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A Sleepless Night In Paris


October 7, 2002


All week, we’ve been talking about Monsieur Bertrand Delanoe,
Paris’ Socialist openly Gay mayor who has enlightened the city
with such innovative cultural events as Paris Plage and now LA
NUIT BLANCHE. The first event of its kind, the city was
scheduled to stay lit and awash with public "spectacles"
(performances) October 5th from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next
morning. Dozens of museums and tourist attractions, including
the Eiffel Tower, were open all night, and concerts and art
exhibits were held throughout Paris.

It seemed like we were the eldest participators of the all-night
affair, among a sea of 15 to 30 year-olds, who clearly have an
easier time staying awake at 2 a.m. than we do.

Past midnight the sidewalks on rue de Rivoli in front of the
Hôtel de Ville were elbow to elbow, about twice as densely
populated as they had been earlier on Saturday. The city hall
was as magnificent as every other evening, lit in full regalia,
as nearly 2,000 stood outside hoping to enter for a concert of
electronic lounge music planned for mid evening.

In typically French fashion, revelers were in good spirits but
very well-behaved, even for their youth. This is something that
has struck me over the years here with every public gathering.
As I recall from street events Stateside (Mardi Gras in New
Orleans, for example, or New Years Eve in Times Square), the
police would have been out in full force ready with riot control
equipment and drunkenness and brawls would be the norm. This was
not the case during La Nuit Blanche. In fact, I can’t recall
seeing an overabundance of police on the streets at all.

The city had set up special buses to transport people throughout
the night, but the Métro remained closed, just as it is every
night from about 1 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. We didn’t stray too far
from home, for this very reason. Taxis were impossible to hail,
taxi lines a mile long and reports the next day were that the
buses were packed like sardines.

On the way home, we passed the most interesting "spectacle of
all." An ordinary truck was parked along rue de Bretagne with
its back door up. A few people were standing at the back viewing
a video show of underwater scenes that was projected onto the
front wall of the truck. Whose it was and why it was we will
never know–but clearly someone took the initiative on his own
to become a part of this first-of-its-kind event.

The next morning, we learned that an attacker stabbed the mayor
in the Salle des Fêtes of the Hôtel de Ville (a lavish ballroom
decorated with red and green lights and palm trees) "because
[the attacker] disliked politicians and homosexuals."

Fortunately for us who are enjoying his creative initiatives,
the injury was minor and reports say he will recover well.
Unfortunately, the assassination attempt was almost successful
just because (as reported in the press) "…security was kept to
a minimum because Delanoe wanted to maintain a relaxed
atmosphere. Visitors milled about and were able to enter and
leave the building without being searched or questioned. Delanoe
never lost consciousness and even gave the order for the party
to continue as he was being taken to the hospital."

I can only hope that this has not dampened the spirits of our
gallant mayor nor the people who inhabit this beautiful city to
the point of overzealous security measures and heightened
paranoia, which seems so rampant now in the U.S. In fact, living
without fear is one of the things I have always enjoyed so much
about living here–as we all know, "the only thing we have to
fear is fear itself."

A la prochaine fois,


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Parler Paris
Written and Edited by Adrian Leeds

Published by International Living
E-mail: [email protected]

Issue Number 59, October 7, 2002

In this issue:

*** French Health Insurance Coverage for Everyone
*** Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?
*** Treat Yourself to Sunny African Cuisine
*** Painting Paris for Christmas
*** More to Read About Paris
*** Improvisation Improfessionally Speaking

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— Jean Taquet,


I am an American and have lived in France for about 2 years. I
am still quite confused about my obligation to join the French
government health program, the Sécurité Sociale.


Given the scope of your question, I think the best way to answer
is to explain the legal requirements regarding health coverage
for French residents, which primarily deals with the Sécurité
Sociale system. If you hold a carte de séjour, you must have
comprehensive health coverage valid in France, since this is one
of the four residence requirements stipulated by law. The choice
between the types of coverage depends on the type of carte de
séjour you hold. For the carte de séjour that mentions
"visiteur," all subcategories except one allow you to have a
foreign health insurance policy. A few subcategories of the
carte de séjour mentioning "artistique" or "scientifique" also
allow a foreign policy.

