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“Be Prepared To Catch “”La Maladie”””

Today I am writing you from my home town — New Orleans.

The International Living, Live Overseas Conference, took
place here in the Ile de France room of Le Meridien. My
sister had unearthed a four-foot-high cardboard Eiffel
Tower from her attic to decorate the table and I filled the
base of it with small zip-lock bags of Herbs de Provence to
hand out as favors. The lovely scent wafted past me all
week long.

During the conference, I gave a PowerPoint presentation
about France, filled with beautiful photos of the cities
and countryside I have come to know and love, and spoke
with dozens of conference participants about life in

So, here I was in my own home town, but Paris was in my
mind and heart, and it just won’t let go. In fact, I told
the audience at the beginning of my presentation that if
they didn’t want to get emotionally attached to France,
then don’t even bother coming, unless they were prepared to
catch "La Maladie." And I was serious.

Here are a few highlights from the presentation…

There are 22 regions in France, and 96 departments. It is
bordered by Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and
Belgium. So centrally located, one can travel from Paris to
Amsterdam in four-and-a-half hours, to Brussels in
one-and-a-half hours, and to London in three hours.

France has a population of 59,765,983 (July 2002). It has a
life expectancy for women of 83.14 years (U.S. 80.2), men
75.17 years (U.S. 74.5), and an average of 79.05 years for
men and women combined (U.S. 77.4). In spite of their high
cholesterol diets and incessant smoking, the French live
quite a bit longer than Americans.

France is made up of many ethnic groups: Celtic and Latin
with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese and
Basque Minorities.

The territory is 550,000 square kilometers (a little less
than twice the size of Colorado), with 5500 square
kilometers of coastline, and 26% is forest.

83% to 88% of the French are Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant,
1% Jewish, 5% to 10% Muslim, and 4% unaffiliated. Of
course, the official language is French, but more and more
of the population is becoming bilingual (learning English).
The literacy rate of those over the age of 15 is 99%.

Finfacts Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2002
( says that Paris
ranks 74th, after Dublin, for least expensive cost of
living. In ranking order for your interest: 1. Hong Kong;
7. New York; 10. London; 19. Los Angeles; 21. San
Francisco; 28. Mexico City; 57. Seattle; 65. Panama City;
73. Dublin; 74. Paris. Are you surprised?

An average Paris studio apartment costs $72,600, and rents
for $700. An average three-room apartment costs $225,260,
and rents for $1,150. The average size of a home in France
is four-and-a-half rooms, the average price of a home in
France is $122,292, and the average area of a lot in France
is 1,324 square meters.

The income tax rate varies from 8.25% to 53.25%, and sales
tax (VAT) is 19.6%. Medical facilities in English are
available at both the American Hospital and the British
Hospital in Paris. A general check- up is about $40, a
general check-up and cleaning at a private dentist is about
$30, an emergency house call (S.O.S.) is about $40, and a
semester at a private English language high school is
$4,000 to $8,000.

The type of visa necessary to reside in France longer than
90 days is called a Carte de Séjour, and there are various
types: "visiteur" (visitor), "salarié" (salaried worker),
"membre de famille" (a family member of a Carte de Séjour
holder), "étudiant" (student), "scientifique" (researcher
or university lecturer). There is no quarantine for pets. A
French drivers’ license is required within one year of
having a Carte de Séjour. Public transportation is clean
and efficient on the Métro, Bus, RER, (regional trains) and

Some of the benefits of living in France are: personal
safety, excellent public transportation, inexpensive
quality healthcare, high quality (free) k-12 education.
France is also centrally located for travel to Europe, and
naturally, the long vacation periods (five weeks guaranteed
each year) and holidays (both national and religious).

Some of the challenges are: obtaining the right to live and
work in France, learning the language, dealing with the
cultural differences, bureaucracy, (notice that this word
is French) and obtaining a French drivers license.

But, is it worth the challenge? Yes, obviously I believe it
is! Because France is not a place where you will simply
watch the world go by…but where you will become a part of
the culture and the energy of its life. .

A la prochaine fois,


P.S. Be sure to scroll down for lots o
f information for all
you writers out there — the March 2003 Paris Poetry
Workshop and the April 2003 Travel Writers’ Workshops are
coming up soon!

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

Parler Paris
Written and Edited by Adrian Leeds

Published by International Living

E-mail: [email protected]

Issue Number 65, November ember 18, 2002

In this issue:

*** Paris is a Poetic Place for Prose
*** A Gypsy Poem Comes Alive
*** Paris Readings to Put on Your Calendar
*** Travel Writers Meet in Paris Again
*** Great Eats at a Parisian Bar à Vins
*** Drink Up Beaujolais Nouveau This Week
*** Christmas Conversation Party, December 14
*** The Personal Exemption Allowance Doubled

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


The details of the first annual Paris Poetry Workshop led
by poet Cecilia Woloch are shaping up, so take note, mark
your calendar and take advantage of the early registration

The evening of March 17, the workshop opens with a cocktail
reception at a special Paris location, which is then
followed by three intensive days with Cecilia Woloch and
other instructors, of morning workshops, afternoon
round-table meetings, evening readings, and special

The full-day workshops are limited to 12 participants, but
half-day workshops are open to those who want to attend
just the afternoon and evening sessions.

Many well-known local and international poets will be
joining us for the round-table discussions and evening

On March 21 and 22, participants of the Paris Poetry
Workshop will be entitled to read at World Poetry Days,
held at the Grand Salon in Fondation des Etats Unis at the
Cité Universitaire. This event is scheduled to coincide
with UNESCO readings held around the world, in the interest
of world peace through poetry.

