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Paris Photo Montage

At Bistrot à Vins Jacques Mélac on rue Léon Frot in the 11th, it was less than standing room only by 8 p.m. on Thursday evening with sardine-like togetherness while from the bar they were serving up small plastic cups of the new fruit of the vine and plates of charcuterie to coat your stomach. One glass was enough to hold us until we could walk down to Le Sot l’y Laisse on rue Alexandre Dumas for a first rate dinner. For those who don’t know this expression, Le Sot l’y Laisse is that little chunk of meat on the backside of a chicken that the servants keep in the kitchen for themselves — it’s the best and least discovered part of the poultry. This restaurant, like Mélac’s, are the neighborhood bistrots of the 11th the tourists don’t know about — at least not the ones that don’t venture off the beaten tracks.

Now sadly past, the annual photo fair, Paris Photo, seems to have gotten more press this year than I can remember in the past, and rightly so. I make it a point to attend, considering my personal interest in the medium as art, and discovered many new artists producing arresting images, some of which I added to my mental wish list.

Willy Ronis prints were there…in fact, the signature piece from the exhibition at the Hôtel de Ville titled “Les Amoureux de la Bastille, 1957” was on sale for a mere 8,150 Euros. The one I’m still dreaming about was a unique vintage print of 50’s top model Lisa Fonssagrives Penn taken by her first husband, Ferdinand Fonssagrives — a nude, the contours of which are only evident by the spots of light reflected on her skin. Gallery sales personnel told me the owner of the London gallery, Michael Hoppen, would likely fight me over it, as it had captivated him so much during the show. Other images and artists everyone is talking about, again, for real reason, include Loretta Lux’s striking portraits of children and from the Gallery Les Filles du Calvaire, Ellen Kooi’s landscape-portraits, both surrealistic, in color and wildly intriguing.

Sunday it turned icy and the announcement of a transport strike for tomorrow hit the media like a cold wave. Traffic will be normal for Métro, bus and tramway, but the SNCF and RER in the suburbs will experience some problems. Luckily for me, I’ve got a shuttle to the airport tomorrow with The Blue Vans, so I won’t have to depend on the train. For the detailed and complete warning, click on (in French).

This voyage to the States is one of those stupid “I can do it all” trips, forgetting how at this time of year, bad weather can keep a plane on the ground and how much fun it is to take off my shoes while going through the security check. (I wonder if they’ll be examining the soft cast I still have on my ankle for explosives!) At the end of 5 days, I will have been on 8 planes, have rented 3 cars, traveled to 2 cities (Paris-Knoxville-New Orleans-Knoxville-Paris), all in the name of being with family for Thanksgiving.

Aa la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. I will be reporting next week on what I found in Nouvelle Orléans, but until then, Wednesday’s Parler Paris Previews Community Calendar will be edited and published by Lynda Sydney, Parler Paris Marketing Director. I will not have access to email until I return Monday, so anything urgent should go directly to Lynda at [email protected]

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* Excerpt from the Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants…


* Bistrot à Vins
* 70, rue Alexandre Dumas, Arrondissement 11
* Phone
* Métro Avron, Alexandre Dumas
* Closed Sunday and Monday
* A La Carte Menu: Average Euro 30 – Euro 35 per Person

Make the trek to this part of Paris only “les vrais Parisiens” venture to for a beautifully delicious meal accompanied by an excellent array of wines all prepared and served up by young mom-pop restaurateurs who have the touch for making a new kid on the block more like one that’s stood the test of time. A rectangular space all windowed on the street, small square wooden tables lined up in neat rows and soft colors of yellows and burgundies give the space a warm and friendly “not-at-all-trendy” ambience — one immediately feels right at home. The wine list is meticulously printed in chalk on tiny “ardoises” (blackboards), placed somewhat haphazardly on a yellow ochre wall bordered by grape patterns stenciled in purple and green…

Yes, you can have a great three-course meal with wine and coffee in Paris for between $15 and $40 including tax and tip! Take Adrian’s advice…and discover more than 200 of the best-kept restaurant secrets in Paris. Get your copy of Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants now.


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