“Nouvellettres®” and Other “Blogs”…About Paris!
When I first start writing about Paris in an electronic publication — something we called a “newsletter” or an “e-zine,” there were only about five of us. That was way back in 1998 when the Internet was in its infancy and the word “blog” didn’t exist. The number of electronic publications written about Paris today number in the many thousands. In fact, I have no way of counting and I doubt anyone else does. Paris is one of those cities for which people have a particular affection and about which they feel compelled to share their love for it and their experiences with it.
AOL hosted one of the original ones, run by Karen Fawcett with a small team of others, that they called “Bonjour Paris.” That was even before Parler Paris, online since 1995 — when AOL was the primary service provider, along with Compuserve. (Remember that time? Or are you too young!?)
As life goes on, things changed, and Karen is no longer living in Paris and writing about life in the City of Light. In an interview by blogger Laurel Zuckerman in 2011, she described Karen as “journalist, editor, blogger, publisher, businesswoman, talent scout, Parisian and world traveler,” as well as the president and founder of Bonjourparis.com The Definitive Guide to Paris. Bonjour Paris still exists today, but in a different form from what it was then, and was acquired in 2015, by the France Media Group, publishers of France Today, FrenchEntrée and other magazines and websites about France run from their U.K. offices.
It took me a long time to accept the word “blog” because I saw Parler Paris as something very different than what blogs were at the time, and adopted the word “nouvellettre®” — French for “newsletter.” The term was coined by my old friend and author Timothy J. Smith one night over dinner and likely too much wine. I liked it so much that I trademarked it so that no one could use it, but me. The term, Nouvellettre®, is somehow a different “animal” for me from a blog, because even after all the years of writing about life in Paris, somehow I feel that what I do is different than most.
Blogger, Stephen Heiner, of The American in Paris: The Story of My Adventures in the City of Light, just did a pretty good job of capturing that difference in his recent article titled “Five Must-Subscribe Newsletters for your Life in Paris and France.” He included Parler Paris and four others, one or two of which have been blogging about Paris almost as long as I have. He wrote: “If Jean Taquet shares some of his personal life, and Heather Stimmler a few more details, Adrian Leeds shares everything with you. Witness this recent article in which she shares what a mess her daughter left in her apartment while Adrian was away for part of the summer. It’s definitely an up-close-and-personal narrative, unlike my first two recommendations, but that doesn’t make it less valuable. Adrian’s style is not for everyone, but when it comes to property and property trends in Paris, she’s really made a name for herself and has been very helpful in helping me understand leases, rights, and the rental market here in Paris. I told her the last time we corresponded that the best piece she shared with us last year was a précis of an insightful presentation she was asked to give to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the subject of making Americans feel more welcome at the 2024 Olympics. Adrian has not one, but three newsletters, and you can find them on her home page under ‘publications.”
Yes, I suppose that’s one thing that I’ve always felt made Parler Paris different from all the others — that sharing of information and insight. My daughter might not be happy about the exposure she gets, but saying what I really think without editing it to please everyone is the whole point. This is life in Paris from my point of view, without the rose-colored glasses. It’s not “about me,” but it is about what it’s like to live here and what I think and feel about it, emotionally, politically and otherwise.
Clearly, I push a lot of buttons. Even Stephen Heiner pointed that out, that it might not be for everyone. In response to Monday’s Nouvellettre®, titled “Our House is on Fire,” one subscriber wrote: “It’d be nice if your newsletter would stick to real estate in France. The entire reason for being subscribed to it. Instead, I find more political drivel.”
Patty Sadauskas, my assistant and customer service manager, retorted to him, “On Mondays and Wednesdays Adrian writes about her life in France. You may have noticed that the sub-heading of the newsletter is: ‘Your taste of life in Paris and France!’ If you’d rather not read about Adrian’s life in France, we would be happy to unsubscribe you. On Thursdays, Adrian writes about property in French Property Insider. You can choose to just be subscribed to this publication if you’d like. We’d hate to force you to read about things that you are not interested in.”
Regardless of whether the reader likes what I write or not, a response like that only pleases me more, because it means that people are really reading and that’s what counts. If I can be influential even just a small fraction, that’s even more rewarding, especially when it comes to a subject as important as our climate crisis.
So many of my friends are bloggers that if I were to try to offer up a list of recommended blogs, it would be rather endless and therefore meaningless. They would all want me to give them a plug (which I love to do and do when I can), but there’s not enough time and space to accomplish that in this missive. However, I will draw your attention to Patty’s newest accomplishment: Genuine France.
Patty is not a professional photographer, but her photos of France really capture life here in a very poignant way. I often take advantage of them for Parler Paris, as she generously allows. Patty moved to France in 2015, largely because she was a reader of Parler Paris and it was her inspiration to make the move. She came to work with me the day after she arrived, when we met for the first time, and has been a big part in helping me continue to “blog” in a meaningful way.
In the last few days, while convalescing from a dreadful cold in her Nîmes apartment where she spends a part of the year, she launched a new facet of Genuine France on a site called Redbubble. Redbubble is an Australian invention for giving “independent artists a meaningful new way to sell their creations” connecting “over 700,000 artists and designers across the planet with millions of passionate fans.” This is a way for Patty to share her images with everyone who appreciates them, as much as I do.
I’m headed to Nîmes on Friday to spend the weekend with Patty in her Languedoc-Roussillon retreat and explore the area — so stay tuned for “Parler Nîmes” on Monday!
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
P.S. You are invited to a special evening at the Mairie of the 9th Arrondissement for the opening of Objectif Femmes: a female-focused fine art photography show, in which my daughter’s, Erica Simone, ongoing series “Dancers in the Dark” will be exhibited. This is a collection of black and white images which evoke the natural union of the male and female bodies through modern dance and connected movement. Other talented artists include: Lesia Maruschak, Carole Charbonnier, Sophie LeGendre and Isabelle Seilern.
Le Vernissage: October 2nd, 2019 from 18h30 to 21h30
Exhibition: From October 1st to October 8th — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 10h-17h, Thursday 10h-19h, Weekends 11h-17h
Address: La Mairie du 9ème Arrondissement, 6 rue Drouot 75009, Paris.
Please RSVP for the vernissage on the Facebook event page.
If you are interested in purchasing limited edition prints from the series, but cannot make the exhibit, please contact Erica Simone directly for availability and pricing: ericasimone.com or email [email protected].