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The Concentric American Circles In Paris


December 16, 2002


When I first came to Paris, in my mind, as is for many who take the
big risk to move here, were two big ideas: 1) I would become fluent
in French in three months and 2) I would not entrench myself in the
American community and would therefore make lots of French friends.

Bah! Humbug! Eight years later, I am still laughing at this
ridiculous notion.

First, it is impossible for anyone, including an 8-year-old, to
become fluent in French in three months. No immersion course will do
it. No private lessons will do it. Think about it…it takes a young
child years to learn their native language before they can speak in
sentences. So, at over 40 (or even over 30), you’ll be lucky if
you’re speaking at all within the first year. I’ve been here more
than eight and I’m FINALLY getting the hang of it. "Dieu merci!"

Second, you aren’t likely to be able to avoid the American community
(if you’re an American, of course), nor would you want to. The French
Tourist Office of Tourism told us that in the calendar year 2001,
approximately 3 million Americans visited France and the Paris Woman
Journal recently wrote that there are over 55,000 private American
citizens currently residing in Paris. I’m not surprised.

The American community in Paris is an amazingly powerful force made
up of individuals that all have one thing in common…their love of
Paris and France. And with that, comes other personality traits that
we share.

The common threads among us seem to be:

1. An acute interest in things outside the realm of their own…they
are travelers, adventure-seekers, inquiring.

2. Cultured, creative and intelligent…they enjoy stimulating their
minds with the creative arts, music, theater, literature, cuisine,
etc., etc., etc.

3. Risk-takers…not afraid of what the future might bring and
willing to risk the security of what they already know for what they
might find to be better or more exciting.

4. Politically liberal minded…which seems to follow suit for those
who are risk-takers.

5. Unspoiled…willing to exchange a high standard of living for a
high quality of life.

For all these reasons, the American community comes together in fluid
ways regularly. They travel in concentric circles, crossing one
another as if the 55,000 of them were more like 55 living in all one

It’s so easy to meet people here, people that you can relate to
immediately, that it is almost frightening! Be prepared to carry your
"little black book" to jot down new numbers or have cards handy for
an exchange. You are sure to want them handy.

All this past week, my own concentric circle whirled with activity,
which is reported on below in a number of different articles. It
started with the first Parler Paris Après Midi meeting on Tuesday and
never stopped. Paris is a beehive of "synchronicity" (to coin Carl
Jung’s philosophy), an empowering force that enables us to find our
proper path with the confidence to know that it is the right one.

Happy Holidays…a la prochaine fois,

E-mail: mailto:[email protected]

P.S. Due to the Holiday Season, there will be no Paris Property
Insider on Thursday, December 26th.

— Adrian Leeds

Last Tuesday, SCHUYLER HOFFMAN and I took a table for six at the back
of the atrium at The Web Bar and waited for people to come to our
first meeting of the "Parler Paris Après Midi." One by one, or in
pairs, they arrived till by about 4 p.m., we had moved together
enough tables for the 16 or so who bravely came to see what it was
all about.

JEAN TAQUET (legal advisor extraordinaire and author of "The Insider
Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France": showed up to
say hello and ended up meeting Parler Paris readers, RANDALL AND
DIANA SMITH, who had been in email contact with him before. They are
a couple from Indianapolis who own apartments in Paris they call "La
Cigale Paris Experience" that they rent on a short-term basis…and
our own Paris-based DIANA (L.) SMITH who works with us to find
short-term apartments for people showed up, too…all good people to
get to know!

Improvisational "Improfessionals" CLARA MCBRIDE AND TIMOTHY LONE
handed out post cards about their upcoming performances–be sure to
see "Soapy Theatre Without a Safety Net!" now until December 29th
(visit for all the details).

Art historian and founder of Paris Muse (,
ELLEN MCBREEN, came to talk about her experience with the
museum-lover who wants to "transcend the typical and the touristy,
who wants an insider’s perspective on the ideal aesthetic classroom
that is Paris." Be sure to read more about Paris Muse further down in
this newsletter.

NICOLE ALEXANDER, a young attorney from Atlanta who moved here this
past August, expressed her interest in working with International
Living…and before the week was over, signed on with our office! So,
you’ll be hearing more from Nicole starting in January as the
International Living Paris Office Projects Manager, reachable at
mailto:[email protected]

Musician FARRIS SMITH came, learned about Kathy Burke’s live paiting
exhibition Thursday night, showed up there and got immortalized for
15 minutes of fame on Kathy’s canvas (visit
/parlerparis/art/burke.html or scroll down for more
information about her work).

