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Lunching At The Hôtel De Ville

Today I lunched at the “cantine” of the Hôtel de Ville with the “Adjoint au Maire de Paris chargé du tourisme” (Assistant to the Mayor of Paris in charge of tourism), Laurent Queige, and Frédéric Pouget, Project Manager of the Paris Development Agency (a committee in charge of the economic expansion of the city), at the very same time that Mayor Anthony Williams of Washington, DC, lunched with Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë (of course, in a much grander corner of the city hall — which, by the way, is one of Paris’ most beautiful buildings).

I felt so privileged!

We wondered among ourselves if the two mayors had any idea how much the two cities really had in common and we contemplated suggesting that DC become a “sister” city with Paris (it can’t ever become a twin city like Rome is, since it is decreed between them never to include any other city in their “deal” of “jumage” [twinship]!).

One reader of yesterday’s newsletter about the meeting of the two city leaders, sent me this amusing note: “The unnoted problem with the absurd renaming of french fries and french toast was that it turned the tricolor into the “Freedom Flag,” which in the US is almost treasonous. Our household, for one, flew the Freedom Flag on the front porch during the nonsense.” David H.

Then another reader and past participant to a Working and Living in France Conference who lives in DC sent me this: “Thought you might like to see our homage to Paris on our District of Columbia license plates…To decode, one must be a bit into travel to figure out what ‘CDG’ means.”We certainly get some “thumbs up” signs driving around the city.” John H. (Click to the website to see his homage to Paris)

Lunch was over and we didn’t bump into the mayors, but before heading into the Marais, I was drawn into the free exhibit at the Hôtel de Ville about La Môme de Paris, Edith Piaf, on the occasion of the 40-year anniversary of her death. It’s on until January 31, 2004, open every day except Sundays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s filled with fabulous photos and memorabilia — very nostalgic. I watched an old film of her singing “La Vie en Rose” and as I left into the pink-toned, damp and hazy day, the memmory of her quivering voice and passionate lyrics sent a chill up my arms:

“Quand il me prend dans ses bras, il me parle tout bas, je vois la vie en rose.”

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. For moreinformation about the Edith Piaf exhibit, visit the official site


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