Home Again In The City Of Light
I had been to Languedoc-Roussillon before, but never quite like
With a group of almost twenty and IL journalist Val MacQueen leading
the way, mostly by coach (except for a three-hour-and-fifteen-minute
TGV ride to Montpellier from Paris Gare de Lyon), we toured a small
part of the region between Montpellier and Béziers as a discovery of
what the region had to offer and a look at available properties.
(BTW, If you prefer to fly, five international airports provide
When you’re touring a particular region, it is smart to stay in one
home base and make day trips from that point. In the little village
of Nezignan L’Evêque very near Pezenas, we did just that–in the
lovely "Hostellerie" de Saint-Alban
(http://www.saintalban.com/eng/saintalban/) with beautiful rooms, an
excellent restaurant, a professional meeting space and an inviting
pool (if it had been a little warmer!).
Over the course of five days, we divided our time between touring the
region and meeting with real estate agents who could show each of our
participants a variety of different properties.
Much time was spent in Pezenas, touring the Ancient Quarter (which
dates back to AD 1200) with an expert guide and at the end of the
week mingling through the crowds of its open air market–one of the
oldest markets in France. Pezenas is an absolutely beautifully
picturesque village with a profound history and a rich soul.
In the tiny port of Mèze, we spent a leisurely lunch over huge
caldrons of freshly steamed mussels while guide Christine Combet
talked about the vivid drama of the Cathars, the Crusades and the
Knights Templar–all of them interwoven in the history of the
At the World Heritage site of St. Guilhem-le-désert, we trekked to
the height of the village to discover one of France’s most beautiful
town centers, surrounded by small restaurants serving tables in the
center under a centuries-old tree of massive proportion. Leaving
there, we stopped for a view of Devil’s Bridge, an 11th-century
Romanesque bridge in Saint Etiene d’Issensac.
At Marseillan, some of our group looked at property, while others
took a drink at an Aussie bar (believe it or not!). Turns out the
owner makes a life-work out of opening Aussie bars in remote spots
then moving on to another adventure. Quelle vie!
Nearby is Noilly Prat, the Bacardi-owned vermouth distillery. After a
brief film about how vermouth is made, we walked among the enormous
kegs and breathed in the intoxicating odors of the liqueur.
In Sète, actually an island and an ancient port, where two working
canals bisect the downtown area, we basked in the sunshine over a
seafood lunch alongside the boats. A charming resort spot, property
here can be a little higher priced than inland.
Special thanks goes to Robert, our driver, who showed off his driving
skills while on route to the Château Grezan, for about a kilometer in
reverse out of the village of Caux, where the bus was bigger than the
roads! There, we sumptuously dined on breast of duck and venison and
The highlight of the tour was our barge ride on the famous Canal du
Midi, one of the engineering wonders of the world. The platane trees
along the side of the canal reflected on the mirror-like water as we
traveled through pretty Autumn scenery and negotiated four large
Many of the folks on the tour were enchanted enough in the region to
make offers on various properties–one person found a large house
perfect to turn into a Bed-and-Breakfast, another purchased a small
village house in Caux, where journalist Val MacQueen lives. Others
stayed on to continue their search.
One participant remarked: "It was an excellent introduction to the
area. We saw and experienced in a few days what it would have taken
much longer to have done independently, and met people who will be
very good future contacts."
To read what the tour participants had to say about it all, click on:
Glad to be back in the City of Light, I had a few hours on Sunday to
roam the aisles of the annual FIAC (scroll down for more information
about the art fair), dine on pasta a Santa Lucia in the 6th (scroll
down for a review of Santa Lucia) and have a property adventure with
another one of our tour participants (I’ll let Schuyler Hoffman tell
you all about it in this week’s Paris Property Insider).
They say home is where the heart is…and for me, it’s here in Le
Marais with my flourishing red geraniums just outside my windows and
the neighboring 17th-century apartments as a backdrop.
A la prochaine fois,
P.S. One thing we learned from our tour
to the south–that the
Working and Living in France Conference proved invaluable as a
foundation for those seeking properties and a l
ife in France.
Luckily, we’ll be doing it again this coming June. Scroll down for
more information about that, or about having the tapes of the
Conference if you were not able to attend.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Written and Edited by Adrian Leeds
Published by International Living
E-mail: [email protected]
Issue Number 62, October 29, 2002
In this issue:
*** Little Italy is in the Heart of Paris
*** FIAC Art Palix’s by Comparison
*** Doing it Again and Doing it Better This June
*** Tap Into the Tapes to Get the Truth
*** Do You Have an Ear for Poetry?
*** A Window of Opportunity in the Marais
*** And a Pied-à-terre in Saint-Germain
*** A LITTLE BIT OF ITALY IN THE HEART OF SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRES
The pocket of tiny streets adjacent to rue des Cannettes (including
rue Princesse and rue Guisarde) are door-to-door restaurants. It is
easy to be confused as to which are worthy and which are just tourist
traps serving mediocre food, even at reasonable prices. Around the
corner, Le Bistrot d’Henri on rue Princesse is one you can depend on
to be very good. Santa Lucia is, too, and offers an old world
atmosphere with wood beams and bench seats. Clientele is mostly
business people from the neighborhood who are "in the know." Family
photos fill the walls and professional waiters who have been there a
lifetime (the restaurant opened in 1961!) will make sure everything
is perfect. A woodburning oven in the back can account for what some
of my readers say is the best pizza in Paris. Pasta like "Parpardelle
mare Monte," with large shrimp, girolles (wild mushrooms) and cream
could be a special of the day (be sure to check the blackboard for
about five or so to choose from). The tiramisu is not overly
alcoholic, but creamy. You will leave quite content for the price and
feel you found a "bonne adresse" among the many others.