International consultant, JAMES KIGIN, a member of Kunveno, The Club
For "Internationally-Minded People," invited us all to their soirée
that same evening at The Poloroom, 3, rue Lord Byron, 75008 Paris.
Like Parler Paris Après Midi, there are no membership or entrance
fees–Kunveno is entirely supported by sponsors. For more information

VICTORIA STRONG, TV and film producer and Paris resident of 7 years
came out to see what the Parler Paris community is all about and she
and LANA POOLE, friend of a friend who came to say hello, came to the
Parler Parlor Vin de Nöel party Satruday (as did some of the

YOO MI PARK-BERUBE, from Paris/LA/NY/New Haven/Seoul (hard to answer
that "where are you from" question…) and a few others who didn’t
leave their calling cards, rounded out the group.

In the two short hours we sipped on our coffees, teas, beers and
Kirs, we learned a lot, laughed a lot and made new friends…valuable

The next one is January 14th, 2003, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at LE WEB BAR,
32 Rue de Picardie, 75003 Paris Métro Temple or République

If you weren’t able to make it this time, we look forward to meeting
you the next, or the next, or the…we’ll be there the second Tuesday
of every month! For a full schedule and all the details, visit our
Web site at /parlerparis/apresmidi.html

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


— by Ellen McBreen, Art Historian and Founder of Paris Muse

"Chefs-d’oeuvre de la collection photographique au musée d’Orsay"
until February 23

"Masterpieces of the Photography Collection" is the inaugural
exhibition of the Musée d’Orsay’s permanent photography galleries.
The title may be somewhat generic, but the exhibition itself is
anything but. These new ground-floor rooms are slated to host a
series of thematic exhibitions, changed 3 times a year because of the
fragility of the materials. The Orsay photography collection has
slowly been building since starting from scratch in 1979. Despite
this relatively late start, it now numbers over 50,000 images.

This first exhibition will especially please those with an interest
in the origins of photography. It includes works from the medium’s

est years (1839-41) by inventors and original innovators like
Fox Talbot and Charles Nègre, for example. We especially liked an
1848 daguerréotype by Thibault of a revolutionary barricade on rue
St. Maur–a tangible reminder of how photography has since come to
define our experience of political events, as well as our collective
memory of them.

This is a relatively small, well-selected show, and you don’t even
need to pay extra to see it (as you do with the "Manet-Velazquez"
exhibition). Photography fans will now have to join the rest of us in
making the Orsay a standard stop on the Parisian art circuit.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ellen McBreen and the other instructors at PARIS MUSE
offer their private guided visits at the Musée d’Orsay, Louvre, Musée
Rodin, Cluny, Centre Pompidou, and Musée Picasso.

Find your muse in the museums of Paris. Read about their unique
educational programs at:

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

— by
Adrian Leeds


I’ve passed this corner dozens of times and marveled at this building
that seems as if a bomb had destroyed it. Next door is Chez l’Ami
Louis, one of Paris’ most special dining treasures–very expensive,
very traditional, very fabulous. Two blocks away is another one of my
favorite finds–Au Bascou.

I’ve been saying for a while now that this corner of the Marais was
the last to become hip and was about to burst forth–a great place
with lots of growth potential. And suddenly, there it was before my
very eyes–a new restaurant totally filled with diners (an
international mix) in that very space that looked like a town in
Normandy at the end of World War II. With the building still
crumbling around it, the interior walls are still of the original
white tile, almost every one cracked, but shiny clean. The original
ceiling, still in tact, is painted glass, similar to the one at Bar
Antoine in the 16th. The windows are fitted with marble sills,
shelves filled with bottles of wine line one side of the main dining
room (there is a smaller room at the rear) and with wooden tables and
warm lighting, the setting is surrealistic.

Once home to a "charcuterie," a South American restaurant with a long
list of beef dishes, is perfectly apropos. Try the "Ceviche" to
start–very "limey" and fresh. There is a mixture of Argentinean
style steaks traditionally served on wooden boards. The "Costilla de
cerdo a la cubana 18"–pork ribs–are tender and juicy, served with a
spicy salsa and a grilled banana! Choose a South American wine to top
off a great "repas." The neighborhood discovered this newcomer too
fast for words–a good sign that it’s worth knowing about.

South American
49, rue Volta, Arrondissement 3
Phone, Fax
Métro Arts et Métiers
Open Everyday until Midnight
A La Carte: Average per Person 25 to 30 Euro

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review is an excerpt from the "Leeds Good Value
Guide to Paris Restaurants." A new edition was just updated THIS
MORNING and is available for download by visiting

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


Just last week, I went to an art exhibit, and instead of pulling out
10 Euros from my wallet to pay for admission, I pulled out my Agora,
Inc. Press Pass. "Do you accept journalists at free admission?, I
asked" "Why, yes, we do," the cashier said and happily gave me a
ticket free of charge.