The other four types of carte de séjour (student, employee,
business, private life) that require registration with the
French health insurance system, with one or two possible
exceptions. To complicate the situation even more, depending on
your professional situation, you have to register either through
the generic system called Sécurité Sociale that is serviced by
your local Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM) or by a
Caisse d’Assurance Maladie specific to the professional
activities, such as business owner, performing artist, other
artist, writer, lawyer, or CPA.

French health coverage can be provided through: payment of
"charges sociales" by the employer and employee; the amount
being related to wage/salary level; payment of "charges
sociales" as a self-employed person; purchase of student
coverage at one of several levels, depending on the coverage
desired beyond a mandatory minimum; voluntary registration for
Couverture Médicale Universelle (C.M.U.) the cost of which is a
ratio of one’s worldwide income (this can be expensive,
especially if you are single and well paid).

All three types of coverage enable the insured person to cover a
spouse and children, so for some families they can be much
cheaper than a foreign policy. Also, under certain
circumstances, if you are unmarried but live with your partner,
you may be able to provide his or her health coverage at no
extra cost.


Every month, legal counselor Jean Taquet addresses your
real-life questions in his e-mail advice column, Practical
Answers. The above excerpt is from the October column, which you
can read here: /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html

To subscribe to Jean Taquet’s monthly column or to contact Jean
Taquet, e-mail mailto:[email protected]

will be speaking at the upcoming International Living Working
and Living in France Conference October 18 – 21. The company
developed a specific department to assist English speaking
persons who come to live in France for an extended period of
time. To contact M. Devergne, e-mail
mailto:[email protected]

For more information about the conference, visit:


LA TABLE DE FRANÇOISE is set for up to ten while French chef
extraordinaire Françoise Richard demonstrates cooking techniques
in a big bright well-equipped kitchen in a luxurious apartment
in the 17th. Hosted by Pam Buckner Levine, you and your friends
can take a series of informal hands-on classes to learn the art
of French and Continental cooking…then when all is said and
done, slowly move to the aristocratic dining room for a
sumptuous lunch of what you prepared.

Last week’s menu was Petits Legumes Grillés, Magret de Canard
Sauce aux Fruits, Riz Perse and Mousse au Chocolat. This week’s
menu has you cooking Veau en Cocotte aux Girolles and Tarte aux
Pommes. Is your mouth watering? It should be. Every morsel was

Classes are every Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and
the menus change, so be prepared to sign up for several.

Starting soon, La Table de Françoise will be offering Couples
Evenings–a gourmet dinner prepared by you and your "other half"
along with other participating couples and dining on your "labor
of love" together in this beautiful setting.

To book yourself or your group with LA TABLE DE FRANÇOISE, visit
ml or
e-mail Pam Buckner Levine at
mailto:[email protected]?subject=TabledeFrancoise


* What Melinda Herron, author of the Insider Guide to Black
Paris has to say about THE ILE DE GORÉE–

The writing on the front window says: "Offrez-vous du soleil"
(Treat yourself to some sun). This restaurant, whose name evokes
so much for descendants of African slaves, offers Senegalese
cooking at its most delicious! One of the few establishments
where you can eat dark red West African couscous and Tierré,
Saint-Louis style fish. Starters range from 5 euro to 6 euro;
entrées, 11.43 euro to 13.72 euro.

