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Simple Pleasures


February 4, 2002


When I first arrived in Paris, a new friend took me to an American
restaurant near Metro Etienne Marcel where I ordered a Salade Nicoise, just
because it was such a typically French thing to eat. It was the best Salade
Nicoise I had ever eaten, and I have never found one to equal it since then
. . . until yesterday.

Now seven years later, as we approached Joe Allen, the restaurant
well-known in Paris for its 30 years upholding American dining traditions,
I recognized the planter boxes out front immediately as those that were
next to me when I had that Salade Nicoise that became so etched in my

Of course, I ordered it in the hopes that it wouldn’t disappoint me–and it
didn’t! So, what makes a Salade Nicoise memorable?

A typical Salade Nicoise consists of lettuce, green beans, hard boiled
eggs, anchovies, and canned tuna with vinaigrette. Sometimes, corn or rice
or potatoes are added for body. Order this in any brasserie, and this is
what you get.

At Joe Allen*, the Salade Nicoise consists of a large slice of fresh tuna
steak grilled, green beans fresh cooked crispy, potatoes boiled in their
skins and sliced into rounds, hard boiled egg halved with anchovies lying
in a criss-cross across each one, sliced grilled red, yellow, and green
peppers, all on a bed of lettuce and radicchio with dressing served on the
side. Is your mouth watering yet?

Walking home from Joe Allen’s, I reflected on how such a simple pleasure
had made such a strong impression, given the complexities of life I’ve come
to know here. Simple pleasures can include a cafe creme in a neighborhood
brasserie early in the morning…or buying a big beautiful bunch of fresh
basil at an open-air market…or taking a snooze in a reclining chair at
the Jardin du Luxembourg. Then it hit me and for the first time. This is
why I have such a love affair with this city–every simple pleasure, every
minute detail, contributes in its own way to the whole experience of living
in Paris. Every day there seems to be a unforeseen simple pleasure to
enrich life with vivid memories worth storing away to be looked at again at
some future moment.

A la prochaine fois . . .

Adrian email: mailto:[email protected]

*Joe Allen 30 rue Pierre Lescot 75001 Paris 01 42 36 70 13

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

Parler Paris /parlerparis/ Written and Edited by Adrian Leeds

Published by International Living
mailto:[email protected]

Issue Number 24, February 4, 2002

In this issue:

*** Make Your Dream to Write in Paris Come True *** Take a Painting
Workshop in the Magical Valley of Tarn *** Luxury Living with a View of the
Eiffel Tower or the Seine *** Have a Little Piece of Paris *** Buy a
Pied-A-Terre in the 16th for Under $86,000 *** Come the First Time Free ***
Have a Paris Adventure with Friends *** Flirting with the Waiters ***
Making the Move to France With or Without the Appliances?

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

WRITER’S WORKSHOP . . . APRIL 23 – 26, 2002

You can still take advantage of the early registration savings of $200 and
reserve now by making a deposit of one-third of the price of the workshop,
refundable less a $50 processing fee up until March 15th.

See all the details about this exciting workshop at

*** And even if you’re not participating in the course, you may want to do
a pre-conference "SURVIVAL FRENCH" immersion course by Marie-Elisabeth
Crochard April 22 and 23:

*** Or LITERARY TOURS OF PARIS April 27 and 28 by Elizabeth Reichert.

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


May 7 to 17, 2002 — In the magical Tarn Valley of SW France, very near the
12th century city medieval Cordes sur Ciel, this 10-day art workshop is
taught by well-known French artist Elizabeth Poiret.

Beginners to professionals alike receive one-on-one attention. $2,195,
which includes lodging, all meals, transportation, teaching, and all
materials. Just bring your creative self!

For brochure and/or contact information, email Adrian at <
mailto:[email protected]>

* * * * * ADVERTISEMENT * * * * *

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


This luxurious 1,500-square-foot two-bedroom/two-bath apartment (plus a
study) in the corner on the 5th floor of a magnificent Haussmann-style
building, sits just on the edge of the 7th arrondissement with breathtaking
views of the Eiffel Tower and is decorated professionally in perfect taste,
all to American luxury standards.

This time of year, the price is a bargain for all you can expect —
including transfer from the airport by a chauffeur-driven car, an
apartment/neighborhood orientation, and access to a priority taxi service.
It is available for a minimum of five nights and would be perfect for two
couples (four person maximum occupancy) for $300-$425 per night, if you
contact me quickly.

For more information, click here:
/parlerparis/property/forrent.html or contact Adrian at:
mailto:[email protected]


Only one-half hour from Paris, you can rent this 25-square-meter bedroom of
this two-bedroom chalet overlooking a garden, trees, and the Seine river in
Herblay and have complete access to the kitchen, bath, and living room. The
room includes a bed, two desks, chairs, and wardrobe. $260 per month with a
minimum three- month stay.

For more information contact Adrian at:
mailto:[email protected]

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


Instead of booking that hotel just like you always do, have a little piece
of Paris while you’re here by renting a furnished apartment, completely
equipped and well cared for.

We personally recommend several agencies in Paris that can provide you with
quality apartments for rental by the week and the month at a range of

For our recommendations, click here:

* If you should contact these agencies, be sure to let them know Adrian
Leeds and Parler Paris sent you!

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


* This 17-square-meter studio with a kitchenette and bath near avenue Foch
on the 4th floor of a modern building with an elevator, a garden, and a
superb view of the garden can be purchased for under $86,000.

* Another great buy in the neighborhood of Iena-Chaillot in the 16th is a
50-square-meter two-room apartment in a modern building, sunny and quiet
with a living room/bedroom, kitchen, bath, large closets, plus a "cave,"
central heating, and a garden for under $250,000.

