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Life in Paris: Too Crammed Full to Get the Clothes Clean

20-5-13ceciliawolochPoet Cecilia Woloch20-5-13poetinparisPoet in Paris20-5-13hgtvHouse Hunters International – “La Vie En Paris, France”20-5-13MartinediMatteoInterior designer, Martine di Mattéo20-5-13AptbyMartinediMatteoStudio, interior by Martine di Mattéo20-5-13KarinStorlienApt-KarinHouse Hunters International contributor Karin Storlien20-5-13KarinStorlienAptKarin Storlien’s self-designed apartment20-5-13LaurentVaisberg-OdetteZoeOdette & Zoe owner/designer Laurent Vaisberg20-5-13archivesnationale-turgotmapTurgot map of Paris20-5-13turgotmapArrondissement specific Turgot map20-5-13archivesnationale-1Archives Nationale period exhibit20-5-13archivesnationale-2Archives Nationale period exhibit

Help! There’s too much to talk about, write about and do. It’s Paris and that means life is full — so full that every day is crammed like a washer with too many dirty clothes that you wonder if they will all get clean! (Maybe this isn’t a very palatable analogy, but nonetheless…)

Last week, old friend and poet extraordinaire Cecilia Woloch landed in town to begin her annual month-long USC “Maymester” course — “Poet in Paris.” Standing at the bar at Café Charlot while waiting for a table, an American gentleman dining barside saw us and screeched, “I don’t believe it! You’re that woman on House Hunters International!”

It happens often now that so many episodes have aired that someone stops me or calls out, and for him it was a treat, like the way I felt sitting next to Jean Dujardin the week before at the very same café. We laughed and talked and then Cecilia and I took our table without much further ado.

Three days later, on the evening of “Nuit des Musées,” we collided with him again, this time at Chez Omar, but unlike the last encounter, we invited him to join us for dinner. It seemed so natural and so ‘meant to be.’ As is usually the case with Francophiles visiting Paris, we discovered we had lots of things and even people in common…just two degrees of separation!

The Poet in Paris course opened last night with a dinner for the students and a few of us peripheral supporters. For those who enjoy poetry, many of the events surrounding the course are open to the public, so be sure to mark your calendar for those you can attend.

One not to miss is this coming Thursday, May 23rd at 6 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais (corner of rue des Archives and rue de Bretagne, 3rd). Three wonderful and important American poets will read their work in conjunction with the Poet in Paris Program: Dorianne Laux, author of The Book of Men, Facts about the Moon, Awake, Smoke among other books; Joseph Millar, author of Blue Rust, Fortune, Overtime, and Bestiary among other books, and of course, Cecilia Woloch, author of Carpathia, Late, Sacrifice, Narcissus, and Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem. (Entrance is free, but audience members are expected to purchase at least one drink — and hearing Cecilia Woloch read her work will change your opinion of poetry for the better, no matter what!)

Learn more about all the Poet in Paris events on their Web site.

One of our new House Hunters International episodes (“La Vie En Paris, France” – Episode HHINT-5209H aired in the States May 16th and fortunately, someone was able to record it so that I could watch it soon after it ran. The renovation of the apartment, another re-creation by our designer, Martine di Mattéo, was a complete redo that will bowl you over!…the apartment with the ’70’s glass block wall that Abby hated was transformed into a real work of art.

It’s one of the Parler Paris Apartments we represent for vacation rental — so you can have a really good look at Martine’s handiwork by visiting Les Miroirs du Marais.

Friday evening, Martine showed off another re-do that was even more shocking! A 25 square-meter studio in the 11th, previously owned by one of our long-standing readers and friends, was purchased and renovated to be the couple’s Paris “pied-à-terre” for frequent jaunts from the U.K. What she did to maximize the space, hide the corner kitchen behind doors and create a luxurious “love nest” was remarkable.

House Hunters International just completed filming a new episode this past Saturday, this time with Los Angeles ‘contributor’ Karin Storlien, who also purchased a small apartment in the 11th (20 square meters) and renovated it herself using a minimal budget and IKEA furnishings. I was invited to see her handiwork. Using a bright chartreuse green paint on the walls and doors with accents and fabrics to tie in the color, the small space virtually glows with happiness and feels more spacious than ever.

