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The First Twenty-Four Hours of 2008

Have you ever had the absolute worst seats in the theater? We did — on New Year’s Eve for Sara Baras’ Flamenco dance performance at the Théâtre de Champs Elysées.

These were virtually the only places left on New Year’s Eve at a late date deciding to book, so I took them. BUT, it didn’t matter that we had to keep shifting positions from right to left, or that I was leaning heavily over the rail and was afraid of tumbling over to see past the stage lights, which obscured about one-third of the stage on the left side…nor that most of the action seemed to happen on that very same obscured side…nor that nose-bleed-high seats meant that we saw (almost) only the top of Sara’s head and of her shoes…the performance was…exciting, magnificent, stunning, sexy, energizing, brilliant, etc., etc., etc., etc.

You have never seen feet move so fast (in red shoes!)…nor with such strength and determination (the pounding must cause shock waves through the dancers’ bodies)…nor arms move so elegantly (like swans’ necks)…nor hips move so sexy (why can’t all men have such slim torsos?).

Flamenco by Sara B. is on fire! There are only six performances left: January 3, 4, 5 (2), 6 and 7. So, move your keyboard fingers as fast as Sara’s feet to get your tickets by ordering online at and whatever you do, don’t book the second balcony seats on the side! Or, wait until next holiday season when she’s (hopefully) back for more of Paris audiences’ appreciation. I’ll be there, but in better seats for sure.

And what did you do on the first day of the year after a wild night out or in?

Sleep late? Call the family and a few friends to say “Happy New Year?” Eat leftovers and drink the remaining few sips of Champagne? Take a walk? Go to a movie? Catch up on old email? Dinner with family?

Exactly. Sort of.

Sleeping late meant an 8 a.m. rise and shine. (Can’t help it. The sun comes up and so do the old eye lids.)

Calling the family and friends meant waiting till at least 5 p.m. Paris time (if calling North America and about the same time if calling Paris-based friends who have likely had way too much champagne the night before).

Eating leftovers meant a small nugget of foie gras, stale crackers and flat champagne that were left out overnight while exhaustion and drunkenness overtook any semblance of sanity.

Taking a walk meant a two-hour fast-paced circle to the Palais Royal and back with a few stops to window shop, take photos of beautiful sights (it IS Paris, you know, and the photo ops are everywhere you look!), have a civilized lunch at the lovely Passage Vivienne, and take in the crisp polluted Paris air while NO ONE was on the streets.

Going to a movie meant FINALLY seeing “De l’Autre Côté” (The Edge of Heaven), a Turkish/German film by Fatih Akin (in Turkish, French and English with French subtitles) that took the prize(s) at the European Film Awards 2007 (Best Film) and Festival de Cannes 2007 among others. (It’s still playing in obscure Paris cinemas — the kind we like the most.)

Catching up on old emails meant working down the overloaded in-box to a mere 200 after removing at least 500 spam messages about how to enlarge my “member” (I get all the ‘made for men’ spam thanks to the masculine spelling of my name).

Dinner with family meant taking my daughter out for a “tête-à-tête” (head-to-head or heart-to-heart) talk about the serious commitment we’re about to make buying an apartment in New York in which for her to live and work. (Unfortunately, our family “cantine,” Chez Omar, was closed exceptionally for the holiday so we opted for “Au Trou Normand,” one of those neighborhood bistrots that beats them all for “un petit prix” [9, rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris, Telephone, Métros Oberkampf or Filles du Calvaire]).

A special treat from the first 24 hours of 2008 was the shock that colleague, friend and neighbor, Pascal Fonquernie ( had never ridden the 96 bus only to discover that riding the bus was 1) faster and simpler than to take the Métro to get to the Left Bank, 2) above ground and therefore one can see the beautiful city and 3) not at all “lower class.” He actually ‘enjoyed’ leaving Le Marais, too, if for only a couple of hours, to experience another part of the city, just on the other side of the Seine.

Happy New Year on this second day of 2008.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. The first Parler Paris Après Midi coffee gathering of the year is next Tuesday 3 to 5 p.m. Don’t miss it…at La Pierre du Marais at the corner of rue de Bretagne and rue des Archives in the 3rd. See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information and plan on being there!

P.P.S. The Parler Parlor Conversation Group reopens this coming Saturday at Lutèce Langues, 23, boulevard de Sébastopol (at the corner of rue de la Reynie), 1st arrondissement. Scroll down for more information or visit


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