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“Boy, to be Back in Paris, Big Time!”

The landing in Paris Thursday morning went without a bump in the runway and I hit the ground running. When I spotted the Eiffel Tower in a distance from the “Périphérique” (the ‘ring road’ around Paris), I knew I was home and would soon be making up for lost time.

An invitation by photographer friend, Michael Honegger, to hear a young saxophone player over dinner that same evening at “La Petite Vertu” (15 rue des Vertus, 3rd), sparked my interest enough to ignore the jet lag, hustle to unpack and head over there. The ‘sax’ is the ‘sexiest’ instrument I can think of, although I couldn’t tell you per se why, and usually the guys who play it are ‘sexy,’ too. Coupled with my friend’s description as: “mild jazz with the saxophonist being one of my former models…” (nude), you can understand why it wasn’t too difficult to walk a few blocks my first evening back in town.

It was a surprise to discover that the ‘former model’ and ‘sexy saxophonist’ was in fact, someone I’ve known a while — Jeff Suzda, a regular member of our Parler Parlor French-English conversation group, which just celebrated its 11th anniversary March 17th. Jeff and his guitar-playing co-musician, Clement Pic, put on an admirable performance while La Petite Vertu put out an equally respectable meal. It was a one-time performance, but we hope “Jeff et Clement” will be back again soon…and boy, was I ever back…big time!

The next morning was breakfast with a client and our Search Consultant, Mary Ellen Gallagher (who we like to call our “search engine” because she lets no property for sale go unvisited), at the luxurious hotel, the Plaza Athénée. The mounds of fresh-baked “croissants,” “pains aux chocolats” and delicacies for which there are no names, while seated at a heavily-clothed table under massive crystal chandeliers, themselves dotted by individual crystals to create a ‘cloud of diamonds’ in the restaurant “Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée,” were very tempting strays from the diet begun the morning before (after the serious ‘pig-out’ in the “Big Easy”).

Boy, was I ever back…big time! This was Paris at its finest.

That afternoon I paid a visit to “Le Palace des Vos

ges” — our Fractional Ownership apartment at 9 Place des Vosges currently under massive renovation. At this stage, the floor is pure sand awaiting newly poured concrete to act as a base for the classic château stone flooring and the floor/ceiling between the two bedrooms is being completely reconstructed to add insulation and strength. To see it now might make it hard to imagine it as how it will be when Interior Architect, Martine di Matteo, passes her magic wand over the 81 square meter space…but if you’re interested, have a look at the video I made that day… Le Palace des Vosges Renovation…then keep up with the progress to watch this ‘caterpillar’ become the ‘butterfly.’

There had been a leak from an upstairs apartment while I was gone and the firemen had to break into it to turn off the water main. We learned that the 300 square-meter luxuriously decorated apartment had been left as is upon the artist owner’s death four years earlier, unoccupied and untouched, thanks to a dispute between his wife and his mistress as to who actually owned the apartment and the property within it — including his paintings.

Boy, was I ever back…big time! Tales of wives and mistresses were reminiscent of Mitterand’s funeral!

After a movie at mega-cinema UGC Ciné Cité Les Halles with friends (some residents, some visitors), dinner was a touch of ‘Americana’ at Joe Allen (30, Rue Pierre Lescot, 1st) where one finds burgers (surprisingly not listed on the menu) and the best “Salade Niçoise” in France…strange as that might seem. The difference in the American style salad is the tuna — Joe Allen serves a tuna steak rather than the crumbled canned tuna found on top of every other Salade Niçoise in France.

Ann Cary Dana
at La Pierre du Marais

Saturday it rained on an off, the sun shining brightly between each downpour, making for a very typical Spring day in the City of Light. It also kept the dining hordes upstairs at La Pierre du Marais glued to their seats long after the normal lunch hour rendering the workshop, “The New Auto-Entrepreneur” Regime: Self-Employment in France Made Simple?” with Attorney Ann Cary Dana, with a late start and a noisy background. That did not stop the group from learning or Ann from teaching us how useful is this new regime for Expats who want to find a way to earn a living and get themselves into the social security system.

If you don’t know about it, you should. This is France’s way to jump-start a lot of new small businesses and create opportunities in what has always been a heavily-taxed and complicated business environment. From an American perspective, the new regulations which provide tax breaks and easy entry, are still riddled with protectionist and control mechanisms that place unnecessary limits on the ability to prosper. I may personally never quite understand why they (the French) can’t see that they are ‘cutting off their noses to spite their faces,’ but of course, that’s the American capitalist in me speaking.

The bottom line is this: with little effort, an individual with legal residence in France (not to be confused with citizenship), can begin to provide goods or services, up to certain limits, without paying tax on revenues not yet achieved, and benefit from the social security system: health care, retirement and unemployment. For Americans trying to find a way to get here, earn a living and take advantage of the ‘safety net’ France offers, it may be a perfect solution as at least a foot in the proverbial door.

What I believe M. Sarkozy didn’t count on, is that the limitations will likely create even more of a black market than they already have (why make an effort to earn more or report more than the limit if it’s going to cost more and benefit nothing?) and will also create a wave of new immigration of people who previously didn’t think it possible.

And BTW (by the way), understanding the complexity of the new regime is a far cry from being ‘simple.’ Boy, was I ever back…big time! (For more information, visit Auto-Entrepreneur or contact Ann Cary Dana for personal advice at [email protected])

To top off the action-packed return to Paris was an enlightenment over dinner at my favorite ‘cantine,’ Chez Omar, with new found friend, Paula Harvan Rosdol. She’s an accomplished entrepreneurial type whose philosophies on love and life closely mirror my own, as we quickly discovered. At midlife, she set out to find true love, approaching it with the same devotion and hard work as she would any of her missions and convictions. She did manage to find the love of her life, but more importantly, she learned a lot about herself and how to teach others how to have the same success.

While I was flirting with the cute, young waiters at Chez Omar, Paula told me that with each new encounter, having met on the Internet or in any other fashion, hope (not expect) only to have a nice time and learn something about oneself…that is what would make for a successful ‘date.’ And do I dare tell you (?) that we both agreed that American women should come to Europe where they would be pleased to discover that with European men, they can really be the women they truly are. American men…take notice. We urge you, too, to come to Europe and discover why women feel that way! (If you’re looking for love in your mid-life and haven’t yet found it, contact Paula at Silver Lining Unlimited and tell her I sent you!)

Boy, was I ever back…big time.


g src=”” title=”Adrian Leeds” width=”200″ height=”224″ align=”left”/>A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris



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P.S. Thanks to all of you who saw the House Hunters International episode Friday night and commented on it. I have not yet seen it, but heard, thanks to calls in the middle of the night Paris time, and all your very kind letters, that it was well received. If you’re wondering which apartment Jeff and Mary ended up buying and renovating, you’ll find it at Le_Beau_Marais.html and if you’d like to see how the other apartments they visited went from ‘caterpillar’ to ‘butterfly,’ visit Parler Paris Apartments and make your own guesses…they are ALL there! For more information about the program, visit
House Hunters International


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