* (The following is from "Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris

Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud is a gourmand’s dream for inexpensive
ethnic restaurants. This one stands out from the rest by its
bright blue front with a palm tree painted in its window, its
grass cloth walls and ceiling, its original African art and its
wall-to-wall customers. A large fat black cat greets customers,
an obvious regular diner at Ile de Gorée. You could easily
become one, too, just so that you can savor every single
original dish from Senegal and the Ile de Gorée: "Aloco"
(sautéed plantain); the national dish of rice, fish and
vegetables called "Thiebou Diene;" "Yassa Poisson" from the
southern part of Senegal made of the fish daurade smothered in
lemon macerated onions; "Colombo Poulet" chicken and vegetables
in a curry sauce; lots of exotic fruit punches and fruit
desserts such as "Banane Flambée." It is also not at all unusual
to be serenaded by an African musician playing a large native
hand-made instrument with many strings.

70, rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, Arrondissement 11
Métro Parmentier
Closed Sunday

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Fall 2002 versions of these two Insider Paris
Guides have just been made available for purchase–

The Insider Guide to Black Paris
Now the cultural hub for English-speaking Blacks–Africans,
African-Americans, West Indians, Blacks from the UK and
Canada–Paris is home.

Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris Restaurants
The first and only electronic guide of its kind, online since
1996 with 235 good-value great-meal restaurants in Paris.

* * * * * ADVERTISEMENT * * * * *


The latest Paris resource answers just about every
living-in-France question you have (over 200, in fact). Now, you
can have access to all these answers in a constantly-updated
informative–and interesting–guide.

To read more about this amazing reference, click here:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


* Watercolors by Lisa Rothstein…

You’ve barely unpacked your vacation bags, and it’s already time
to start thinking about holiday plans and gifts. Why not give a
wonderful memory of your summer holiday–an original watercolor
from your photo?

All you do is e-mail your photo to Lisa Rothstein and in just a
couple of weeks you have an original watercolor painting of the
same scene, beautifully matted and ready to frame or give as is.
There’s no more personal or original gift…and unlike most,
this one lasts forever.

To find out how to get your own watercolor made just for you or
a loved one from your favorite photo, visit
/parlerparis/art/watercolors.html or send an
e-mail to
mailto:[email protected]?subject=Watercolors

* Portraits by Kathy Burke…

Take home special memories of Paris–have a portrait painted by
Kathy Burke. In one session of one to four hours in Kathy’s
beautiful atelier in the Marais, you’ll have a painting to
cherish forever, of yourself or your loved ones.

Kathy has painted a wide number of Parisian celebrities from the
Mayor of Paris to the President of Cartier. Her paintings are
found in public and private collections all over Europe and in
the United States. I’ve shown in the Grand Palais in Paris and
other European art centers.

To witness a Kathy Burke "live painting," visit her Marais
studio Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 3 p.m.!

55 rue Meslay
75003 Paris
Interphone A27+ "appel"
Information +33 (0)

To find out how to have your portrait painted by Kathy Burke,
visit /parlerparis/art/burke.html or send an
e-mail to
mailto:[email protected]?subject=ParisPortraits


by Patty Lurie


The traveler to France can now discover the beauty of Paris
while following in the exact footsteps of well-known
Impressionist painters. "Guide To Impressionist Paris" is a
handy guidebook featuring nine walking tours to eighty famous
painting sites. Museum quality reproductions of the paintings
are paired aesthetically with 80 color photographs of the
existing locations as they appear today. The reader can stand
where the artist stood and see what they saw. The accompanying
text includes easy-to-follow tour directions, informative
comments about each painting and its artist, and historical
information about Paris, along with nine maps to the exact
painting sites. Now tourists, art lovers, and armchair travelers
alike can discover the beauty of the French capital while
looking through the eyes of Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Van Gogh,
and other well-known Impressionists. "Guide To Impressionist
Paris" is equally at home on the art bookshelf, as it is on the
traveler’s bookshelf.

