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On the Right Path: The Allée des Brouillards

Allée des BrouillardsAllée des Brouillards

Château des BrouillardsChâteau des Brouillards

Famous Place Dalida BustFamous Place Dalida Bust

MY LIttle Paris houseMY LIttle Paris house

Marion, la Chef ExtraordinaireMarion, la Chef Extraordinaire

JR exhibit on Barrow Street, NYJR Photos in the Windows on Barrow Street, NY

JR, by Erica SimoneJR, by Erica Simone

Dalida Exhibition at the GallieraDalida Exhibition at the Galliera

Dalida Exhibition Galliera - Paris, France

 Dalida's Berets

Synchronicity plays such an important role in my personal life that it’s impossible to ignore and keeps sending that message that says “I’m in the right place at the right time.” These “acausal meaningful coincidences,” the term itself coined by German analytical psychologist Carl Jung to express his concept about “acausal connections of two or more psycho-physic phenomena,” could be overlooked or unnoticed to the unconscious eye, but once you start to “connect the dots” or simply start to notice the patterns as I did more than 30 years ago, you may discover these kinds of coincidences happen more often than you might think.

For a while I kept a journal of those coincidences that seemed more meaningful than the norm, but they happened so often, that I soon gave up the journal. I took them as guideposts for my future path and follow that old saying “let the universe carry you along.” To give you an idea of what I mean, imagine a small stream of water running downhill and when it hits a rock it bounces to one side and then finds a new path…but it keeps moving on and manages to find the path that eventually leads to a pool of water where it can rest. This is how I see these synchronistic events, no matter how small and how I know this is the right path, regardless of how or where it takes me, both positive and negative.

That’s a lot of preliminary explanation for the simple story I am about to tell, but if this insight can help you, then I’ve done at least one good deed for the day. And so it happened that Friday evening, our plans changed at the last minute when my friend who was supposed to make dinner at her home explained instead we were invited by her niece to dinner at a house (yes, a “house”) on the Allée des Brouillards in Montmartre. One of the other dinner guests was her niece’s business partner plus a few other young women who we were to come to know, who were working with them on a project they have here in Paris.

The house is the home of (see photos of the house on their website), where their teams of graphic designers, editors, technicians and photographers come to recharge and work calmly. They welcome their readers and all the people with whom they like to work to share a breakfast, a conference, or women who believe in the future of Paris.” This group fit that description.

The Allée is a path that begins at Place Dalida and ends at Place Casadesus. Centuries ago, the springs that once existed on the hilltop of Montmartre created a kind of mist rendering the farm and mill on that spot to be “baptized” by the fog. In the 18th-century, the mill fell into ruin and the land was purchased to build a château — the Château des Brouillards, later to become abandoned. At the end of the 19th century, the abandoned château became occupied by artists who were then destitute; the likes of Van Dongen, Poulbot and Steinlen, while in one of the pavilions opposite, the Renoir family settled. In 1906, this neighborhood was so miserably impoverished that it was called the “maquis” (thick scrubby evergreen underbrush of Mediterranean shores), and the artist Modigliani moved into a wooden hut. Twenty years later, the “château” was bought and renovated by the violinist Marius Casadesus and five generations of Casadesus followed in succession there. In the 20th-century, the Allée still welcomed other artists and continues today to be a haven for creativity.

When we arrived at Place Dalida on foot going uphill from Métro Blanche, tourists were taking photos of one another holding the breasts of Dalida’s bronze bust, clearly polished by all the others preceding them; the bust a work by French sculptor Aslan. The Place was dedicated to the famous and beloved French diva in April of 1997 to mark the 10th anniversary of her death. It was here in this “quartier” that she lived and loved.

The Allée is a path bordered by beautiful shrubbery perfumed by jasmine and other flowering plants. Behind the gates is a large garden and a three level house that is in itself a work of art in every minute detail, including original art works by Kanako Kuno, My Little Paris’ illustrious “illustratice.” One of the young women in our dinner party was staying there during her short time in Paris. Marion, La Chef Extraordinaire, prepared a beautiful, delicious, healthy and (relatively) low cal meal served around a long thin narrow rough wooden table in the dining room adjacent to the well-equipped kitchen.

As are the synchronistic coincidences of the story, my friend’s niece, Melody, lives around the corner from my daughter in New York’s West Village. She had just returned from Ghana, where my daughter is headed next week. Her business partner, Erin, grew up in New Orleans, my home town, and now lives in Brooklyn. Together they run a public relations firm, simply named “JR’s photo works,” and represent “game-changing artists” such as France’s JR, who happens to be a friend of my daughter. A few months ago, JR’s photo works were plastered in the windows of the restaurant at the corner of my daughter’s apartment building. At the time, she thought the coincidence was “random,” but as we learned Friday night from Melody and Erin, the location became the home of The Spaniard, coincidently friends of No. 29, hence the JR works in the windows while it was under renovation.

Clearly, my daughter, Melody and Erin needed to know one another, as the path has no doubt taken them there, via Melody’s aunt and Erica’s mother (me), or via JR or New Orleans, or Ghana or some other acausal meaningful coincidence. Thanks to this, they finally met yesterday at Après Midi, our monthly networking gathering and they have already discovered many other people in common and possible collaborations in their future…as is their path.

Meanwhile, Erica and I set out to see JR’s exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo Sunday afternoon, only to discover it was no longer on display as they prepare for their upcoming exhibitions. On route, we stopped in across the street at the Palais Galliera to see, but of course, the Dalida Exhibition, “Dalida, une Garde-robe de la Ville à la Scène.” Not having experienced Dalida first-hand like the native French or Europeans, she and her legacy are new discoveries for us, but already memorable. The costumes she wore during her performances and even her everyday-wear are stunning examples of a goddess-like wardrobe. Her collection of berets even rivaled my own! (Be sure to see the exhibit —  it’s on until August 13th.)

The synchronicities just kept coming…at least those of which we were aware. Start to notice yours, if you aren’t already, and see how your path takes you to where you’re supposed to be at the right time! Perhaps it will even take you to the Allée des Brouillards!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - Paris, France

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Adrian Leeds Group


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William Jordan

Cuba by - Erica Simone

 P.S. There was a full house at Après Midi yesterday to hear what William Jordan had to say about the secret life of an American diplomat living in Paris. He held our attention well past the five o’clock hour with his fascinating stories. Read all about it and see photos by visiting our Après Midi page.



P.P.S. Read Erica Simone’s latest Huffington Post post: “11 Tips on How to Take Street Photos Like a Pro on Your Next Trip Abroad: A Journey through Cuba.” I learned a lot about how to improve my snapshots and enjoyed the stunning photos from her recent trip to Cuba.


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