June 8, Blogathon
Whether they were artists, diplomats, or scientists, for Americans traveling abroad to Paris, the voyage was as David McCullough says in The Greater Journey, a “dream of a lifetime.”
Americans have been crossing the Atlantic to immerse themselves in French culture and knowledge forever it seems, but particularly since the 1830s through the nineteenth century and early twentieth when Paris was conceivably the Capital of the world.
Paris has long lost that claim, but the allure of the city still draws Americans looking for dreams of romance, inspiration, or simply a different way of being.
The expat community in Paris is strong (approx. 50,000 Americans). As Gertrude Stein has been quoted, “America is my country and Paris is my hometown.”
For tourists who want to connect with Americans for whom Paris is home, there are multiple venues. (See websites below.)
My friend, Adrian Leeds, is THE source for all things Parisian (and Nice) if you want to buy, sell, or rent an apartment in Paris but also, having lived in Paris for twenty years (originally from New Orleans), a veritable font of information on comings and goings, and networking. Subscribe to her newsletter, Parler Paris or stop by her monthly Apres-midi gatherings in the Marais where you can listen to a speaker or indulge in a beer, cafe, and conversation.
Almost every Sunday, Patricia Laplante-Collins —an expat from Atlanta, for whom Southern hospitality is second nature—hosts a soiree that starts with cocktails, then dinner and a speaker. The fee is 25 euros for an agreeable dinner of networking and informative discussions. Venues change so check her website or sign up for notifications.
Retired opera singer with the Opéra National de Paris, Rebecca Tepfer (Becky) from Oregon and her photographer husband David from New York delight audiences with periodic musical evenings in their salon at Atelier de la Main d’Or in the 11th. Might be a classical trio one night or you may get lucky enough to listen to her talented son play jazz piano or hear her sing an old torch song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1J04xK9m-Y). The studio space is often filled to capacity of about 50 people so you must reserve in advance. Ask to be on her email mailing list. No fee, but they pass the hat around after the performance and contributions of 5-20 euros are much appreciated by the artists.
Another expat David Haynes has been the venue for Sunday Dinners for thirty years. There’s no fixed agenda but the place is packed with those who want a home-cooked meal and English conversation. The first 50 who confirm are in during the winter, but in the summer the meal and the guests spill out into the garden.
If yoga is your thing and you are staying in the Marais, practice at the Centre de Yoga du Marais. It’s a small space but the instructors are great and there are classes for children to seniors. In 2001, expat Michelle Jacobi founded this small yoga studio for Hatha Integral Yoga. Instructors lead you through dynamic and restorative poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. Class packages are available, but you can also “drop-in” for 20 euros. Best to reserve in advance by email or phone.
Patricia Laplante-Collins: http://www.parissoirees.com/
Jim Haynes Sunday Dinners: http://www.jim-haynes.com/
Atelier de la Main d’Or, email@example.com
Centre de Yoga du Marais: http://www.yogamarais.com/