For more about the author, visit her Web site at:

by Claire Kincannon


An international anthology of poetry, prose and plays as written
by nineteen women from eleven countries of the world. The seeds
for Sheets to the Wind were planted in Paris at the OECD
(Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) with five
women from five different countries contributing poems and short
stories and drawings. The book mushroomed ultimately into
nineteen women from eleven countries and twelve of those women
read at our debut reading, also in Paris. A second edition of
Sheets to the Wind is planned for Spring 2003 which will include
a CD of most of the participants reading excerpts from their
work. Contact the publisher at mailto:[email protected] for
additional information.

by Cecilia Woloch


A review by Carol Muske-Dukes–

Cecilia Woloch’s new book, "Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem," is aptly
subtitled. The poems have an impassioned, wandering, breathless
style, as if the author were relating a harrowing tragedy, a
story that has never before been told. And, in a sense, this is
the case. The background of the Roma, the gypsy people, has
never been fully documented; the elusiveness of the nomadic
tribe (both geographically and historically) is legendary. The
poet tracks her paternal grandmother back to the village in the
Carpathian mountains where she was born, suspecting a blood
connection to the gypsies, but her ancestor’s origins remain

There is only the hint of the half-pejorative, half-awed family
reference to gypsy blood that draws Woloch into a kind of
romantic espionage from country to country: Twilight: moving
east en route to Krosno, moving south toward that corner of the
map where Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia touch the upper curve of the
crescent moon of the northernmost Carpathians. The Lemki,
Wallachians–nomads–followed the curve of this crescent,
traveled the peaks from Romania ….

She records in single-sentence descriptions that multiply, page
to page, like gravestones, the atrocities committed over the
centuries against the Roma. Still, during her travels, she is
warned by a scholar of gypsy culture that "it would be nonsense
to create personal mythologies." This is the question the
reader, caught up in the intoxicating swirl of language, may
ask: Are we reading this meditation on diaspora as the author’s
desire to document a kind of psychological ancestry or as a way
back to the sources of literary self-invention? Perhaps the
book’s elusive intentions are less compelling than the poet’s
own answer to the cautioning scholar: I’d like to write my name
in snow; I’d like to fly…into the blank page. Like Keats’
epitaph–"Here lies one whose name was writ in water"–Woloch
seems to be telling us how the essence of poetry is its own
disappearance into silence, how improbable this mystery has
always been for the bourgeois mind, the government of
convention, how removed is the gypsy soul from the armed borders
and maps, from the sad republic of clocks.

* EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a budding poet, or a poet of note,
be sure to sign up to read your works at the WORLD POETRY day,
MARCH 21, 2003.

We will be celebrating World Poetry day, March 21, 2003 with
special poetry workshops, speakers, discussions and readings the
days before and the days after, led by published poet, Cecilia

To learn more about the upcoming event or to be put on a special
mailing list for the PARIS POETRY WORKSHOP, send an e-mail to
mailto:[email protected]?subject=Poetry


The Improfessionals are an international improvisational theatre
troupe of seven actors from five different countries: Germany,
Canada, England, the United States and Denmark. We deliver a
form of theatre where each performance is unique.

Improvisation is live, spontaneous theatre. Actors
instantaneously create characters, places and relationships to
build a s
cene in which audience suggestions shape the action.

Since all audiences are different and all scenes are created
on-the-spot, no two performances are alike. Together, we
cooperate to create a show that has never been seen and will
never be seen again.

We are improvisation in its purest form; anything is possible,
everything is accepted. This is theatre without a safety net!

Upcoming performances:

Tuesday Oct 8th 20h30
Café OZ (en face Moulin Rouge)
1 rue de Bruxelles, 9th
Metro Blanche
Entrance free, 5 euro suggested donation

Friday October 18th 20H30
Franco-community center at the American Church
65 Quais D’Orsay
Metro/RER-Invalides or Alama Marceau
Entrance: 7 euro (5 euros tarif reduit)

For more information, visit:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Go to /parlerparis/

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


If you would like to have your message read by the subscribers
of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre®, please e-mail me at
[email protected]

If you have links about Paris or France and would like
reciprocal links, please e-mail me at
[email protected]

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Know someone who would be interested in the opportunities in
this e-letter? Forward it to your friend, relative, or

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Copyright 2002 Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd.

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