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The New Abnormal

The Gardener of Eden by David Downie

The Gardener of Eden

It was the new “abnormal,” as one of my close friends called it—holding our monthly coffee gathering, Après-Midi, on Zoom instead of live and in-person upstairs at the Café de la Mairie. I never left home, barely left my desk chair, and there we were, more than 100 of our readers anxious to hear and see author David Downie on their computer screens, phones or other smart devices. What an amazing world we live in, if not “abnormal!”

Zooming with David Downie for Adrian Leeds Group Après Midi

Zooming with David Downie for Après Midi

Author David DownieDavid is a native San Franciscan who moved to Paris in the mid-1980s and now divides his time between France and Italy. His travel, food, and arts features have appeared in over 50 print magazines and newspapers worldwide and on dozens of websites. From his home in Italy, he talked about his last published novel, The Gardener of Eden, “A haunting and luminous novel that explores the dark secrets lurking beneath the stunning natural beauty of a dying timber town.” (Source: Good Reads) Having spoken at Après Midi on many occasions in the past to present his books, of which there are many—15 (!), he has a new novel scheduled to be on the bookstore shelves in May of 2021 to which we can look forward: Red Riviera.

Books authored by David Downie

Red Rivera by David Downie

The large turn-out, even with many on the West Coast of the U.S. who were on the meeting at 6 a.m., exemplifies the tremendous interest in hearing David speak about his work. He enlightened us all by reading a few passages of this new novel that takes a “sinister turn when he [James] and a local teenager make a gruesome discovery, which forces him to reckon with the ghosts of his past—and the dangers of the present.” (Source: Amazon) We saw a lot of familiar faces—friends of Après Midi—and some fresh ones just discovering our monthly coffee gathering…this time without the coffee!

For those of you who missed the event, or if you want a replay, all is not lost. You can watch it in its entirety here.


Today is 11-11, November 11th and Armistice Day—the day that celebrates the signing at Compiègne, France of the Armistice between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers effectively ending World War I in 1918. It is a national holiday in France as it is in many other allied countries. Normally there is a parade along the Champs Elysées. Normally, heads of state meet at the Arc de Triomphe to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Things are different this year…”abnormal.”

Former Secretary John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Fabius Ambassador Hartley Pause After 70th Anniversary VE Day Wreath Laying Ceremony in Paris

Former Secretary John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Fabius and Ambassador Hartley Pause After the 70th Anniversary VE Day Wreath Laying Ceremony in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron will still lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but with a much smaller entourage, “a very limited number of civil and military authorities.” The parade along the Champs Elysées is not happening, but the ceremony will be broadcast on TV. Ceremonies across the country are limited to a maximum of 10 people, with social distancing enforced. Church bells are scheduled to ring at the 11th hour to mark the hour that the war formally ended.

Thirty Thousand Days autobiography of Maurice Genevoix

In addition to the wreath-laying, World War I veteran, writer and poet, Maurice Genevoix, will be honored by laying his body to rest at the Panthéon, the highest honor the French state can bestow. His works, marked by the trauma of the First World War, particularly in Ceux de 14, a collection of war stories collected in 1949, are considered to be among some of the greatest testimonies of this conflict. He also took a broader and more intimate look at his life by writing an autobiography, Thirty Thousand Days, published in 1980. Genevoix who died that year at the age of 89 was apparently a favorite of Emmanuel Macron’s and it was his decision to honor him in this way.

What Makes France an Attractive Place for US expats?

Zoom and other videotelephony services like it are enabling us to broaden our horizons in a way we could never have done before in this new “abnormal.” In years past, Brian Dunhill, of Dunhill Financial, and I held annual Financial Forums designed to enlighten North American expats. They were live and in-person. Not this year. This year, we’re doing it “abnormally” and even better.

What Makes France an Attractive Place for US-expats? is a one-hour webinar that will be held every three months on the 4th Wednesday of the first month of the quarter. Brian and I will give you an update on the financial and real estate markets in France specifically for expatriate needs. We will be joined by guest speakers—U.S. tax accountants, mortgage brokers, and other professionals who can make your journey as streamlined as possible in France. Every episode will include myself with views on the real estate market and Brian will discuss the aspects of financial planning for U.S. expats living in France.

Mark the dates in your calendar now. It’s FREE and INFORMATIVE. Join us for all four episodes, as part of our wider series in North American Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forum.

The 4th Wednesday of Every Quarter 2021:

  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021
  • Wednesday, April 28, 2021
  • Wednesday, July 28, 2021
  • Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EST

North American Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forum: the webinars are free, but we ask that you register in advance! Click here to learn more and register.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds Paris, FranceAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®


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