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All That Jazz and Paris in Bloom

Spring has definitely sprung. If you blink, you will miss watching the trees go from mere sticks to pale green lacy leafy perennials. The tulips of many colors are standing tall, the Forsythia are glowingly yellow and the flower markets are filled to the brim with freshly rooted new flowering plants ready for eager buyers.

A tour around the base of the Eiffel Tower is a perfect prelude before entering “The Jazz Century” exhibit at the Musée du Quai Branly. The grounds are awash with colorful flowers and the budding trees set off the iron structure like a lacy, ruffled collar frames a lovely face. Cameras are snapping up Spring at every turn.

The exhibit opened about three weeks ago (on until June 28th), offering an “anthropological reflection on one of the most remarkable cultural events of the last hundred years” — an astonishing phenomena of artistic fusion blending African, American and European thinking to create a new and society-changing genre of music — jazz.

I am proud to confirm that jazz was born in the city of my own birth — New Orleans — but thank goodness, a little earlier than me(!) — the year my mother was born, 1917. What was most impressive about the exhibit was the startling collection of beautiful art related to the theme, in the form of paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, music, film and published works. It’s exhaustive, so it’s a good thing the museum is open till 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings, as you’ll need the time to see it all.

This past winter was abnormally cold, rendering the geraniums wilted and eventually dead…turned into brittle sticks in dry earth. They reminded me daily that it was soon to be time to replenish the “jardinières” — the flower pots that dangle from the window railings, but waited until the perfect moment.

That moment was Saturday afternoon. After the Parler
Parlor Conversation Group
ended at 12:30 p.m., I strolled down to the Quai de la Megisserie with a marketing cart in tow with which to haul new plants and fresh earth. It’s become an almost annual habit of mine to make this little excursion, taking in the new season’s sunny sky and warm air.

Starting at Place du Châtelet walking westbound along the quai, I stop at each nursery, inspect the quality, color and price of their flowers, then decide which one will get my business. Geraniums of a bright red color with large heads and leafy plants for 22€ per ten pots called out to me, “take me home, take me home,” and within minutes, were happily nestled in the cart on top of a huge sack of earth.

Planting enough of them to fill four windows, when you live up three flights and 70 stairs, is a continuously entertaining puzzle of logistics. I have considered using the bathtub, however now that my bathtub is (too) small and confined by glass doors, makes it no option. Then, there is possible use of the “couloir” outside my door, which is a private alcove, but then the mess of dirt seems overwhelming and the ability to water and clean them takes you back to the bathtub problem. So, each year I opt for taking them all down to the courtyard where there is a faucet and trough (once used for the horses) and I can easily wash down the excess soil off the cobblestones.

The neighbors watch and smile as they see me involved in the task of removing the old, dead plants, refilling them with the new ones and adding earth. Then each gets watered thoroughly, set to drain before ascending the stairs with the newly planted pots. It takes about one hour and by the time all four are prettily sitting outside the windows, my body is aching, but the feeling of accomplishment is exhilarating!

Ah, they look so content there. From this perspective as I write, I can see them on each side of me, many budded heads about to open and show off their bright red color, their green leaves standing tall and healthy. It’s so satisfying to see them…as a symbol of sunny days, warm air and a colorful Paris in bloom.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris



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P.S. A few reminders…

1. Tonight I’ll be speaking about investing in French property at Justine Trueman’s, Women’s Only Investment Club meeting. To learn more about the evening and the club, visit or email Justine Trueman at [email protected]

2. Mark your calendars to spend next Tuesday afternoon with us at Parler Paris Après Midi — April 14th from 3 to 5 p.m. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information.

3. Don’t miss Judith Merians’ workshop “Writing for the Independent Film Market” Saturday, April 18th. Scroll down for more information or visit /frenchproperty/conference/


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