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Paris Mysteries

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Paris can be a really strange and mysterious place.

I was all set to tell you about how exciting it was to view the ceremonies commemorating the Liberation of Paris at the Hôtel de Ville Saturday afternoon (and still will, in just a moment…), but it is more compelling to tell you how I was awoken at 5:30 a.m. this morning by the sound of a crash.

Staggering to the window to look out and down on the normally quiet narrow Marais street, there was a car turned on its side, wedged between the parked cars and our building’s big front doors, with a young and quite agile man climbing out and running down the street.

How it got turned over is a complete mystery, much less how it managed to be wedged in such a position. A few moments later, the young fellow came back to the scene and tried to set the car right again, to no avail. He tried to solicit a pedestrian (the only person in sight), who wanted nothing of the task and walked on, blasé, as if everything were normal and ‘right as rain.’ I went back to sleep, too, until the sound of the “pompiers” (firemen) arriving stirred my curiosity once again.

A team of men tried to right the car, but even they couldn’t do it. I went back to sleep. When the alarm went off at 7 a.m. a tow truck was there and within 30 minutes, the street was cleared and no one waking up would have been the wiser for such a bizarre turn of events. Sadly, we will never know how the car managed to turn over in such an unlikely place.

The same was true for the row of American army jeeps parked on rue Charlot Saturday afternoon, although one might have to believe it had something to do with the celebration at the Hôtel de Ville. The flag on them was French, but the markings clearly American and what they were doing there all by their lonesome selves will remain another mystery.

At 5 p.m., from the window of an American friend who rents an apartment with one of the greatest views in Paris, at the corner of the Seine and the Hôtel de Ville, we watched the commemoration of the 68th anniversary of the liberation of the city from occupation by Nazi Germany which took place on August 25, 1944. The liberation began with an uprising by the French Resistance and with the French Forces of the Interior, the Free French Army of Liberation and the U.S. Third Army under General Patton, Paris was freed. Every year there is a celebration of some note.

This year, together President François Hollande and Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë led the ceremonies alongside the 501st “Régiment de Chars de Combat de Mourmelon” (tank regiment), the “Brigade des Sapeurs Pompiers de Paris” (fire brigade) and the “détachement de la Préfecture de Police.” We had a perfect view on it all from the windows on the 4th floor and now you can watch the entire affair from your armchair.

Meanwhile, we spent several days filming our 9th House Hunters International in large, luxurious apartments all located in Le Marais with our client and purchaser, a well-known Hollywood screenwriter. The film crew often find themselves in mysterious places…just to get the best shots…like the bathrooms while we subjects peak in!

To learn more about our episodes on House Hunters International, visit: Adrian Leeds on House Hunters International.

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