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Sleepless in New York and Paris

New York is still New York, although a bit quiet with the Jewish High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah) that has much of the city residents in the Synagogues. The local joke is that it’s a good time to make reservations at your favorite restaurants…and while it’s not quite as ghost-townish as Paris mid August, it does seem a bit less kinetic and frenetic.


My mother did her duty to lay a little Jewish guilt on me for not being in Synagogue myself, but I suppose that’s why the air fare to the Big Apple was reasonable and the plane half empty. The signing of the West Village apartment my daughter and I are purchasing was postponed till tomorrow morning because the offices of the attorneys are closed for the holidays.

An apartment in New York is not a bad gift for a ripe old 23rd birthday (today) — and is the beginning of her own real estate investment ventures — as with joint ownership, her contributions will go toward her rewards should she sell or rent it in the future. These are lessons we should all teach our children, or at least, from my parental perspective.

This apartment purchase was possible thanks to the equity release loan afforded my by Banque Patrimoine et Immobilier based on our Paris properties — so without Paris, we wouldn’t be here now signing on the dotted line.

Directly across the street from the apartment is Patisserie Claude, what we’ve been told has the best real French croissant in New York (187 W. Fourth Street (between Barrow and Jones streets). We will try it first chance as I will move in Thursday evening after the closing and will want to test out the neighborhood for it’s finest offerings and of course, anything French so we’ll feel more at home.

Today we’re doing just what we would be doing if the apartment were in Paris: taking a train to the nearest IKEA. The one we chose is in Brooklyn. In Paris, the one easiest to get to by public transportation is near the airport, Charles de Gaulle, via the RER B line. Today we take the subway to lower Manhattan and then grab a cab over the Brooklyn Bridge.

IKEA will solve a lot of the immediate needs so that the contractor can begin painting the apartment next week and making a few small renovations to make it livable for a long time to come. Don’t we just love IKEA?! — the megastores that revolutionized small-space and simple living for the French and everyone else these European-conceived stores touch.

Prior to IKEA, the French kitchens were modular units made up of appliances and separate cabinets, which went with them wherever they lived, leaving only a sink to call it a kitchen at all. I remember it well, when even rental apartments required the purchase of all the appliances.

Those days are gone. Now with IKEA’s concept of kitchen systems, even the French install what they call “American Kitchens” — open to the living/dining space showing off the beautiful cabinetry and appliances hid behind their doors. Then, when they sell, they leave it all in tact. We like this newer cultural change.

For all of you in Paris, this coming Saturday night, you’ll be taking part in the 7th edition of “La Nuit Blanche,” a nocturnal celebration of the arts in the City of Light. Be prepared to stay out late, if not all night, and enjoy the artistic creations of hundreds of artists. Expect the streets to be filled and the spirit merry. For more information, visit and know that I am jealous of all of you!

While you’re celebrating a “Sleepless Night” in Paris, I’ll be with Francophile friends listening to Gay Marshall, part time Parisienne, part time New Yorker, sing Edith Piaf songs at the Metropolitan Room at 34 W. 22nd Street in New York. If you’ve never heard Gay sing, then don’t miss her rendition of Piaf 9:45 p.m. on October 4th, 11th and 18th. It’s a small way of keeping in touch with Paris while basking in the glow of the Empire State Building that lights the new apartment. Visit for more information and to reserve your place.

Oh, to be sleepless in New York and Paris…

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. If you haven’t yet registered for the upcoming Living and Investing in France Real Estate Conference, don’t forget that now’s your chance to bring your spouse, partner or friend absolutely FREE. Scroll down for more information or visit /frenchproperty/conference


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