heard a familiar voice coming from the television and it turned out to be Jean Servais Somian. He’s an Ivory Coast artist/woodworker/cabinetmaker who turns materials such as coconut, ebony or amazaque wood, but also certain objects from everyday African life such as basins, sponges or old fishermen’s dugouts, into beautiful and functional furnishings.

Wooden console by Jean Servais Somian

Wooden console by Jean Servais Somian

I met Jean Servais at a party of an artist friend’s about 20 years ago. I fell in love with him and his work, then fell in love with a coffee table he made by hand that has graced my living room ever since. (You’ve seen it on dozens of House Hunters International episodes when the clients are in my living room discussing their project!) The wood is hand-carved ebony, the legs are hand-forged iron resembling the Eiffel Tower and the top is glass. His work is both primitive and refined—a perfect blend of his Franco-African upbringing.

Coffee table by Jean Servais Somain, owned by Adrian Leeds and appears on House Hunters International

Coffee table by Jean Servais Somian

Any piece you have will become the focal point of your decor and is sure to get lots of love and attention. To learn more about his work, visit his website. You can also watch a France 24 report on Jean by visiting their website.

Intervew with Jean Servais Somian on France 24 TV

A BITCHE OF A FACEBOOK PROBLEM

Want a good laugh? There’s a town in France named “Bitche,” but Facebook doesn’t like it. Their page was taken down for the obvious reason…but get real, Facebook. Bitche is a commune in the Moselle department of the Grand Est administrative region in north-eastern France with a population of about 5,000. It was a fortress named after the siege of Bitche during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and 1871. The page is back now, btw. Visit it here.

The fortified town of Bitche in France

FRANCE REOPENING CAN’T BE SOON ENOUGH

We’re slowly losing our minds, at least I am. Here I am in Nice, the sea and sun at my toes, with all the restaurants and cafés shut tight except for a bit of take-out…but, no terraces on which we can hang out, have lunch or coffee, work on our laptops or just people watch. It’s depressing, to say the least. Fortunately, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel as the officials are now saying mid-May is the target for opening up again.

Café Beaubourg in Paris closed up tight

Café Beaubourg in Paris closed up tight

Primary schools and nurseries will reopen after the rescheduled Easter break on April 26th. May 3rd, secondary and high schools will have a further week of distance learning and then restart in-person teaching from Monday, May 3rd. Parents must be thrilled to hear this.

Mid-May we will see a phased reopening, with café and restaurant terraces to be among the first phases of the plan. Yeah! Then to follow will be the gradual reopening for venues of culture, sport, leisure and events. Between June 1st and 15th, we hope to have restaurant and café interiors open up, too. OMG, bless the powers that be!

I can already imagine myself back at my usual table at Café Charlot in Paris letting one of their cute waiters serve up something yummy while I work on my laptop or visit with a friend or colleague. Maybe my refrigerator will go from full to the brim to only housing a few eggs and something to drink…maybe just a piece of fruit or two for a snack like in the “old days.” Wouldn’t that be nice? No more dirty dishes, no more solo dining of badly-made home cooking on a tray table in bed. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to have a normal life. Now, this gives us hope!

Adrian Leeds' refrigerator full to overflowing in Paris France

Good weather is what the authorities are counting on. As long as it warms up, then we’re freer to gather outdoors and there is less of a risk. Start your prayers now. Happy Covid-free summer 2021 here we come!

The outdoor terrace at Café Charlot in Paris France

Meanwhile, good news is out there for everyone! French President Emmanuel Macron spoke in English on CBS News Face the Nation with plans to ease the restrictions for vaccinated travelers.

“We will progressively lift the restrictions of the beginning of May, which means that we will organize in the summer time with our professionals in France for French European citizens, but as well for American citizens,” Macron said. “So we are working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated, so with a special pass, I would say. The idea indeed is altogether to offer that to the American citizen when they decide to vaccinate or with a PCR test being negative,” he said. “So the idea is indeed to always control the virus, to maximize the vaccination and to progressively lift the restrictions.”

French president Emmanuel Macron on Face the Nation

Watch the entire interview on Face the Nation.

Word of caution: I suspect all hell with break loose the moment we can break out of our cocoons. So, beware of screwing up, getting too loose and watching the Covid-19 cases rise again, sending us back into hiding. The difference this time around is that the vaccine program is well under way with over 12 million doses that have been injected. That’s a game changer.

A Covide vaccination center in Paris France

A Covid vaccination center in Paris

Read all about Paris’ vaccination roll-out program by visiting the city’s website.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds with Deirdre Fay and Sally Sprinkle on the Quai des Etats Unis, Nice, France

Adrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Adrian with Deirdre Fay and Sally Sprinkle on the Quai des Etats Unis, Nice, Sunday April 18th

Place des Vosges Antiques by artist Richard EwenP.S. Artist Richard Ewen paints landscapes and street scenes of France as well as wonderful, intricate depictions of the reflections of Paris streets as seen through shop windows. These delicate yet colorful, masterful paintings are available for purchase on the website for WOA Gallery. Images can be purchased in both the US and France.

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1 Comment

  1. Adraa on April 19, 2021 at 11:07 am

    I feel like this newsletter was directed at me, with the anxiousness and negativity I’ve been feeling about the current situation with the pandemic! This definitely put me at ease and gave me hope to look to brighter days ahead, and soon! Thanks Adrian!

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