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Summer in the City of Light

Summer is finally here.


In the heat of Saturday afternoon, I met up with my contractor, Tony, to retrieve the mirror we special ordered for the THIRD TIME from Leroy Merlin. You may recall the story from the May 22nd Parler Paris, “Reflecting on Life in Paris,” where the newly installed mirror, after waiting two months to get it, CRAAAACKED into a spray of star-shaped lines that ran out from the center of the knob, each line several inches long. I had done it MYSELF by tightening the knob just like I wasn’t supposed to!

We ordered a new mirror, waited 3.5 months to get it and when it arrived, was broken! We ordered another mirror: “third time’s a charm.” Yes, the third mirror was ready for pick-up just two weeks later.

While everyone was outside enjoying the beautiful sunshine, he and I waited patiently in the “sous sol’ (basement) of Leroy Merlin for the mirror to appear. Wrapped in paper, we opened the corners to make sure they were not chipped, closed it back up, put a wooden plank on each side to protect it, then wrapped the ends in bubble wrap. We set off to walk it home, he and I each carrying an end, carefully…very carefully. When we got it home and opened it up to replace the cracked mirror, I took one look and realized that they mistakingly had drilled the hole for the knob, not in the center of the long side where it should have been, but in the center of the short side, rendering the third mirror now completely useless!

Six months of this dumb project is getting the best of us. I still have a big crack to look at and no mirror with which to fix it. Tony and I have now wasted an inordinate amount of our time. I will not go back to Leroy Merlin to return the mirror. Instead, I’ll cut my losses and head to the Miroiterie Brugnon Frères just two blocks from my apartment and order ANOTHER new mirror.

Sitting at Café BeaubourgSitting at Café Beaubourg

A "Ventilateur" from BHVA “Ventilateur” from BHV

Dîner en Blanc 2018 on the Esplanade des InvalidesDîner en Blanc 2018, on the Esplanade des Invalides


As I sat in the breezy shade at the Café Beaubourg yesterday afternoon, the temperature registered 85° Fahrenheit. By mid afternoon, it had reached 88°. That’s hot for Paris. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you really feel it. Before leaving home, I lowered the shades, closed the windows and then headed out to the BHV at their moment of opening (11 a.m.) to buy fans…more fans. I wanted another one for my daughter’s room who will be spending a lot of the summer with me and one for the bathroom. I knew the BHV would have a decent selection, but not for long. By end of day, I was sure their stock would be almost completely depleted.

The rest of the week is looking more normal for Paris — cooler and rainy. That’s more like it. For the few weeks a year that Paris is hot, adding air-conditioning, isn’t as simple as one might think and quite frankly, for me, not worth it. For a short-term rental apartment targeted to Americans, yes, if it’s possible, because Americans have gotten quite accustomed to air-conditioning in their homes and excessive air-conditioning in public places. When I was in New Orleans last week, I froze every time I entered any indoor space as the temperature dropped at least by 20° from the outside. I’d rather have been warm than carry a sweater with me everywhere and be constantly uncomfortable. It also dawned on me that it wasn’t very energy efficient to be over cooling every shop, restaurant or whatever.


The summer is already shaping up nicely for Paris with an awful lot of fun activities, regardless of the weather. Thursday night is the annual “Dîner en Blanc” — the pop-up formal picnic dinner involving tens of thousands of people who are willing to dress entirely in white and schlep a gourmet meal, set up a formal table using all REAL dinnerware, silverware, glassware, table cloth, cloth napkins, etc. (also all white) just for a few hours of revelry in some spot in Paris unknown to them until the very last minute. Just anyone can’t show up — you have to be invited or registered and approved.One year we dined on seven bridges across the Seine; another on the “Parvis” of the Hôtel de Ville; last year was on the Esplanade des Invalides, with 17,000 diners! Every year we try to guess where the tables will be set-up based on the assigned meeting points, but it isn’t always so obvious and we really don’t know until the leader says “follow me” and off we go towing all of our goods to some grand spot in the city where we can unpack, set-up and dig in. This year I’m planning a special ensemble in white, something I think NO ONE ELSE WILL WEAR, but I’ll give you one hint: it’s “à la Michele Obama.”

Next Monday I’ll be writing all about it, so stay tuned for more!  



The weekend following Dîner en Blanc, the gardens of the Ile-de-France will welcome you — the 7th, 8th and 9th of June. More than 2,000 gardeners are opening the doors of more than 2,300 parks and gardens all over the region, both public and private, for guided tours, exhibitions, workshops, meetings and demonstration on the theme of “Zero Phyto,” animals in the garden — ladybugs, earthworms, bees, hedgehogs and more!

For more information, visit

The Mona Bismarck CenterThe Mona Bismarck Center

Singer, Sarah McCoySinger, Sarah McCoy


The Mona Bismarck American Center, renamed  “The American Center for Art and Culture” as of July 4, 2019, is offering free concerts, many by American artists, from June 8th to July 27th, everything from jazz to funk. In this mansion in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, this is your hidden garden of paradise, away from the hustle-bustle of the city and filled with music all summer long.

The first of the series presents Sarah McCoy, revisiting “the legacy of jazz,” in a very personal way, to blend it with blues and rock. Her album “Blood Siren” captures her incredible voice, revealing a sound that thrills and touches the heart. The songs she composed are as personal and free as the prose of a diary.

Sarah McCoy
June 8th, from 6 to 10 p.m.
For more information, visit

Meet the Authors in Nice - Nice, France


Next week, I’ll be headed to Nice for the Meet the Authors event on Saturday, June 15th. Join us in the lovely back room of the Scotch Tea House to meet a group of local authors, discover their books and their stories. They will talk about their recent works, read a bit from them and answer your questions. You will have an opportunity to purchase their books and get signed copies! I will emcee the event and share some of my own experiences.

Authors will have a few of their books for purchasing and signing, but to be sure, you may want to pre-order your copy and bring it with you for your own personal signed copy! Participation is free (but we ask that you purchase at least one drink to show the host venue how much we appreciate their hospitality). Don’t miss this special event in Nice! No need to register in advance.

Saturday, June 15, 2019
3 to 5:30 p.m.
Scotch Tea House
4 avenue Suède
06000 Nice

For more information, visit

June is filled with things to do in the City of Light and on the Riviera, so stay tuned to Parler Paris for more to come: Fête de la Musique (June 21st), Gay Pride Parade (June 29th) and much, much more.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - with her Sister, Diana Gorlin, who celebrates her birthday tomorrow!

Adrian Leeds

(with sister, Diana Gorlin, who celebrates her birthday tomorrow!)

Respond to Adrian

The Adrian Leeds Group

P.S. The responses to our opinion poll regarding possible spin-off House Hunters International shows was overwhelming! Not only did you openly voice your opinions, but you showed us how much you enjoy watching the shows and for that we are profoundly grateful! This helps the producers, the network and me gain tremendous insight into what kinds of programming will make you even happier — and that’s very valuable to all of us. Again, our sincerest thanks…and most of all, for watching!


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