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If music be the food of love.........

We made our kitchen into a music studio for Cesar, shown here at the dining table - instead of delicious smells, weird sounds of the Amazonian rainforest are wafting from the the place we also have to prepare food. Hey - this is Paris, we are used to living in limited space.

It's also a language school and in the background you can see our board for English/Spanish classes.

My Paris hero Edmund White's in town

I'm on too many deadlines but I just had to make time to meet the fabulous Edmund White on the occasion of his book signing at Les Mots Bouche. His new book is called "My Lives" and he is the celebrated author of biographies of Proust and Genet as well as The Flaneur , one of the best books about Paris I've ever read. It helped me to explore the more out of the way spots, such as Barbes and truly inspired me to come and live here so I could get to know the city as a Parisienne. In a great Genet type way he does lead you to the slightly dodgy spots, like Barbes Market and the Gay Tea Dance - famously for Blacks, Blancs, and Beurs - (a beur is Verlan for Arab).

He spent years in Paris and I also had the pleasure of meeting his ex-therapist who had pops up in his new book. He's a lovely guy and asks if he can send me two clients searching for homes to buy in Paris. Sure, bring it on! We all have some photos done with Edmund and Rick swaps stories with friend from LA, Stacie Krajchir, who runs a very successful PR firm in Los Angeles. She's full of good ideas for Bonapart Consulting and she promises to be my "concierge" when I'm next in town as I have been trying to guide her to Les Bonnes Addresses in Paris. We have a yummy dinner in Les Petits Marseillais at 72 rue Vielle du Temple - I loved the menu, all Mediterranean inspired. It's still Summer goddammit!

End of the Summer.....

Tonight is the last night at La Villette's Cinema En Plein Air. It's Pulp Fiction. I went last night to see Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood For Love with the I V Y Meet Up group and we had a sumptuous picnic before the film. It's getting quite cold now though what's going on, it's August? That big red thing in the picture is the screen, as big as a real cinema, and we were a whole field of people lying flat on our backs in the grass, pretty intimate for the frosty Parisian's, it got kind of cosy.

Luxe apres-midi

Stopped by to see a client at the Royal Monceau Hotel (Guy's, I think you might want to remove the bit on your website about being Michael Jackson's choice of hotel when he's in town.....) I was worried about her arriving with a one year old baby and no home but I think she'll be okay here! She'd come to Paris for two weeks and searched real estate agents but to no avail. Hardly anyone would answer her calls. Well it was August. I wish she'd called us first but we'll have her fixed up in no time.

Decided on a stroll down the Champs Elysées and pop into Sephora (but I popped right out again when I saw the queues and got hit by that clag of too much perfume as I crossed the threshold). I used to love this store but cramming all these goodies (and banlieue kids) in under one roof is not so much my cup of tea anymore. I prefer beauty shops with a smaller selection of sourced products; Colette is good for this, they have Nars where you get those cool cream blushers and Stéphane Marais - who has the prettiest packaging.

Back to the old school at No. 68 - France's Doyenne of Design, Andree Putnam, has done a makeover of L'institut Guerlain which was credited with being the first modern day spa. Apparently she was always sneaking away from her bourgeois family to hang out with Picasso, Giacometti and Sartre and it seems to have paid off. She's created a luxe wonderland with the centrepiece being a vast gold-beaded chandelier containing all the perfumes. Walls and ceilings are covered in golden mosaic tiles, it's stunning.

They have some good treatments like a special Vichy rain shower where you are sprayed with pure water as a form of massage and you can spend the whole day being pampered there for only 720 euros.

It's not so Elysian these days out on the Champs. I was nearly mown down by hoards of Saudi Arabian Princelings and their badly behaved children. "Maman! - C'est Fnac. Maman! FNACCCCCCCC!". Is it just me or do those women wearing the yashmaks all go for the most eye-popping, gaudy designer bag they can find in the same way that men with small penises like lamborghinis? "If I'm gonna have to spend all day cooped up in this freaking shroud I am damn well gonna have myself a great big Dior saddlebag. In pink. With huge gold buckles".

More macarons chez Carette

I don't often venture into the 16eme. It's one part of Paris I don't know like the back of my hand, or should I say, "comme ma poche". It's just too stuffy/old lady for me. Parts of it are beautiful, I've had frends living near Metro Jasmin and the old buildings are fantastic. Mind you, a hip new fashonista hotel has opened up recently, Hotel Sezz and I was always intruiged by stories of Colette and the Lesbian Literary Set she hung out with when she lived in a Villa on Boulevard Suchet. Nathalie Barney was the ulimate Salon hostess and seductress - it wasn't just the bi-curious who fell for her charms. This was the late 19th century. Jumping into bed with one of your girl chums was not really the done thing in those days. Writer Renée Vivien committed suicide for her and Colette's cross-dressing aristocratic lover Missy was forever shooting up heroin but it sounds like they all had a rocking good time.

I was meeting my insurance consultant who helps me take care of Bonapart clients and he is such a gentleman, he took me to Chez Carette on 4, Place de La Trocadero. Great macarons and other sweet delights. I know it was the place-to-be-seen in the 1970's and the ambience still works in a cute retro way as far as I'm concerned. No tourists.

Hop and skip to the US Embassy to meet with Mark Elliot, Trade Attache, about how Bonapart can help American businesses setting up in France. Their employees need to live somewhere. He is also kind enough to let me know that when I am ready to set up Bonapart in the US, I'm thinking I need an office in California, he'll help me all the way. What a guy! he does seem a bit jaded by the French work ethic though and told me he couldn't cope if his posting was for more than 2 years. It's not for everyone here, those of us who really love Paris are very forgiving. We'd rather be here than anywhere else, so why waste time bitching?

