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A Musical Afternoon: It Felt Good to Get Out of the Paris Rain

All day Sunday it rained “des cordes,” as the saying goes. You might say “cats and dogs,” but even they weren’t around to get soaked to the bone like we were in the cold, wind and rain. It was the perfect day to take in a movie or in this case, a movie and music…an audio-visual experience under the rain clouds.

Paris has an annual rainfall of 642mm compared with London which has only 584mm and Seattle, a whopping 944.6mm.
Interesting statistics, no? But one of the things I love most about Paris in the rain, is the unusual color of the sky and its projected rays of blue-gray tones that seem to permeate everything, casting a whitish glow on the buildings, the streets and our faces. At about sunset, the cool white

moves to a warm pink glow, even through the heavy layer of clouds taking on an almost surrealistic effect.

We gathered at the “Images d’Ailleurs Cinéma La Clef” at 21, rue de la Clef in the 5th arrondissement to see “Gypsy Caravan,” a documentary by legendary cinematographer Albert Maysles that follows five Gypsy musical bands from four different countries who unite for the “Gypsy Caravan” as they take their show around North America for a six-week tour, astounding every audience they meet.

The theater is a small venue operating as a non-profit association designated to provide “difficult programming,” meaning that it can show independent, non-commercial films. It’s just off the intersection where the Métro Censier-Daubenton sits, a spot on the Paris map not drawn by hordes of tourists, but by the French who are so hip, they don’t know it.

The film was a total delight — visually beautiful, well filmed and directed, edited to take you along as one of the members with the five bands on their journey through North America as they play, cajole and entertain not only their eager audiences, but themselves. Their musical styles range from flamenco to brass band, Romanian violin to Indian folk, and with humor and soul in their voices, they celebrate the best in Gypsy culture and the diversity of the Romani people in an explosion of song and dance. You come to know these people in a personal way…these people who carry the burden of Gypsy prejudice on their shoulders as they walk proudly and tell their Gypsy tales and sorrows through music and song. Their theme song — a Romani proverb: “You cannot walk straight when the road bends.”

We laughed along with them and we wanted to get out of our seats and dance to the music. From our places in the center of the small theater, I could only hear our own laughter and wondered if the rest of the audience was as moved as we were.

Leaving the theater, we inched past a hoard of children and their parents entering for the next film, and exited into the blustering rain. We took the first respite we could find — the Café-Tabac Mirbel at number 4, rue Mirbel, just across the street. A few long-haired men and short-haired women, smoking cigarettes and drinking beers, were seated at round tables on round low chairs as a musician began setting up a microphone and stool for would become the weekly Sunday performance. How seamless to go from movie-music to music, without barely a lost beat.

The café has a slanted glass ceiling allowing the full blue-gray light of the raining day pour in. Over coffees and teas, we settled in for guitar-playing and singing by both American and French local artists, performing songs from our youth, such as “A Horse With No Name” written by Dewey Bunnell in 1971…and I could easily relate, as he sang: “You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name…It felt good to be out of the rain…”

A la prochaine…  

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Husbands and lovers, give your favorite Chick the perfect gift. Make her one of the next 10 “Chix” to sign up now for a Paris Chixmas and save yourself 50€ if you do it now! (We won’t tell her, promise!) For more information and to register visit /frenchproperty/conference/liveinfrance/Paris_Chixmas/ or contact [email protected]

P.P.S. Mark your calendar for next Tuesday, December 11th, for the monthly coffee gathering of Parler Paris readers from 3 to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information.

P.P.P.S. Plan on coming to Parler Parlor December 22nd to practice speaking French or English, bring your cake or cookies and we’ll supply the “Vin Chaud!”…plus register that day and get 12 sessions for the price of a 10-session card and 24 sessions for the price of a 20-session card! (Closed only December 25, 2007 through Jjanuary 2, 2008. Reopens January 5, 2008.) See for more information.

Your Complete Solution to a New Home in France…

Adrian Leeds and her team of property professionals can help make your dream to live or invest in France a reality. These experienced property experts provide comprehensive services including property search, purchase, mortgage and other after-the-sale services, such as renovation and rental management.

Visit /frenchproperty/consultation or email [email protected]

This Week in French Property Insider…

Trees ParisWhat’s New in the Capital
Compiled by Adrian Leeds

Paris moves…and moves and moves to a better future:

Un Parisien, Un Arbre (One Parisian, One Tree) With his mandate coming up for renewal next year, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë is being especially careful to develop green initiatives in the city. A lot of our buses now run on natural gas rather than petrol, the Vélib bike rental service has been a huge success!…Subscribers Read On…

Learn how to buy property in France!

French Property Insider is a weekly e-zine, sharing insights, recommendations, tips, and discoveries about Paris real estate and French property. Each information-packed issue is devoted to educating its readers on how to effectively, efficiently and profitably purchase property in France.

Subscribe today at /frenchproperty/insider

For more information visit [email protected]

Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference!
February 16-17, 2008
Alliance Française, Miami, Florida

If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own “pied-à-terre” in Paris or home in the Provinces of France, perhaps as a future retirement home or for now as investment property rented part of the year…this power-packed two-day conference is a MUST.

Hosted by Adrian Leeds, long time resident of Paris, Editor of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre® and French Property Insider weekly E-zine and John Howell, lead attorney for the International Law Partnership, London, these two days in Miami will point you in the right direction to make it really happen! Includes three course lunch and cocktail reception.

For more information and to register, visit: /frenchproperty/conference/

Or email Schuyler Hoffman at [email protected]



By Erica Simone

Join us for a very special event…to celebrate the photographs and writing by Erica Simonebased on her recent book… A Vivid World

6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Saturday December 29, 2007

46, rue des Abbesses, 75018 PARIS
METRO Abbesses (line 12) or Blanche (line 2)
10 euros entry
includes wine, drinks and snacks

Sponsored by Grace Teshima
For door code, RSVP by email
Home: 01 42 62 45 98
Cell: 06 98 42 69 69
Email: [email protected]

Original photographic prints (editioned and signed by the artist) and copies of “A Vivid World” will be available for purchase.

We wanted better guides. So we wrote them.

Insider Paris Guides are written for people who love the City of Light. You’ll get a Paris insider perspective on Good Value Restaurants… Making a Life… Black Culture… Expat Writers…plus the newest guide, Practical Paris!


[email protected]

Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a private apartment in Paris that has the “seal of approval” from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds.

Le Penthouse Voltaire

American comfort with French flair! Overlooking Boulevards Richard Lenoir and Voltaire, in the 11th Arrondissement.This three-bedroom, two-bath luxury penthouse with wrap-aroun

d balconies and spectacular views, sleeps 6.

Reserve now! Visit /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/voltaire.html
or email: [email protected] 

Parler Paris Après Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris…

The next gathering is December 11, 2007 and every second Tuesday of the month.


Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group

Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week — come as often as you like!

For further details, visit

Christmas Party Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bring some cookies and cakes for everyone to share and we’ll be serving up a cup of “Vin Chaud!”

Register that day and get 12 sessions for the price of a 10-session card and 24 sessions for the price of a 20-session card!



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