When the episode airs, we’ll be sure to let you know — expect it in another two to three months. This coming June 16th, a new episode will air (we’ve filmed 13 so far!): “Healthy Living in Paris, France” – Episode HHINT-5405H, 7:30 p.m. EST/PST with Patricia Armstrong, a nutritionist transferred to Paris for work. Mark your calendars and for more information, visit:
Adrian Leeds on House Hunters International.

House Hunters International is doing a new spin-off show called “House Hunters International: Renovation.” They are looking for Expats who have recently bought fabulous properties and are about to embark on some imminent renovations. Ideally the ‘contributors’ should be outgoing and fun, aged under 45 and have bought a property within the last few years. They are looking to film this Summer with the renovation projects taking up to four months, so perhaps a new kitchen, a small extension etc. They also have some budget that would go towards finishing the project which makes it even more interesting!

If you would like to be on the show, contact me to put you in touch with the producers!: [email protected].

We can also put you in touch with Martine di Mattéo, who can work miracles on any space! Email me at [email protected].

While Martine is designing beautiful and functional apartments, Laurent Vaisberg not only designed his own apartments (Le Bain Noir), but he has also been busy designing beautiful and functional handbags.

At his little boutique in the Passage du Grand Cerf (number 4, 2nd arrondissement) named after his two grandmothers, “Odette & Zoe,” Laurent showed off the zillion-and-one ways to wear the one bag that comes with three different straps, all on hooks that makes the bag versatile for a slew of different uses and styles.

The bags come in a variety of colors, canvas or nylon, and at 55€ each, the bag is a steal. I scarfed one up in two seconds and can’t wait to pack it for this week’s journey to Istanbul — computer bag, turned shopping bag, turned evening bag — all rolled into one. On his Web site, you can flip through the pages and see all the possibilities. Hurry to get yours and be sure to tell Laurent “Adrian sent you!”

Saturday night was “La Nuit des Musées” — our chance to take in an exhibition or two we hadn’t seen before. The gardens of the Hôtel de Soubise were not open, but the National Archive Museum was — one that had gotten overlooked in spite of its close proximity to everyday life in Le Marais.

The exhibition of historic documents and works of art on two levels is impressive, as are the elaborate rooms in a building that dates back to 14th-century. What struck me most was the large Turgot map of Paris as it appeared between 1734 and 1736. “It was published in 1739 as an atlas of 20 non-overlapping sectional bird’s-eye view maps (at a scale of approximately 1/400) in isometric perspective toward the southeast.” (

On the map, there was my building on rue de Saintonge. Many of the street names of the district have been changed since the 18th-century, but not this section of Saintonge. Where I sit this very moment as I write this, many generations sat before me as many years ago as 350 (give or take), but to see it exist on a map as old as that makes it oh so more concrete in terms.

To top it all off, the Jacaranda trees in Paris are blooming in full force. The Jacaranda native to tropical and subtropical regions of Central America, South America, Cuba, Hispaniola and the Bahamas, but has been been planted widely in Asia, especially in Nepal (from where my daughter returns today!). It is also found throughout the Americas and Caribbean, and has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, India, Fiji, Portugal Spain and parts of Africa…and of course, here in Paris. Last week by chance I passed the bottom of avenue Carnot, one of the 12 streets that radiate from the Etoile, only to discover a canopy of lavender blossoms.

There’s something about the color and the lacy texture that makes the cool Spring temperatures, the never-ending rain and gray skies of Paris seem so full of life…as does life…in Paris.

A la prochaine…

adrian-hhi5-13Adrian Leeds

Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC 

Respond to Adrian 


 Allposters Nice 150P.S. Attend the Living and Investing in France Conference in Nice September 27-29! And remember that the deadline to receive the special, reduced conference rate on your hotel reservation is fast approaching! Book your room at the beautiful Hotel Ellington by May 31, 2013 to receive the lowest rate possible.


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