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Not Missing Mollard, Slam Poetry: Moving to Paris, House Hunting Niçois Style


Brasserie Mollard - Paris, FranceBrasserie Mollard interiorSometimes in Paris, one can miss the BIG things that are right under our noses, as for one reason or another, they get overlooked. Perhaps it’s like reading a headline where the type is so large, that our eyes instead focus on the details. And so it is that in the two decades living in Paris and 15 years of visiting as a tourist, that as many times as I’ve walked past Brasserie Mollard, or stood at a bus stop directly in front, it went totally unnoticed…until Monday night.

Brasserie Mollard was the restaurant suggested by a friend  who arrived at the Gare Saint-Lazare and whom I met for dinner. There are no shortage of big brasseries just outside the station on rue Saint-Lazare, but my French friend asked, “Have you ever been to Mollard?” “No!,” I exclaimed, always wanting to learn something new about the City of Light.

La Place du Havre Gare Saint Lazare, 1893 - by Camille PissarroLa Place du Havre Gare Saint Lazare, 1893 – by Camille PissarroMollard is one of those big brasseries that charm the pants off the tourists and even us old-timers. It dates back to the era of Haussmann in the latter part of the 19th-century. The first train departed from the Gare Saint-Lazare on August 27th, 1837 and sped its way to Saint-Germain. The district around the Gare Saint-Lazare at the time was virtually a ‘suburb,’ nearly the countryside, but was built up between 1865 and 1867.

Businesses popped up quickly and fortunes were made. The House Mollard was an immediate success and within 30 years, M. Mollard had earned enough money to renovate the brasserie in a modern style to make it the most beautiful establishment in Paris at the time, reopening it in 1895.

Mollard was everything M. Mollard wanted it to be in classic Art Nouveau style. He had mosaics made in Italy and asked the workshops of Sarreguemines to create unique parts themed to express the life around the train station. Edouard-Jean Niermans was the architect, who is also responsible for the Moulin Rouge and the Negresco Hotel in Nice, among other well-known architectural wonders. He had total control, down to the furnishings.

La Brasserie Mollard - Paris, FranceLa Brasserie Mollard interiorThe war years created ups and downs — mostly downs for the magnificent restaurant. The main decor was hidden behind paint and big mirrors and the central glass roof collapsed in 1920. Once WWII was a war of the past, business life began again and it once again became a meeting point for the many workers in the district. In 1955, it offered a special “Omelette Surprise” — everything was served on the table for a 10-franc sum. This attractive offer lasted until the end of the 1960s. In 1965, the former decor was resurrected and thanks to the big mirrors, the main parts had been protected. All the big frescoes were restored but one, and Mollard recovered its historic decor of blue, green, beige, brown and gold. The most modern touch now is only seen in the luxurious toilet lounges.

In 1989, Mollard was officially classified in the complementary list of historic monuments.

Having dinner there was a reasonably priced treat laced with impeccable service. Don’t necessarily go for the food (although you will not be disappointed), but do go just to imagine oneself in Paris at the height of the turn-of-the-century (the 19th!) when both men and women were dressed in their finest, flaunting their material successes and enjoying the era of rich cultural life in the City of Light.

Brasserie Mollard
115 rue Saint-Lazare 75008 Paris
Open every day, all year long from 12:00 p.m. till 12:30 a.m.
Commercial : +33 (0)1 43 87 55 62
Reservations : +33 (0)1 43 87 50 22
Email: [email protected]



Jim Navé -, performer and creativity strategist, Jim Navé, always delights us. He has a way of creating an energy — a creative energy — among any group he’s in front of. I’ve seen it time and time again.

Yesterday at Parler Paris Après Midi, he got the creative juices flowing of everyone in the room, who reflected on their past, thinking of a major risk each had taken that had turned out successfully. Amazingly, more than half of all the people there claimed that moving to France was at the top of their list! That in itself was not so surprising, as the joke goes that living in France is the #1 American dream! But, the audience reflected on their past with smiles on their faces, pointed out by Jim as we were watching him and he was watching us.

While each person said a few words about what their risk or their ‘narrative’ might be, Jim feverishly wrote down ‘something’ on a piece of paper — notes from what we each said. At the end of his talk, or should I say ‘recital’ of prose and poetry?, he ‘slammed’ a poem right before our very ears based on the notes he had taken, and thanks to Jim having recorded it, here it is for all of us to enjoy:

by James Navé

Mirrors, courage, scary determination, oh Paris I left the start of uncertainty for you. I’m glad I took the risk on the T.V. show. I wonder why my dreams chance me open in such different ways. I picked, packed, and moved, not married to my old place of daunting tasks. Safe wrath, resilience shared its experience with WE who had returned to Paris for more. The house was impulsive that day on my solo trip around the corner. I have no regrets. The exchange of my life with the exchange of Chapter X gave me nine more lives, packed up over the years. From 1956 life loved 1969.

I stayed in Paris, my face invested in the story that changed me today, yesterday, and will change me tomorrow. We are seekers of logic. I pivot; I shift; I engender the adios husband. We swam and made bombs, you young little jab; in the happy finds we prospered. The dinners were sublime. The salons lasted all night.

There were some divorces. Who can deny that? I was lost for a while, but my job gave me purpose. The impulse made me risk to say no to that theme I had to say no to, because I had to say yes to life, yes to risk, yes to money That’s when I fell in love with the affair that began in the artistic tango. It was a flash day on that thirteen year when I knew something must happen in those apartments where I calculated my first job.

Kristin Espinasse of French-Word-a-Day.comKristin EspinasseRead more about the afternoon and plan for our next gathering on April 8th when Kristin Espinasse of talks about “A foreigner’s accent when speaking French: charming or not? Or maybe just attention getting—or even manipulative?” Don’t miss it! Visit Parler Paris Après Midi for more information.


I’m headed to Nice this afternoon to film yet another House Hunters International TV episode — my 17th! From what the producers say, no other ‘agent’ has filmed so many!…and there are more on the horizon!

I invite all of you who tune in and like the shows to say so on the HGTV Facebook page and of course, if you particularly like OUR shows, it would be great of you to mention that you want to see more in the future!

And keep an eye out, you’ll soon be invited to join our own Facebook page devoted to our House Hunters International shows!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds, The Adrian Leeds Group LLC - by Janet ConnellyAdrian Leeds

Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

(photo by Janet Connelly)

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P.S. Your stay in Paris can be even more special with the customized concierge services of Parler Paris Plus! From restaurant reservations, tickets to special events, gift baskets, full day touring itineraries and more, your concierge will work with you to design the vacation of your dreams! Visit Parler Paris Plus or email [email protected].


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