Ringing in the New Year!
Yep, it’s the first day of the new year and that means we have to get accustomed to writing “2024” instead of “2023,”which always takes me a few days. But, the biggest shock is just the realization that another year has come and gone—just like they always do—with their own set of trials, tribulations and thrilling moments.
Returning to Paris this past week meant putting up with the gray dreary weather, but having plenty to do and plenty of people to meet up with. Paris will always be Paris—the cultural mecca of the world, and one of the world’s most exciting and sophisticated cities. As much as I love Nice, its beautiful weather and relaxed atmosphere, Paris is still Paris. As I have often said, “It’s Paris. You don’t come here for the weather.”
APRES-MIDI IS BACK AT CAFE DE LA MAIRIE…
Café de la Mairie (51 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris), where we have held Après-Midi since 2003, has completed their renovation and is ready to welcome us back. It looks great (!), but the bad news is that the upstairs room is a bit smaller as they closed off one section to make an office, so it no longer will seat more than about 50 people. (Get there early if you want a good seat!) The good news is that they installed a screen and a projector so the tech aspects are much improved and that will make for a better experience.
We’ll be inaugurating the new digs this coming Tuesday, January 9th (from 3 to 5 p.m. as usual), but there’s been a change of speaker. Alec Lobrano is not able to be with us due to an emergency situation. However, he will be joining us later in the year, so you still have a chance to hear his talk.
Brian Dunhill will be answering the question…Which way is the USD/ EUR going? Everyone wants to know!
Brian will be giving us his annual outlook on the economy with this number one question everyone asks. And then they will both answer these questions:
• Why does Uncle Sam not want you to generally invest with your French bank?
• Why should you always talk to your US tax advisor before setting up a French company?
• Should you be worried about French income tax as a US retiree?
• What other traps should you avoid from a tax and investment standpoint?
Brian has warned Jonathan that he has a lot of questions on subjects that affect US taxpayers living in France. So be prepared for a lively and fun discussion!
See you there!
SOPHIE CALLE TAKES OVER PICASSO
The Sophie Calle exhibition (on until January 7, 2024) has seized control of all four levels of the Musée Picasso with a unique exhibition concept marking the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death. The exhibition, titled “À toi de faire, ma mignonne,” is organized into four sections corresponding to the museum’s levels. Be prepared to spend about three hours there…that is if you take the time to read all the texts (almost all in French).
You won’t know whether to laugh or cry, as the artist clearly operates from both a morbid sense as well as a humorous one as she snubs her nose on life itself—although we thought it mostly hilarious. Intriguingly, the exhibition delves into some of her recurrent themes, such as blindness and death (the morbid side), utilizing archives and writings as the foundational sources for her artistic creations. Beyond Picasso, each floor unfolds Calle’s interpretation with a deliberate retrospective approach.
Since the late 1970s, Sophie Calle has been featured in worldwide exhibitions. Often labeled as a conceptual artist, photographer, videographer, even a detective, she has forged a distinctive and instantly recognizable approach to art and expression. In addition to her own works, are objects from her personal home which say so much about the Sophie behind the shaded glasses. Among her possessions are many taxidermic animals, including the neck and head of a giraffe! He’s there, too, in all his glory. It’s a bit creepy and fascinating, all at the same time!
CAMILLE, A TRUE PARISIAN BISTROT
If you want a truly French bistrot experience—not as easy to achieve in today’s modern world—then book your table at Camille, 24, rue des Francs-Bourgeois in Le Marais. It had been way too long since having dined there, but I’ll be back much sooner now that lunch there on Saturday triggered the fond memories.
Classic dishes such as Soupe a l’Oignon (Onion Soup), Poireaux Tièdes en Vinagrette (Leeks with vinaigrette sauce), Pot au Feu de Mamie Jeanne (Mamie Jeanne’s Pot au Feu) and Magret de Canard Rôti au Miel, Purée Maison (Roasted duck breast with honey, mashed potatoes) will hit the spot. There is a 34€ two-course menu (entrée-plat or plat-dessert) with a choice from three options, which is a deal and a delight. The taste is every bit as wonderful as the food looks on the plate and the service and atmosphere are professional and top notch. It’s best to make reservations, so visit their website to make yours.
NEW YEAR’S EVE IN PARIS
What to do on New Year’s Eve in Paris is always a big question mark. Over the years, we’ve had some seriously fun and unusual experiences.
One year I took a group of friends to the Cirque d’Hiver, a classic European circus in the round with a long history, located steps from my apartment. There, the lions roar, a woman is shot out of a cannon and the clowns are dressed in sequins. It was memorable. If you ever have the chance…do go (any time of year)!
Another time we attended a performance by Sara Baras, the world’s greatest flamenco dancer. She single-handedly turned me into a huge fan of the Spanish dance (what she does is more like a “ballet” than a “dance”). I’ve even gone so far as to travel to Madrid just to see her perform.
If you ever have the opportunity, don’t pass this up! Sara will blow your mind with her tapping feet that move so fast you only see them vibrate! The costumes and sets are not the usual flemenco frou-frou—more elegant and fitting her contemporary performances. You will be mesmerized.
This year, we opted for comedian Olivier Giraud’s show, “How to become a Parisian in One Hour?” It claims to be one hour of intensive training, so that by the time he’s finished with you, not only will you have been laughing with tears in your eyes, but “you will be fully fluent in the behavior of Parisians in shops, restaurants, taxis, subways and nightclubs.”
I’d seen the show once before, but a long time ago. He’s a Bordelais comedian who studied at the illustrious École Ferrandi in Paris and left Paris for the U.S. in 2001 to become a waiter. He accomplished that well as he became a head water at a five-star hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. Surprisingly, he turned to comedy when he returned to France in 2008 and developed this one-man show getting a lot of laughs pointing out the cultural differences.
He’s perfected the show over the years and it’s pretty funny, even if I think a lot of what he says is not really true! But, you have to be a seasoned Parisian (such as myself and the friends I was with) to really know the nuances. Regardless, it’s lots of fun and full of laughs, and not expensive, so don’t miss it!
After the show, the group of friends came back to my apartment for champagne, a light dinner and to watch the fireworks on TV. Over some serious desserts (including a gift of a 1.5 kilo Leonidas Ballotin of Dark Chocolates (about 60 pieces) that will take a lifetime to eat, and champagne (of course), we tuned into the France 2 TV channel where the “feu d’artifice” were broadcast live. The views of the Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe showed about a million people standing all down the middle of the famous avenue to ring in the new year.
We were happy clams in the comfort of my home (in spite of the 20 supporting posts!) and watching it on TV rather than standing in a drunken (likely) crowd in the cold! Nonetheless, you can watch it for yourself right here.
Happy New Year from Paris!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Speakers for Après-Midi 2024 are already booked for both Paris and Nice. Take a look at our site for a preview and plan to attend as many as possible! And note, our venue is Paris is smaller now, so get there early to get a good seat!