Later that week, I wrote about that visit for a newsletter. That
press pass came in awfully handy…and of course, writing about my
experience there an even greater pleasure.

You could be writing about your travel experiences, too…if you knew
the secrets to it, just as I’ve learned them.

In 5 days in Paris this April, you can —

Learn the secrets of becoming a successful travel writer, from
several of the best editors, writers, and publishers in the

Discover the little-known techniques travel writers use to land free
vacations, free concert tickets, free meals, and more!

Experience a side of the city you’ve never seen before, in the
company of local writers at the famous literary cafes and historic
restaurants, even a soirée at one writer’s Marais district

Walk away with a publishable Paris travel story — with the help of
professional editors who can launch your sideline career in this fun
and profitable field!

The details are coming together for yet another UTLIMATE TRAVEL
WRITERS WORKSHOP here in Paris this coming April 24 – 28, 2003.

To get a glimpse of what’s to come, visit
/parlerparis/travelwriters/index.html and to be on a
special mailing

list for more information, e-mail
mailto:[email protected]?subject=TravelWriters

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

— by Ellen Hinsey

Our latest book on the Parler Paris shelf:

The White Fire of Time is a collection of original, free-verse poems
by Ellen Hinsey (who teaches writing and literature at the Skidmore
College program here in Paris and the Ecole Polytechnique) about
endurance, consciousness, the earth itself and emotional respite in
the face of merciless eternity. It is a thought-provoking and
introspective anthology. Under the thunderous silence, under the
shadow/of a Word, in terror or indifference, or in slow
advancement,/Each body moving along the horizon of days,/Each in its
own motion, each compelled by the temporal axis.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ellen Hinsey is the author of the volume of poetry
"Cities of Memory," which was nominated in 1996 for the Yale Series
Award. In 1998 she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award
and in 1999 a nomination for the Pushcart Prize. Her poems and essays
have been appeared in a number of publications, including The New
Yorker and the New York Times. She has been a guest author at the
Sorbonne, the École Normale Supérieure and the Prague International
Writers Workshop. Hinsey resides in Paris, where she teaches for
Skidmore College’s Paris Program. During her stay at the Hans Arnhold
Center she will be working on the project The Natural Lesson of

Ellen Hinsey will be speaking at the upcoming INTERNATIONAL LIVING
PARIS POETRY WORKSHOP scheduled for March 2003


You, Writing Your Next Great Poem and Reading It at World Poetry
Days…Here in the City of Light…Paris!

Sylvia Beach didn’t just dream about it…T.S. Eliot didn’t just
dream about it…e.e. cummings didn’t just dream about it…John
Ashbury didn’t just dream about it…

They did it. And now you can do it, too. Don’t just dream about
writing your greatest poetry or prose in Paris…do it.

For four intensive days in the city that gave birth to Victor Hugo,
Apollinaire, Rimbaud and Baudelaire, you will…

1) Be immersed in a whirl of literary activities designed to
stimulate your creativity and introduce you to the world of
international contemporary poetry…

2) Learn the secrets from well-known and experienced poet-instructors
the techniques they use to write, revise, get published, present
their work in public before devoted audiences, and earn a living from
their craft…

3) Experience a side of Paris few have ever experienced before, in
the company of published poets and writers, at famous literary cafés,
historic Paris restaurants and bookshops…even a soirée at one
writer’s Marais district apartment…

4) Walk away with a publishable work and a treasure trove of raw
material and ideas to keep your writing flowing for years to come…

5) Have the rare and incomparable opportunity to read your poems to a
packed house at the elegant concert hall of the Fondation des Etats
Unis during the World Poetry Days celebration in Paris!

For more about the PARIS POETRY WORKSHOP, visit

And there’s more…




FAREWELL DINNER /parlerparis/poetry/dinnerreading.html

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* Get the insider’s take on WORKING AND LIVING in Paris…

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



th Crochard, co-coordinator of the PARLER PARLOR
FRENCH-ENGLISH CONVERSATION GROUP, makes a "helluva" good "Vin de
Nöel" — the group of 50 this past Saturday at Eurocentres reported.

* Parler Parlor is open all year long except for national and
religious holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Please take special note, Parler Parlor is CLOSED FROM DECEMBER 24TH,

* SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Starting January 8, the Wednesday sessions
will move to 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

* Coming next to Parler Parlor is our annual KING CAKE PARTY (Galette
des Rois)!

