Entrée to Paris
ENTREE TO PACKAGE DELIVERY IN PARIS
On Monday we realized we needed a projector for Monique Wells and Tom Reeves’ PowerPoint presentation scheduled for Tuesday at Après Midi. The Darty.com website claimed the Acer X115H projector would be available for pick up at the store within an hour. It lied. In fact, the only way to get the projector in time was by having it delivered by Chronopost the next morning…if I ordered it over the phone. I did, but questioned Chronopost’s reliability with the sales person. My experiences in the past have not been good! He reassured me I’d have it by 12 noon.
On Tuesday morning I received a text message saying the delivery would take place between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. At 12:45 p.m., there was no sign of delivery. Patty Sadauskas and I peered out the window and saw a Chronopost truck parked down the street. We watched him deliver two packages to another address and head back to the van. Patty ran down my stairs, out the building and after him, only to discover that the package for us was still in the van and that he had not bothered to ring my door or call or attempt to deliver it in any way, but instead left a notice in my mailbox! If she had not accosted him, we would never have gotten the package.
A word to the wise:
1. Never have anything delivered to any address in Paris. Instead, have it sent to a P.O. or “relais” where it can be picked up.
2. Avoid Chronopost at all costs.
3. And never attempt to have anything delivered without full instructions: name, address, door code, stairwell number, buzzer number, phone number, etc., etc., etc. and even then, don’t count on it!
You can bet, both Darty and Chronopost are going to hear from me!
ENTREE TO BLACK PARIS
Monique Wells and Tom Reeves, creators of Entrée to Black Paris Tours and the Entrée to Black Paris blog, tour guides and authors, gave a PowerPoint presentation yesterday afternoon at Après Midi about the “African-American Presence in the City of Light.”
I asked them to make this presentation, because I have always found it fascinating how African Americans were always so well-accepted in Paris while treated very differently in their own country…and how the American community in Paris has never seen themselves as either black, white or pink. What I mean is that we — Americans in Paris — do not segregate ourselves in any way and have always been so much more of a unit rather than thinking of ourselves as “us” and “them.”
Still, African Americans have left their imprint on the city for over two hundred years. Tom and Monique talked about a few of the personalities in Paris that the world remembers, such as Josephine Baker and Henry O. Tanner, but also including music conductor James Reese Europe, who introduced the French to a new form of music called jazz! One of JR Europe’s claims to fame was as a World War I lieutenant with the 369th Infantry Regiment and leader of a military band known as the “Harlem Hellfighters” who made their first recordings in France for the Pathé brothers.
By coincidence, Stephany Neal, a past Paris resident who is visiting this week and who was on hand at the monthly gathering, is the Executive Producer of the 369th Experience and World War One Centennial, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of World War I by recreating the 369th Regimental Band that first brought American ragtime, jazz and blues to European audiences. Applications to join the band for freshmen and sophomore music students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other colleges and universities across America are now being taken and will be selected very soon. To learn more about the celebration and the band, visit their Web site. To apply, visit 369thexperience.submittable.com.
To learn more about Black Paris, take one or some of the fascinating tours offered by Tom and Monique: Josephine Baker Tour in Le Vésinet, The Color Line – African-American Artists and Racial Segregation, Black Images in European Art, Black Paris – Myth of Colorblind France and others.
For those interested in supporting the African American community in Paris, you can also help fund the new documentary film “Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light” — “the most comprehensive and compelling documentary existing on the remarkable migration of pioneering African Americans to France and the impact both cultures had on each other.” It begins with the time of JR Europe and up to the German occupation of World War II, produced by Joanne and David Burke of Blue Lion Films and Julia Browne of Walking the Spirit Tours. The film needs to reach audiences across America and the world. By funding a multi-city tour in the United States, the producers will have an opportunity to offer it to conferences on Black Studies, museums, film festivals, libraries and educational departments at all levels. Watch the trailer and join in the fundraising effort.
ENTREE TO OPEN ON SUNDAY
Opening on Sunday creates jobs and increases revenues. We could have told them that!
The French resistance to capitalist ideas is documented calling it the “décroissance movement” and tough to battle. The “Grand Magazins,” Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, finally won their battle with enough union support for its wage package for Sunday openings to be approved. They opened for the first time on Sunday this past weekend. The BHV won the rights last November and the Bon Marché will soon join them.
The battle is primarily driven by the pay conditions to pay employees higher wages during Sunday hours. The BHV has reported a sales increase of 10%, higher than the expected 6 to 8 percent gain. Not only that, but it’s become their second biggest sales day, just behind Saturday, and it created 150 full-time jobs.
Didn’t they realize that this could be the only day people have to do their shopping? Forget the tourists. They have every day of the week, but the average working Parisian doesn’t. The stores were losing customers to London and Madrid over the weekends, estimating a loss in the hundreds of millions of euros annually. With tourism down, “something’s gotta give.”
I’m a happy Sunday shopper! (Avoiding deliveries!)
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(by Les Young…Open on Sunday!)
P.S. Read all about Tuesday’s Après Midi along with photos by visiting our Après Midi page