Full Paris Poetry Workshop Early Registration: $895 (Up to
January 31, 2003).

Full Paris Poetry Workshop Late Registration: $995.

Half-day Paris Poetry Workshop Early Registration: $595 (Up
to January 31, 2003).

Half-day Paris Poetry Workshop Late Registration: $695.

More details are soon to come with all information posted
on the Parler Paris website.

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

To take advantage of the early registration now (with no
penalties to cancel your registration up until January 31),
and to make your travel plans for the conference, contact:
Barbara Perriello at Agora Travel in the U.S. at tel.
(800)926-6575, e-mail:
mailto:[email protected]


TSIGAN: THE GYPSY POEM 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 obscure.

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 t
o 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.


WHERE IS BISHARIBA? by stage, film, TV, and Broadway actor
Richard Venture, featuring Robert Barr, Stephanie Campion,
Mike Dineen, Belikos Gray and Steve Croce. November 19, at
7.30 p.m. in Carr’s Restaurant, 1 rue du Mont Thabor, 75001
Paris, Métro Tuileries.


November 20– Evening with author Jacques Richardson: "War,
Science and Terrorism: from Laboratory to Open Conflict" at
the American Library in Paris, 10 rue General-Camou 75007.
For more information, e-mail: mailto:[email protected] or
tel. 01 53 59 12 67.

November 21–7 p.m. American Prize-winning poet Ellen
Hinsey will present and read from her new collection of
poems: The White Fire of Time. She will be introduced by
C.K. Williams at Village Voice, 6 rue Princesse, 75006
Paris, M° Mabillon, e-mail:
mailto:[email protected]

November 24–7:30 p.m. Moving Parts play reading of Jack
Shea’s "La Table" (in English). Carr’s Restaurant, 1 rue du
Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris, Métro Tuileries.

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


To all you budding travel writers–mark your calendar for
the upcoming Ultimate Travel Writers’ Workshops in Paris.

Travel Writers I, April 25 to 28, 2003.

Travel Writers II, April 29 to May 2, 2003.

Workshop I will get booked before booking Workshop II and
it’s limited to 35 participants, so make your plans early.

Details of this year’s workshops are to follow, but to get
an idea of what you can expect, have a look at last year’s
workshops by visiting the website at:

For more information, or to be put on a special mailing
list, e-mail:
mailto:[email protected]?subject=TravelWriters

To register and take advantage of the early registration
prices, contact: Barbara Perriello at Agora Travel in the
U.S. at tel. (800)926-6575, e-mail:
mailto:[email protected]?xubject=TravelWriters

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


By Adrian Leeds, author of Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris


Just down the block is the elegant and pricey Mariage
Frères Salon de Thé, and across the street is the best hair
cutter in Paris, Peter Gadge. For such a small street,
there are lots of wonderful shops and restaurants,
including Le Coude Fou. There are only two choices in each
category on the fixed price menu, but I don’t think you’ll
be disappointed. This charming, old-world, typically
Parisian restaurant serves a meal as perfectly prepared as
you might have at a much more expensive restaurant (I
recently had a similar meal in a new trendy restaurant for
three times the price that wasn’t as good). The first good
sign is the delicious crusty bread, then steak (their
specialty) with a very robust green peppercorn sauce, or
pink trout in a buttery, but flavorful light sauce.
Servings are copious. The wine list is the most impressive
aspect, as this is one of the neighborhood’s favorite "bar
à vins" and the wine, which is served with the fixed price
menu, is much better quality than the usual "vin de
maison." Service is prompt and friendly and the décor
simple and comfortable. This is the kind of restaurant that
reminds me why I like living in Paris.

12, rue du Bourg-Tibourg, Arrondissement 4
Phone, Fax
Métro Hôtel de Ville
Open everyday
Lunch menu: 16 euro two-course menu with two glasses of
wine; 19 euro three-
course menu with two glasses of wine; Dinner À La Carte:
Entrées 6.10
euro to 18.29 euro, Plats 13.87 euro to 14.48 euro.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For all of those whose culinary interests
lie beyond a Paris experience, I’ll be telling tales of my
New Orleans dining adventures of this past week in an
upcoming article to be posted on the Parler Paris website.

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


The Fête du Beaujolais Nouveau, in fact the first
availability of the season’s Beaujolais Nouveau wine, this
year is November 21, celebrated in wine bars and cafés
everywhere. For lots of information (in French) about
Beaujolais Nouveau, visit:


There are MANY "bonnes adresses" with french flavor around
New York, but Zara is not one of them. It is a Spanish
retailer, not French.

Amanda K.


Thanks for correcting my "faux pas!"

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


For more conversation in French, join Parler Parlor Live in

Parler Parlor will be celebrating Christmas this year at
its new location on the Left Bank at Eurocentres, Saturday,
December 14. Stay tuned for more information about the

Now, Parler Parlor meets four times a week in two

Tuesdays 6:30 to 8 p.m., and Thursdays 6:30 to 8 p.m., at
COPROM LANGUES, 14 rue Lafayette, 4th Floor 9th
arrondissement, Métro Chaussée d’Antin, Opéra, RER A

Wednesdays 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to
12:30 p.m., at EUROCENTRES 13 passage Dauphine (entrance
between rue Dauphine and rue Mazarine), 6th arrondissement,
Métro Odéon, Saint-Michel.

It’s free the first time you come!

For more information, visit:

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


The standard personal exemption–the total value of
merchandise–travelers may bring back to the United States
without having to pay duty, increased from $400 to $800
this past November 4. The increase was contained in the
Trade Act of 2002, which became law on August 6, 2002. All
other personal exemption rates remain unchanged.


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