For more information, contact Adrian, at
mailto:[email protected]

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


* If you own an apartment or property that you would like to sell or rent,
contact me, Adrian, at mailto:[email protected]

* * * * * ADVERTISEMENT * * * * *

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


It’s easy to join us at Parler Parlor to practice what you’ve learned in
class. Just come five minutes ahead any Tuesday or Thursday at 6:30 p.m.,
Saturday at 11 a.m., at Coprom Langues, 14 rue Lafayette, 4th Floor, 9th
arrondissement. The first time you come is free and native Anglophones get
a 10% discount.

Stay tuned for information about our upcoming anniversary.

For more Information: Ask for Adrian and Elisabeth Parler Parlor
French/English Conversation Group or
mailto:[email protected]

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


This is a great opportunity to experience Paris with a group of your
friends or plan to make new friends on one of these specially designed
small group tour packages (each group limited to no more than 10 people).
All tours are personally hosted by professional guide Schuyler Hoffman,
author of the "Insider Guide to Gay Paris"

Schuyler is a great guy and a great guide! You are sure to see Paris in a
new and different way with him leading the way!

SkyVue Paris Adventures Tour Packages 2002:

"April In Paris" (April 11-16) "Gay Pride 2002" (June 27-July 2) "Bastille
Day" (July 11-16), "Beaujolais Nouveau" (November)

Book now — visit and click on "Special Packages" for
details. Be sure to tell Schuyler that Adrian at Parler Paris sent you!

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


I’ve just added this new category to the "Do’s" section of the "Leeds Good
Value Guide to Paris Restaurants" about something I have just now come to
fully understand — how important it is to "seduire" (seduce or flirt with)
the waiter in order to have great service in France:

Be polite and, by all means, flirt with the waitperson. It has taken me
years as an American who was taught to "get to the point" that doing just
that gets you nowhere in France and even less from the service in any
eating establishment. The general consensus among Americans (as I am told)
is that the waiters in France are "surly," when the truth is we just
haven’t learned the art of seduction. The French are taught to be
"seduisant" (seductive or attractive) and to "flirt" in a non-sexual, but
friendly way.

If you learn this simple method, I can guarantee you great service every
single time. Man or woman, waiter or waitress, establishing a rapport with
the server first will ensure you success. Say "Bonjour." Make eye contact.
Smile. Take a deep breath. Apologize for bothering the waiter ("Excusez-moi
de vous deranger . . . ") or for your lack of French ("Excusez-moi, mais je
ne parle pas beaucoup de français . . . ") or if you have a question about
the menu (S’il vous plaît, j’ai une petite question sur la carte . . . ")
and smile and be polite and always, always say "s’il vous plaît" and "merci
beaucoup." One final note — please, never shout "garçon!"

P.S. All prices in French francs just got updated to euros and several new
restaurants were added. A new version was uploaded to the system just
yesterday. Many thanks to my dear friend Walter P. for his brilliant
program and assistance in the franc to euro conversion!

Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris Restaurants

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


I am not sure what kinds of tools to bring with me when I retire in
Sucy-en-Brie soon. I carve wood as a hobby and use a Dremmel and other
things like coffee grinder, etc. I want to buy a voltage adaptor from that
big hardware store near city hall. Do most Americans just sell all their
electronic things and re- purchase, or are certain electronics a waste of
time even if an electric current converter is bought?

Thanks, Gary N.

Dear Gary,

This excerpt from the Insiders Guide to Working and Living in France by
Rose Marie Burke ( should answer your



I don’t recommend bringing your U.S. electrical and electronics to France.
It’s up to you. Either you pay for transformers and converters for your
devices from home or you buy new ones here – or do without. Note that
transformers can be ugly and bulky and hard to hide, and, while converters
and transformers will transform the voltage of electronic and electrical
devices, they cannot do anything for cycles. French current is 220 volts,
50 cycles, while U.S. current is 110 volts, 60 cycles. We nearly ruined an
air cleaner and vacuum cleaner by trying to run them with transformers.

On the other hand, do bring your lamps. They work with a change in the plug
and a French light bulbs; no transformer is needed. Newer PCs sold in the
U.S. are dual voltage and don’t need transformers. You will, however, need
French plugs and cables. A surge protector is recommended.

Buy appliances here either second-hand or new – with the intention of
selling them upon departure. There is a good market for used appliances in
France. For larger second-hard appliances, think ahead about how you’ll
transport your bargain home – delivery is not usually included! We bought
our new appliances at Darty, for their good service,
but there are many other appliance stores. We purchased second-hand through
ads in FUSAC.

Your U.S. television won’t pick up live French signals, so think about
whether you want to bring that. Note that U.S. TV and video runs on the
NTSC standard as opposed to the French SECAM standard. Newer televisions in
France can play SECAM and PAL, the standard elsewhere in Europe. Used TVs
are sought after since second owners can temporarily avoid the dreaded
annual audiovisual tax – about $100 a year. However, your U.S. TV and VCR
will of course, with transformers, play your U.S.-made videotaped movies
and shows. Some expat families I know can’t live without them!
The U.S.
VCR, unless it is "multiformat," won’t play French videos. Vice versa, the
French VCR won’t
play American tapes, unless it is multiformat. (See the
links below for multiformat stores and tips.)

We purchased most of our transformers and French plug ends at the
department store BHV, whose basement may be the biggest
hardware store this side of the Atlantic!

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


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

*** If you have links about Paris or France and would like reciprocal
links, please email me at mailto:[email protected]

*** TO RECEIVE THIS E-LETTER REGULARLY: If you’re not a regular reader of
this e-letter, and would like to be, simply enter your e-mail address here
(it’s free):

*** To CHANGE your address,

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

*** TO READ MORE: Go to /parlerparis/

Copyright 2002 Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd.


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