L'amour et l'art du table - how's that for class?

I am diametrically opposed to all forms of speed, internet, chat room dating (but not picking people up on planes etc - I'm a traditionalist god dammit) but this new French spin on things has won me over..............

Passing by 6, rue Vertus close to Arts et Metiers the other day where I was looking at at an apartment for a batchelor stockbroker from the UK I am working for, a window onto a beautifully designed little French kitchen caught my eye. I know he loves to cook so I stopped to press my nose against the window...

Later on another part of their website website (uuggh, one thing the French cannot do well is web design with a classy look and feel) I see they offer "cookdating" - gay or straight but limited only to singles - yeah right try stopping any determined philandering gastronomes. It's limited to 6 people so your choice is a bit limited but it might be fun.

Every Thursday, 70 euros for 3 hours.
Last Thursday of month Gay.

La Muette/Tongue-tied

I have to face it. My french is going nowhere. Okay, I speak french fine, albeit not 100% correctly, (but then neither do most French people, it's THAT difficult) and i'm now starting to splutter my way through Spanish. But I imagined after almost 3 years here I'd be reading Proust in original.

In fact I am stuck speaking common as muck French with all the bad habits I have picked up dans la rue. My Mother, if she could speak French, would be horrified. She went to great length to knock any Scottish-isms out of my sister and I at an early age, stopping just short of a electric cattle prod if we replied "aye" instead of "yes", having picked up this bad habit from the cleaning lady.

Waahh! I didn't have time to keep up my french classes...waahh.........I'm trying to run a business! I need to sleep as well you know. I know that reading more in French would make a big difference but I could read 6 books in English by the time I've read even a medium sized Zola. So many books, so little time.

I know reading the classics of French literature is the key to improving my vocabulary the way I'd like to but in the meantime French-Word-A-Day will be my saviour.

I have another secret weapon. Marcel. He is 70 years old classically trained actor and we bonded in the Bar 1900 on 64 rue Rambueau (great Corsican restaurant). We agreed to meet from time to time and he's going to knock me into shape - for free! By the time he's done I'll be able to quote Molière and sing Charles Trenet songs without the trace of an accent.

Whistlestop Paris - church,fountain,church, fountain.........

Create a tour for a 5 hour stop-over? Friends from London were coming through town en route to Barcelona by train and wanted a "highlights" tour.

There are too many "highlights" in Paris but we hit -

CREPERIE in Beaubourg beside the cool fountain by Nicki de Saint Phalle, wife of loopy but cool Swiss Sculptor Jean Tinguely in Place Igor Stravinsky.

Strolled over the river to NOTRE DAME but the queues were too long so we gazed in wonder at Our Lady.

To make up for it we went over the river again away from the Ile de la Cite to the Latin Quarter, the oldest part of Paris. We peeked into L'Eglise ST-SEVERIN and checked out the Saint's bones in a glass cabinet, fabulous stained glass and spooky organ music.

Stroll to Jardins de Luxembourg and take a peek at the impossibly romantic LA FONTAINE DES MEDICIS.

Last stop LES EDITEURS cafe at Metro Odeon to watch the denizens of Saint-Germain waft by and get some sustenance for Eurostar home.

Best outfit award

Laurie Pike seems to be the Queen of LA as she "strips the halo off the city of angels" with her LA.comfidential blog on la.com. As far as I can see it's the best place to get hip to what's happening in the city so I am sure pleased she came to see the show at Cache. It's a long way to Eagle Rock. Think more like a modern day Lucille Ball than a bitchy Hedda Hopper.

She sure as hell gets the prize for the best outfit (I'm exempt but my Thierry Mugler 70's Trouser suit was widely admired - here I am with two friends/Bonapart Consulting Clients I believe were separated at birth). I salute Laurie and any gal who can look hot as hell in a green and white Miami Beach c.1963 short suit plus have no discernible cellulite whatsoever. And they were short shorts. Sadly she scarpered before I had a chance to capture her image in this fetching ensemble.

One downside to living in France is where there is very full fat cheese, there is very bumpy thigh syndrome. Every Pharmacy you see in Paris has a revolting display featuring some woman rolling off a rubber suit type thing to reveal svelte limbs. Maybe French women don't get fat but they sure as hell the dreaded "c word".

Paris:LA - Surreal

Here's some pictures of Matt Rose's wall at Cache. I noticed that in LA, people kept referring to everything as "surreal" - the way we say "Mais, c'est bizarre!" in Paris. Man Ray once said their was more Surrealism rampant in Hollywood than all the Surrealist's could invent in a lifetime. I have to agree with him.

Whitey Flagg did a great floor installation "I'm immortalizing you" which I happen to know was a Jim Haynes inspired quote from his days in Paris. He also showed two interesting text based paintings.

Here I am with my piece "The future is bleak, uncertain and beautiful" - the name was inspired by the Guy Debord quote I carried around with me when I first moved to Paris. On the night, the projection of the slides that go with this piece did not exactly go according to plan........but the less said about this the better. I surprised myself and everybody else with my Zen like attitude. Frankly, there was nothing else I could do but it was extremely interesting explaining to press, potential buyers and someone who wanted to represent me why they could not actually see my work..........

Luckily there is another opening soon and the show lasts for 2 months.

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