Saturday, January 18, 2002, 11 A.M. at Eurocentres, 13 Passage
Dauphine, 6th arrondissement. Open to everyone, at 5 Euro per person

Come for conversation at 11 a.m. then stay for Galette des Rois,
drinks and other desserts. Make new friends — get to know the
members of Parler Parlor.

All memberships that day get an additional 10% discount! For more
information, call or email: mailto:[email protected] or Elisabeth
at or Adrian at

For more information, visit:

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


Thursday night, American artist Kathy Burke painted about nine
full-sized portraits, one on top of the other, each metamorphosing
before our very eyes at her beautiful atelier in Le Marais. Among
them were musician Farris Smith (Parler Paris Après Midi) and singer
Gayle Cloud (her next performance is in January).

It was so exciting that Sunday afternoon, I took a private painting
session with Kathy, not for her to paint my portrait, but for me to
paint my own, with Kathy as instructor. For three hours, under the
natural lighting in the studio, with a canvas, a mirror, a dozen
different brushes and an array of acrylic paints, including silver,
gold and copper (!), I attempted to paint layer after layer until I
had something of myself on the canvas…if not an exact reproduction
of my face, but at least my creative self in color on the "tableau."

A personal workshop like this is possible for you, too. You need
absolutely no prior experience painting. In fact, I know several
people whose career painting started with that first stroke in a
workshop by Kathy Burke. In a 3-hour session, you book with Kathy on
your own time, you should be able to walk away with 1 to 3 self
portraits…and proud enough to frame them for hanging on your wall.

Cost is 345 Euros including materials.

For more information, to book your session or to learn more about
Kathy’s work on Parler Paris:
/parlerparis/art/burke.html or E-mail
mailto:[email protected]?subject=ParlerParisPortraits

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


Dear Conjunction presents…

A comic operetta in one act
by Gilbert & Sullivan
directed by Becky Tepfer & Christian Erickson

"The true enjoyment of laughter has not been discovered by those who
have not yet seen Trial by Jury" — The Daily Telegraph,1875

"Trial by Jury" is a hilarious and richly tuneful 19th-century parody
of love and law, transported into the 21st century for Dear
Conjunction by directors Christian Erickson and Becky Tepfer and a
cast of 20 singers and actors !

Till January 5th, 2003 at 7 p.m., Sundays at 7:30
(no performances Mondays, Christmas Day or New Year¹s Day)

At the Sudden Theatre
14 bis rue Ste Isaure
75018 Paris
Tel 01 42 62 35 00
Métro Simplon/Jules Joffrin

Tickets 20/13/10 euros

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


To all Anglophile fans of dance music and the Eighties…for people
who like the music of New Order, The Specials, Moby…

The Highlander
Friday, December 20th, 2002, 9 p.m.
8 de Nevers, 75006 Paris
Métro Pont Neuf

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


You cover so many topics that are important to consider when living
abroad. However, I have not read anything about health insurance for
Expats. I am just now beginning to research it and am not finding a
lot of information on the subject. It would be so helpful to me, as
well as others, if you could address that issue in an upcoming
edition of your newsletter.


ank you,
Gina V.


During our last Working and Living in France Conference, we
introduced the participants to OLIVIER DEVERGNE, ADVANTAGE INSURANCE

Cabinet Jacques Homo S.A. was created by Jacques Homo in 1978. Today
the firm consists of 25 employees working in group life and medical
insurance. Although the company deals with private and business
accounts, it has developed a specific department to assist English
speaking persons who come to live in France for an extended period of
time, particularly with car, house owners, medical insurance and
others. Jacques Homo looks personally after group life and medical
insurance assisted by Sylvie Labastire who is responsible for private
medical insurance accounts. General accident insurance is managed by
Olivier Devergne, assisted by Lionel Sailly and Jean Jacques Michalet
(presently until Isabelle Poitrenaud returns in October). Before the
creation of this company, Jacques Homo worked as an agent after
having receiving a degree from the University of Paris La Sorbonne,
Law and Political sciences. ( Docteur en Droit et IEP). Olivier
Devergne has been an insurance professional his entire life,
including working in the London market. He attended a business
administration school in Paris, ( HEC ).

To contact Olivier, email mailto:[email protected] or call and be sure to tell him Adrian Leeds and Parler Paris
sent you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The next Working and Living in France Conference is
scheduled for June 2003. For more information or to be put on a
special mailing list, email:
mailto:[email protected]?subject=WLIFConference


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