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Packing in Paris Pre 2007

Earlier this morning the rain came pouring down, but later opened up a bright sky on this first day of 2007. Two-thousand-six ended with a whirlwind series of events that I would equate to a ride on La Grande Roue at Place de la Concorde…around and around, up and down, getting thrills from the highs and relaxation from the lows.

Friday was an 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. marathon of information about living and investing in France presented by six professionals who had come from London, Leeds, Florida and Paris to an eager group of British, Canadians and Americans. It was the 17th seminar of its kind that we have offered to those interested in both enjoying their time in France while profiting from their investment.

Chez Jenny makes a perfect venue as they keep us plied with coffee and croissants, then wine us and dine us generously all throughout the day and into the closing cocktail reception. Before parting, the attendees handed over their evaluations and comments. Some on the seminar evaluations included:

“This was very well put together, organized.”
“Well worth the fees.”
“Awesome! Thank you so much!”

Saturday might have been a day of relaxation except the activity chez Leeds was mind boggling and unavoidable. Parler Paris Assistant Tamara Coleman came to turn over her files and say so-long to take on a new and brighter position teaching English. Housekeeper, Tess, who has worked chez Leeds since 1994 (!) managed to polish the tables under her piles of filing.

Lorin Kalisky of Bastille Media and creator of the classified Web site for France, Franglo.com, was with us, too, to put the final touches on his take over as publisher of the 10-year-old Insider Paris Guides! Yes, beginning January 15th, the Insider Paris Guides will be sold under the name of Bastille Media. I’ll still be writing the Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants and as Lorin told us, he believes “that the guides are a great resource for the Anglophone/Francophile community, and I hope to bring new products, new ideas, and new energy to the operation.”

In the midst of this beehive of activity, came a desperate phone call from a friend who had managed to miss two flights on route from Spain to New Orleans and needed a place to stay for the night. When she arrived with her luggage in tow up my 70 steps, she discovered her passport missing! Thanks to a helpful agent at the American consulate, a new passport will be issued, but not until tomorrow morning when the consulate reopens! (If it ever happens to you, make note of this Web page with instructions: http://www.amb-usa.fr/consul/acs/passports/lost.htm) Lucky for me to have her with us for New Year’s Eve.

That evening, the rain misted down, but did not deter the hordes of visitors to Paris, who were elbow-to-elbow on rue de la Paix ogling the sparkling diamonds at Cartier (since 1898 at number 13) and climbing into taxis at the Hôtel Ritz. We met past conference attendees at the Bar Vendôme for drinks (they have an extensive menu of drinks at decadent prices — I ordered “Sex on the Beach” — the ultimate fantasy!) before heading to “Le Boeuf sur le Toit” near the Champs Elysées for dinner. The hotel, the Place Vendome and the interior courtyard are decorated for the ho

lidays in frosty winter whites and blues…elegant and stunning.

Le Boeuf sur le Toit, an art deco decor brasserie/restaurant of the Flo chain on multi-levels on rue Colisée (number 34, 8th, Métro Saint-Philippe du Roule or Franklin-D.Roosevelt, Tel: +33 (0)1 53 93 65 55), was brimming with end-of-the-year revelers and fine cuisine. Try the profiteroles…they are particularly of the melt-in-your-mouth variety.

On the last day of the year, the crowds were heavier than ever on the streets and in the cafés. We grabbed the last light of day to discover the newly reopened Musée des Arts décoratifs on the western end of the Louvre, boasting of some 150,000 objects. The collections are “privileged testaments to the French art of living, the savoir-faire of its craftsmen and industrialists, the research and creativity of its artists, the passion of its collectors, the generosity of [their] donors and the desire to pass these riches on to others…” The Balenciago fashions exhibit closes this week, so don’t delay. For more information, visit http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/

New Year’s Eve, always opting to be home to avoid any transportation worries (although this year the Métro and buses were not only free, but operated a full hour later than usual), we drank bubbly, dined on foie gras and danced to Aretha Franklin until 2 a.m. On the Champs-Elysées and at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, an estimated 400,000 people celebrated the new year.

Today is recuperative, welcoming a new tenant to Le Provençal, downing a “Chocolat Chaud Ancien” at Place des Vosges while reflecting on the year past, turning our eyes toward the year of the future and enjoying the repose of the present.

Happy New Year 2007. May all your wishes come true…especially those that bring you to Paris and France.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Parler Parlor reopens tomorrow, January 2nd at La Pierre du Marais. Visit http://www.parlerparlor.com for more information. And at the same location, mark your calendar for Parler Paris Après Midi on January 9th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information.

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