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The Centrifugal Force Of The Symbol Of France

Patricia Laplante Collin’s petit Ile Saint Louis apartment was packed to the gills last night with people wanting to learn more about how to find and buy property in Paris. There were a few folks there who had recently purchased apartments in Paris willing to share their experiences with us all. One in particular was our own client, a resident of Manhattan, who just that same morning (Sunday over breakfast) had agreed to purchase a one-bedroom apartment near Place de la République. It’s on an elevated level (with elevator, of course!) and has a balcony the full length of the apartment affording fabulous views. This is a very rare find — no wonder she was so enthusiastic.

Of course, it was just a taste of what we’ll be talking about at the one-day Invest in France Seminar this coming December 29th. There was no way to do more than just skimming the surface of this very profound subject in the allotted time — less than an hour.

We know that it seems like a crazy time of year to hold this seminar — between Christmas and New Year’s, but in fact, it’s a perfect way to combine a little “work” with a lot of pleasure. It’s not fair to call it “work” — since we’re sure to have lots of fun while learning so much. Nonetheless, it’s not what you might usually have on your agenda for a holiday vacation in Paris.

Several major holidays are on the horizon for us — Americans in Paris will be celebrating Thanksgiving on the 25th and of course, we’re all gearing up for Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. But before all that, this Thursday, November 11th, France celebrates Armistice Day by shutting down for a day of rest and you can bet many people will “faire le pont,” take Friday off as well. (Our mortgage agents at Banque Patrimoine et Immobilier just told me by phone they plan to do just that.)

Thursday morning, those who died during the two world wars are remembered with a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe during which President Jacques Chirac and others lay wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (11 a.m.). Later that evening (9 p.m.), an honor guard will stand vigil at the Arc, from which, as on other patriotic holidays, hangs a giant tricolor flag.

Visitors can mount the Arc de Triomphe and from the top there is an impressive view of all 12 avenues that radiate out from the base of the Arc (known as Place Charles de Gaulle-Etoile). Look east all the way down the Champs-Elysées and beyond. Beginning with the Louvre, this axis passes through the central alley of the Tuileries gardens, across the Place de la Concorde, up the Champs-Elysées, through the Arc de Triomphe, until it finally reaches the Grande Arche de la Defense.

Commissioned by the Emperor in 1806, the Arc de Triomphe stands 50 meters tall and is decorated with military scenes and commemorations. At the base is the Tomb of an Unknown Soldier and an eternal flame – added in 1920 in remembrance of the human loss during the Second World War. Take the underground passage to get to the base of the Arc, to avoid dodging the onslaught of cars whizzing around the Etoile which is the record holder for having the highest number of car accidents annually in Paris!

The Etoile is the symbol for Parler Paris, and for me personally more as the symbol of France rather than the Eiffel Tower. It’s circular motion radiating into a star pattern so clearly reflects the nature of thise “polychronic” French culture — with all it’s complexity, it somehow manages to function with the simplicity of centrifugal force.

A la prochaine…


Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. For more information about the Invest in France Conference, visit /frenchproperty/conference/IIF_Paris/IIF_home.html

P.P.S. See you tomorrow at Parler Paris Après Midi! Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for the details.

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