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Jazzin’ It Up Paris Style

Now that there’s no smoke, there’s more ‘fire.’ Jazz clubs are hotter than ever now that both the audience and the musicians can breathe. I hadn’t ventured into one in years as a result of the asphyxiation — an eye-watering, nostril-burning sensation that even the best of jazz couldn’t overcome.

We were the last to be allowed into the club at Friday night’s performance by Elisabeth Kontomanou but managed to worm our way up to front row seats at the “Sunside” on rue des Lombards (number 60, 75001, 01 40.26.21.25, http://www.sunset-sunside.com). She’s the daughter of a Greek mother and an African father, but a native Parisian with her own take on the blues. Brother Donald Kontomanou on drums expressed every one of his sister’s notes on his ever-changing face and a sixteen-year-old electric base guitarist took center stage for one impressive performance.

There is no shortage of jazz clubs in Paris, with several on rue des Lombards…Le Baiser Salé at number 58, Le Duc des Lombards at number 42 and the Sunset, also at number 60. There’s Le Petit Journal at 71 boulevard Saint-Michel in the 5th, Le Petit Opportun at 15 rue des Lavandières-Ste-Opportune, and Le Slow Club at 130 rue de Rivoli, both in the 1st. Le Franc Pinot is at 1, Quai de Bourbon on the Ile Saint-Louis in the 4th and Le Caveau de La Huchette at 5 rue de La Huchette in the 5th. If you’re in the 6th, you’ll find the Alliance at 7-11 rue Saint-Benoit, and Bilboquet at number 13. The Arbuci is at 25 rue de Buci and the Paris-Prague Jazz Club is at 18 rue Bonaparte. New Morning keeps the 10th jazzed up at 7 rue des Petites Ecuries and Le Petit Journal Montparnasse at 13 rue du Commandant Mouchotte is the 14th’s answer to good jazz. Jazz Club Lionel Hampton at the Hotel Meridien, 81 boulevard Gouvion Saint Cyr in the 15th is an institution and Hot Brass near Parc de la Villette at 211 avenue Jean Jaurès will get you in the mood.

Now that they are smoke-free, we can breathe in all that good music. Yeah!

Saturday afternoon, the bi-annual Maison & Objet industry trade show was in full swing (January 25 – 29, 2008) at the Paris Nord – Villepinte Exhibition Halls near Charles de Gaulle Airport. International exhibitors number almost 800 in the field of decoration, home and office design, furniture, lighting, fabrics and textiles, handicraft products, kitchen and bath accessories, garden and everything imaginable for the apartment, home, manor or castle. The visitors were in record numbers — it felt more like rush hour in the Métro there were so many industry professionals lapping up the beautiful furnishings.

To be a visitor, one must have 56€ and proof of being an industry professional. I had the good fortune of being guided through the massive show by Martine de Matteo, our favorite Interior Architect, who knew just which stands would be the most exciting to visit.

The show is overwhelming in size and scope, so if you manage to get a ticket, take your time to take it all in. Impressively, this year’s colors are: white, black, gold, silver and all the smoky shades in between. Every now and then, a true color came into play, but not too often and not too bright. Oversized Eden-like fruit made big statements and the Italians with their brilliant sense of design pervaded the show, or at least it seemed that way — from luscious drapery fabrics to sleek bath fixtures to sleek leather living room furnishings.

The Italians are making a mark on the monetary scene, too. New to borrowers is the Micos Banca. We now have friends at their number one Paris branch (36/38, rue St Petersbourg, 75008) with lending products similar to the others — fixed rate, variable, interest-only and combination loans. For more information, visit /frenchproperty/loanlenders.html or contact our Mortgage Manager, John Rule, at [email protected]

On the subject of money, money maker, mover and shaker, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, is here in Paris tomorrow to partner with Mayor Bertrand Delanoë and Paris to fight against the “digital divide.” I wish I could be there at the Hôtel de Ville when the two talk it over, but alas…being a tourist at the top of the Eiffel Tower awaits me!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. To all our Aussie readers, Happy Australia day, January 26, 2008, celebrated today, January 28th! The tradition of noticing January 26 began early in the 19th-century with Sydney almanacs referring to the First Landing Day or Foundation Day. That was the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain and the first governor of New South Wales, arrived at Sydney Cove. The raising of the Union Jack there symbolized British occupation of the eastern half of the continent claimed by Captain James Cook on August 22, 1770. Read more about it at http://www.australiaday.gov.au/pages/page593.asp

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