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Paris: Springing with Color or Getting “Greiger?”

Trees in leaf at Place des VosgesTrees in leaf at Place des Vosges

Color non colorColor non-color

The African fabricsThe African fabrics

The African fabrics

Windowbox geraniumsWindowbox geraniums

The griege stairwellThe griege stairwell

Sherwin Williams GreigeSherwin Williams’ Greige

Spring is springing. Enfin! (Finally!)The colorful clothing is out of the closet and on my body. I’ve put up with the winter blues (or should I say “grays?) for too long, and now it’s time to shed some color on an otherwise rather dreary setting. Just look around, and you will see that about 95% of the Parisians are wearing the following six colors (if you want to call them “colors”): black, gray, navy, brown, khaki and beige. It hurts my eyes to see such drabness and now that the trees are sprouting their leaves and the flowers are blooming, it’s time to drag out the colorful clothing and the brighter spirits.

It’s tough to even find colorful clothing to purchase in Paris, so I take the opportunity while in Nice to indulge. The clothing on sale there is definitely more full of life. But as fortune would have it, Friday I happened upon a vendor of African clothing at a stand at Place de la Bourse. All the other food and vendor stands had been shut down, leaving this one very colorful spot alone in the center of the Place. His Ghanaian colorful array of inventory had my eyes going wild. Quickly, without hesitation or trying anything on for fit, I indulged in a Kaftan and a skirt, both in bright colored prints. How I love the African patterns and vibrant colors! These people know how to make eyes dance with joy!

On Saturday, while wearing bright yellow pants (purchased from The United Colors of Benetton in Nice), a day-glo orange raincoat (found at Galeries Lafayette in Nice) and a red beret with gold tennis shoes, a man passing me on the street chuckled and called out, “Teehee! Is the carnival in town?,” he asked. (I suppose I stood out in the otherwise drab crowd and by Paris standards, looked like a clown.)

“Oui, monsieur…it’s my own personal carnival!”

Last week a young woman named Mimi came over to my apartment to discuss purchasing a property in Paris. We both laughed when she walked in the door as she and I were wearing the same very bright colors, but in reverse. Her pants were the color of my top. Her bag was the color of my pants. This same young woman attended last week’s Après Midi and once again, we were color coordinated. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who loves wearing anything other than black, gray, navy, brown, khaki and beige in Paris!

The city of Paris used to be more colorful, but it’s gotten “greigier” over the years. I can remember years ago when there was a contest in the city to have the most beautiful “florissant” window boxes. Everyone was into it and the streets came to life with the color of flowers of every kind.

The doors on the street and the trim colors in most buildings used to be burgundy, navy, winter green and just about anything else, except “greige.” Over time, as the individual homeowner associations voted to repaint their doors and stairwells, this new popular neutral color became all the rage. Now this non-color has become so popular and “de rigueur” that almost everywhere you turn in Paris, the doors are bland and uninteresting — no longer inviting to enter.

Many years ago our “copropriété” (homeowner association) voted to repaint our gorgeous 17th-century stairwell. I was thrilled, as I’d been campaigning for this for years and happy to pay the big assessment to get it cleaned up. It was a gorgeous burgundy — classic in every way. The walls were cream colored, but very dirty, peeling and worn. One morning, I stepped out my door only to discover that my door, all the other doors and the bannister had been painted greige. I went into cardiac arrest and ran down to my neighbors to knock on their door to complain. “What the hell happened to our stairwell?!,” I asked incredulously. I almost felt sorry for my poor neighbor at whom I was freaking out.”Where were you when we voted on the color?,” she asked.”

Gone on vacation.” Ugh. I missed my chance to have a voice.

That moment I ran to the hardware store and bought a can of black enamel paint and a brush. By midday, the molding on the door was painted black and at least had some character, even if there was nothing I could do about the greige door to my apartment. At least, the trim gave it some real class and a bit more eye candy.

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, “greige” is that tone somewhere between gray and beige that some interior designers claim “could be the best neutral color ever.” Sherwin Williams calls their paint the “Perfect Greige.” Maybe their greige is the “perfect greige,” but please keep it out of my life forever! It’s far from perfect.

Now, I know a lot of you and maybe even most of you, find neutral tones soothing, classy and easy to live with. But, I don’t.


Oliver Gee with Adrian

This coming Wednesday, April 18th you’ll have a chance to witness a live podcast with Oliver Gee and me on the topic of “Why Paris?” He will interview me live at 7 p.m. at Café Méricourt, 22 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris.

Why Paris? Why do we live in Paris? Why do others want to live in Paris? What makes Paris so great…especially when recent reports claim Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live and beaten out by dozens of others for quality of living? Be there when we debate this question that hits us all right in the heart! For just €10, you can be a part of the podcast’s audience. Have a drink or two at the café and then stay for dinner if you like.

The April 18th interview podcast will be streamed live in another closed Facebook group: The Friends of the Earful Tower. This group is $5 a month and has live streams from Monthly Live Interviews.

Café Méricourt can only seat up to 40, so be sure to register early! Here’s how by email

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - my own personal carnival

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group


(“my own personal carnival”)


Respond to Adrian


The Adrian Leeds Group


P.S. For those of you in Southern California, I’ll be in Los Angeles and open to meeting with clients for two-hour property consultations in person between April 30th and May 4th. Special rate $350. To book your consultation, email me today


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