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Diamond Dust, Naughty Boys and Girls and Guess ‘les Fesses’

 13-3-13snowdiamonds13-3-13 PhotoByRosemaryKneippMarch12The Palais Royal – photo by Rosemary Kneipp, Aussieinfranc.com13-3-13DavidBurkeDavid Burke speaks at Parler Paris Après Midi13-3-13verlaine-rimbaudBad boys Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud13-3-13ColetteReveEgypte1907Bad girl Colette13-3-13guessthefessesGuess the Fesses9-1-13HHIlogo

Walking home last night after a full day of events, the snow was falling in a way I’d never seen before. The flakes were minuscule and glistening like diamond dust. The ground was getting more plush with the white dust, not slushy, as the traffic had come to a virtual halt and there were few people out on the streets. It was absolutely breathtaking and dead silent.

The late snow is reeking havoc with both transportation and our psyches. Just after watering my geraniums for the first time since November thinking Spring had sprung, here comes the onslaught of snow and cold. We wonder if our winter will ever end? (To those who think Global Warming is a big hoax, I say “you’re out of your minds.”)

No question, our climate is changing, but yesterday and last night, in spite of the falling snow, we had a full house at Parler Paris Après Midi where David Burke, author of “Writers in Paris,” talked about the “Bad Boys and Bad Girls of Literature in Paris” — with an in-depth recounting of scandalizing stories about poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud — on which the 1995 film “Total Eclipse” was based starring Leonardo DiCaprio (Rimbaud) and David Thewlis (Verlaine).

He went on to tell us more about the bad girl, Colette, the novelist and performer was best known for her novel, “Gigi,” upon which Lerner and Loewe based the stage and film musical comedy of the same title, later performed by Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold. Colette’s controversial life included flaunting her lesbian affairs, but in later life she was awarded great honors by France and is known to have helped Jewish friends, including hiding her husband in her attic all through the Occupation.

For those of you who love this sort of literary detective work, David Burke gives walking tours exploring the most creative “quartiers” of the City of Light — the Latin Quarter and the Marais, raffish Montmartre, “Lost Generation” Montparnasse, and others –- and tracks down the haunts of dozens of the world’s finest and most colorful writers. To learn more about how you can participate in one or more of his walking tours, visit Writers in Paris Walking Tours or email him at [email protected].

And to read more and see photos of our afternoon at Après Midi, visit Parler Paris Après Midi. Note that our next session is on April 9th with William Jordan, a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer, who will be talking about “The changing nature of diplomacy, what it’s like being a diplomat in a country like France.” Don’t miss it.

In the evening, Tom Reeves and Monique Y. Wells of Discover Paris! hosted a cocktail mixer for Paris bloggers aptly named the “Big Bang Boom Bloggers’ Meet-up and Tweeps’ Tweet-up” at the Caveau Montpensier on rue Montpensier (number 15) adjacent to the Palais Royal in the 1st district. Many of the bloggers you read were there — and maybe some you don’t, but should! It was a great way to get to know the faces behind the words of those who help shape our views of Paris and France and ultimately change the way we experience it just through their own blogged perceptions.

Rosemary Kneipp, also known as “Fraussie Grouet,” is an Australian-born translator from Townsville, North Queensland, who has been living in France since 1975 and now writes a blog called Aussie in France. She’s lucky enough to live in the Palais Royal overlooking the garden and shared her photos of the snow-covered beautiful square with me…and now with all of you.

Tom and Monique held a drawing to give away a a scale-model statue made out of pure chocolate awarded to the person who could correctly identify the statue in a photo of “des fesses” — buttocks, backside, bottom, bum — as part of their contest “Guess the Fesses.” Yes, the artist was Rodin, but the model wasn’t so easy! Take the test yourself and see how you do. I lost, but what do I know of “les fesses?”

This weekend we’re filming our 13th House Hunters International episode! Nine have aired, three are ‘in the can’ and now we have this newest one in which to look forward.

This new story is about a young single woman from California who often comes to Paris for work and dreamed of owning her own “pied-à-terre” in the city she has come to love. Her mother helped her gather her finances and together they managed to acquire enough to purchase a small studio apartment. The search is a challenge given the budget, but as usual we come through (you see my big grin, right?) and find her something really livable in a great neighborhood!

I can’t give away more than that for now, but know that this is not the last of our episodes…as we’re already working on two more! And if you want to be the subject of a show, let us know! Email me at [email protected].

A la prochaine…

adrianWdavidburkeAdrian Leeds

Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

(with David Burke)

Respond to Adrian



PP15anniversaryP.S. Mark your calendar for this Saturday, March 16 for the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group 15-Year Anniversary Party, starting at 11 a.m. Come and celebrate with us and get a special offer on a 10-session card — you’ll receive 12 sessions for the price of 10! For more information visit Parler Parlor


westvillageapt-adP.P.S. West Village New York City studio apartment (with a perfect view of the Empire State Building) is available for vacation rental all of May for as little as $180/night, $1150/week, $3,200/month. Located in the heart of the coolest ‘hood’ in the city. “It’s super cozy, clean and comfortable.” A 50% deposit reserves your stay. See the apartment at West Village Studio. For your reservations requests, email: [email protected]


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