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From “Grava,” to “Grève” — That’s Grave!

House Hunters International - Living Large in Languedoc

Patti & ChristinaPatti & Christina

Rail Strike Paris, France

Rail Strike Paris, France

French president MacronFrench president Macron

Thank goodness I don’t need to leave home this morning and deal with the transportation strikes…because we’re taping our 32nd House Hunters International right here in my apartment — the “meet and greet” scene. This is when the “contributors,” the two people looking for a property to purchase or rent — meet me in my “office” to discuss their wish list and what kinds of properties we’ll be looking for.

Just as the crew arrived and began to set up the cameras, lights, etc., I was avidly watching HGTV live streaming an episode we taped last September with photographer Renée Jacobs and her partner, Wendy Hicks: Living Large in Languedoc. I watched it live, but you can now see it for yourself on YouTube for only the next few days.

If you’re in Paris and would like to see a few of our House Hunters International shows, next Tuesday at Après Midi (3 to 5 p.m. at Le Café de la Mairie on rue de Bretagne), we’re going to show a few of our favorites! This is your chance to ask a few questions about the taping, too! Get there early to get a good seat. For more information visit our Events page.

The taping of this new episode is taking place over the course of the rest of the week. It involves an international law student, Christina, and her mother, Patti. They are seeking an apartment for Christina’s year of studies in Paris that is within her budget of $1400 and not too far from her classes in the 6th arrondissement. I’ll have more news about it in next Monday’s Parler Paris Nouvellettre®, but don’t expect it to air for about six months!

The transportation strikes currently underway remind me of strikes that crippled the country for three weeks in November-December 1995. It was icy cold at the time. Paris and the entire country was void of trains and buses…completely. People were sleeping in their workplaces, or finding all sorts of creative ways of getting to work. I was walking three times a week to a French-English conversation group across town of which I was the organizer. The trek crippled me with heel spurs in both heels and changed my life forever. So, the strikes hit close to my heart.

The strikes started April 2nd at 7 p.m. For a complete list of upcoming strikes, visit: If you want to know how your train is running, visit this site. Tip: If you already booked a train that may likely be cancelled as a result of the strike on that day (like I did), then book a train a day before or after with a refundable ticket and save yourself the risk of not getting where you’re going! Then, you’re sure to get there, either way. (That’s what I did!)

The Local has a great article on this very subject: “What can I do if my train or plane is cancelled?

What’s most interesting to me is how Macron is holding up to the pressure. I quite like the new French president, as does much of the world, but the strikes are affecting his popularity — currently at an approval rating lower than 40% in the national opinion polls. There’s a lot of controversy in the media over this including being “compared to Margaret Thatcher as he takes on the striking unions in France in his biggest challenge to his presidency yet.” (source:

On this note, you may like to read an editorial on by David A. Andelman titled “Will French trade unions trip up Europe’s strongest leader?” He’s an old friend of mine who has a long, long list of credentials including Paris correspondent for CBS News in Asia and Europe. 

(Due to technical issues, Parler Paris was sent out later than usual. Our apologies if you didn’t receive it in time to catch the live broadcast below)

If you’re staying at home to avoid the striking rail and air transport (I wouldn’t blame you), then have a listen to a live podcast tomorrow, Thursday, April 5th! Earful Tower is making history this week. The radio station where Oliver Gee records The Earful Tower is doing its first ever LIVE radio show – and he’s  hosting it. He’s got six guests for a one-hour slot and would love you to join in.

Earful Tower Thursday live show

What: A live podcast episode

When: Thursday April 5th, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Paris time

Where: It’s happening in the studio, but you can listen LIVE on this World Radio Paris link (, or you can watch the LIVE Facebook video on The Earful Tower’s Facebook Page (

Who: Six people, all past guests, and all of whom will get about ten minutes each. I’m one of them!

This is how it’s going to go down, in order:

    Amber and Sarah on raising French kids and their new comedy “Becoming Mama” …
    Tour guide April Pett talking about a crazy animal-related story from Paris’s history…
    Sam Barrantes on music, jingles, and having his book in Shakespeare and Co…
    Me, talking about House Hunters International and our upcoming live podcast event on April 18th…
    Mystery Guest revealing the wild, wild plans for Season 4 of The Earful Tower…

So, be ready to listen and watch live. Oliver will read questions as they come up. If you miss it, the replay will live on Facebook forever.

If you’re not following on Facebook, now is the time to do it.

How to listen: If you prefer to listen to it on the radio, here’s a full guide how to catch it live on World Radio Paris.

Oliver reminds us that this is the first time he’s doing this – so be patient and forgiving if anything goes wrong. And if you want to see more like this in the future, be sure to leave comments, likes, and shares during the recording.

See you there!!

For more information visit his site.

FYI: 5 p.m. Thursday in Paris is: 4 p.m. London, 11 a.m. in New York, 8 a.m. in Los Angeles, and 1 a.m. Friday in Sydney (sorry).

Note: “The word ‘Grève’ comes from the gallic word ‘grava’ that means thick sand. In the 17th-century, it happened that on the right side bank of the Seine in Paris a sandy place formed and was called ‘Place de la Grève’ because it was covered with coarse sand. This place was known to be a gathering place for unemployed people who sought employment opportunities, hence the expression ‘faire grève’ which came first to mean ‘look for work’ at that time. In the 19th-century, the meaning of this term has changed to what we know today as the temporary interruption of work to express discontent. (Source:

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds on House Hunters International

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

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The Adrian Leeds Group

P.S. For those of you in Southern Californian, I’ll be in Los Angeles and open to meeting with clients for two-hour property consultations in person between April 30th and May 4th. Special rate $350. To book your consultation, email me at


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