22, rue des Canettes, Arrondissement 6
Métro Mabillon, Saint-Germain-des-Près, Odéon
Closed Monday and Tuesday Lunch
Per Person 28 – 22 euro: Pizza 11 – 13 euro, Pastas 11 – 20 euro,
Plats 15 – 20 euro, Desserts 5 – 7 euro, Wine 25 cl 5 – 6, euro, 50
cl 6 – 9 euro.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The above excerpt was taken from the LEEDS GOOD VALUE
GUIDE TO PARIS RESTAURANTS by Adrian Leeds:
*** FIAC ART FAIR FEVER
— Adrian Leeds
I met Yvonamor Palix the first time I visited the FIAC (Foire
Internationale d’Art Contemporain) years before moving to Paris. Her
Paris-based gallery was showing the work of Sandy Skoglund, a
contemporary American artist whose finely crafted photographic images
poke fun at the entire tradition of dramatic sculpture
This year, the fair was held from October 24th through 28th at the
Porte de Versailles with 170 galleries from 23 countries exhibiting
works of art by more than 900 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
(http://www.fiac-online.com) Two hours up and down the aisles was
just scratching the surface…some of the world’s finest artists are
Yvonamor Palix showed some Skoglund work in a back space, but
featured Argentinean artist Pablo Reinoso
(http://www.droit-de-suite.com/reinoso.htm) whose whimsical
inflatable pillow sculptures kept you both entertained and in
If you missed the fair, be sure to note it in next year’s calendar
(it’s every Fall in Paris) or visit some of the participating
galleries, such as Yvonamor’s:
Yvonamor Palix Gallery
13, rue Keller
Tél. +33 (0)1 48 06 36 70
Email: mailto:[email protected]
*** COME THIS JUNE 19 – 24, WE’RE DOING IT AGAIN!
The details are coming into focus, so if you want information on the
next Working and Living in France Conference in Paris, scheduled for
June 19th through 24th, 2003, get on a special mailing list NOW!
Please send an e-mail to: mailto:[email protected]
To read more of what Conference participants had to say at the end of
their days, click here:
To read more about Conference presenters, click here:
*** TAP INTO THE CONFERENCE TAPES–BETTER THAN MISSING IT
If you couldn’t attend the Working and Living in France Conference
here in Paris October 18 – 21, you haven’t TOTALLY missed out. Both a
two-hour events souvenir video and a ten-hour multi-cassette set of
the ENTIRE CONFERENCE LIVE ON VIDEO are available from International
Living and Prime Cut Productions in both U.S. format (NTSC) and
European format (PAL).
You’ll have the opportunity to see and hear for yourself the essence
of all the professionals speaking at the Conference–almost as good
as having been there!
TO ORDER YOUR VIDEOS, you may go directly to our online secure
payment order form at
http://www.insiderparisguides.com/order/videosorder.html or e-mail:
EDITOR’S NOTE: You may also come to the next Working and Living in
France Conference here in Paris scheduled for June 2003. To be placed
on a special mailing list to be notified about the June conference,
please send an email to: mailto:[email protected]
*** AN EAR FOR POETRY
Van Gogh’s Ear launch reading
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m.
248, rue de Rivoli
A new poetry journal–with its eye (or ear) on what the poet Rod
Smith calls "Submodernism"–has emerged this autumn on the
international zine scene. Van Gogh’s Ear, a nonprofit biannual
publication based in Paris, published and edited by Ian Ayres,
combines the range and vitality of established poets with an
innovative new generation. To celebrate the launching of the first
issue, W.H. Smith will host a reading featuring 10 contributing poets
from Paris and the United States (each reading for about 2-3
Albert Flynn DeSilver
The special first (double) issue of Van Gogh’s Ear features 200 pages
of work from 81 poets representing the evolution of Beat poetry into
a cutting-edge future. Contributors include Joyce Carol Oates, John
Updike, Alice Notley, Tom Clark, Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg, Eileen
Myles, Ian Ayres, Diane di Prima, Robert Creeley, Amiri Baraka,
Leslie Scalapino, Kari Edwards, Susan Howe, John Wieners, Jean
Valentine, Ted Berrigan, Mary Burger, Peter Orlovsky, Michael
McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Andrei Codrescu, Frank O’Hara and
Van Gogh’s Ear is brought out in conjunction with Allen Ginsberg’s
Committee on Poetry.
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,
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 Woloch.
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