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Totally At Home in Paris for 15 Years

Today there are two events on which to ‘report’ that should be shared with you. While you in the States are relaxing and enjoying your official day off, we here in Paris are in the midst of the annual kinetic energy “La Rentrée” imposes all of us. Here’s how:

Part I: The Inauguration of Le Palace des Vosges

Even up to the last minute, finishing touches were attended to by the workers and staff to ready the luxury tri-level townhouse at number 9 Place des Vosges for its official inauguration. Prior to the appointed hour of 6 p.m. Wednesday evening, the champagne cork was popped and the bubbly was poured to quench the thirst of the ‘insiders’ — the investors, developers, designers, contractors and staff — to toast ourselves!

Invitees arrived in a steady stream — the neighbors, our business associates, clients, owners, potential buyers, journalists and friends, to help us celebrate the ‘birth’ of the apartment that was such a huge series of hurdles to overcome to get to this stage. The tables were set with “amuse geules” and French macaroons to accompany the champagne, as everyone toured the apartment, toasted and mingled with the others. About 7 p.m. I took position on the balcony to get everyone’s attention and toast all those who made it possible:

* Jean-Yves Digan, an agent with Century 21 who I bumped into on the street moments after they acquired the property on their roster…
* John Howell and his wife, Janie, an attorney in London with whom I am partnered (on the Living and Investing in France Real Estates Conferences) and who sent his investor client to see the property last Summer…
* Roy and Joy Brazier, the clients of John Howell who invested a majority of the funds their ideas to make it happen…
* Martine di Matteo, the Interior Architect who conceived and created the magnificent decor…
* Benoit Salun, the contractor who made it all happen…
* Mary Ellen Gallagher, the search consultant who is responsible for sales…
* And the rest of the Adrian Leeds Group staff and associates who assisted in many aspects of the final completion of the project: John Rule, Jennifer Sigler, Florence Richburg and Barbara Navarro.

It was comfortable in the apartment to have 60 guests, proving what a great entertainment space it is and within minutes after the guests left, there was little clean-up, proving how efficient the kitchen is. No doubt, everyone was quite impressed with the stables-turned-storage-turned-residence-turned-luxury fractional ownership townhouse…especially those who had known the property intimately for years — never realizing the potential of the space.

The Howells and Braziers who stayed in the apartment all week reported prior to leaving that while there are details to which we must attend for true completion, the apartment is not only luxurious and comfortable, but as Roy put it, “homey and cozy.” For me, there’s no greater reward than creating an environment where you can feel totally ‘at home.’

Editor’s note: To date, five out of 13 four-week shares have been purchased. For more photos of Le Palace des Vosges, visit Palace des

Part II: Maison et Objet

Friday, on the 15th anniversary of my life in France, we weathered the rain and hopped the train to the Parc des Expositions near Airport Charles de Gaulle to spend the day at the Maison & Objet Industry Trade Fair along with thousands of other people from all over the world.

The show is a massive wonderland of interior (and exterior) design ideas and while the “no photos” signs are posted, no one seemed to care that I was taking a few shots of the overall scenes or individual items.

Martine di Matteo and I were on the prowl for interesting items with which to decorate a project she’s currently working on — a three bedroom, three bathroom two level apartment in Le Marais with a large terrace, as well as things for my own “Le Saint-Tropez” and “La Brigitte” — in the style of the Riviera.

Clearly, what I was looking for was contrary to this year’s theme song: silvers and grays, distressed whites and blacks, shiny surfaces crazy creations. The show is a sea of furniture in these non-colors while the fabrics are as exciting as ever…my favorite part of the displays. The French still do distressed furnishings best and the Italians you can depend on for ‘sleek’ and ‘slick.’

Martine took me by the hand to introduce me to “Chehoma,” an “atelier d’ambiances” where I found a cornucopia of beautiful things that will create the “elegant beach house” I dream of for Le Saint-Tropez. There in the showroom a voice called out in English with a heavy French accent, “What are YOU doing here?” It was Marie-Ange, a woman I’ve known for years as “DOT,” who ran a wholesale shop on my corner of “verrry Frrrench” household decorative items until recently when it was taken over by a chic designer clothing boutique.

Marie-Ange explained that she had sold her company and was now working for Chehoma as the liaison with American clients. It was my good fortune and amazing “synchronicity” to have her there to be just that perfect liaison between us and this supplier to decorate the studio apartment in perfect harmony with a Mediterranean lifestyle. She knew the building and the apartment from her years on the street having become familiar with the neighbors and so once again, it felt like being totally ‘at home.’

Editor’s Notes: Click on each link to learn more…

A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds and the Guests at the Inauguration

P.S. See you tomorrow, September 8, when we rejoin at Parler Paris Après Midi from 3 to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais after our summer break. Be there to meet new people and reconnect with Parler Paris Readers. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for details. See you there.

P.P.S. For those of you wanting a bargain visit to New York City between October 5 and 14, you can stay in the city’s best neighborhood (the heart of West Village) in a luxury studio apartment with a perfect view of the Empire State Building (!) at 50% less than the least expensive NYC hotel! Email me directly for more details: [email protected]


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