I’ve been a fan of Patricia Laplante-Collins’s Sunday night soirées for a half-dozen years, but have paid especially close attention since 2012, when she invited me to present my then-unpublished novel Treasure of Saint-Lazare. I made a lot of friends, some of whom wrote the reviews that were instrumental in getting my novel on the Kindle best-seller lists early the next year.
Just about every Sunday, in a chichi downtown Paris apartment or a nice restaurant, Patricia throws a party “with free-flowing wine,” as she puts it in her invitation emails. Guests chat for an hour while she finishes the cooking, then she starts off the presentation by introducing everyone — generally without notes. It’s a neat parlor trick.
Her crowds are curious and intellectually engaged, and many of whom come back week after week. Jan and I attend often during our Paris stays.
A week ago she invited Harriet Welty Rochefort, who came to Paris forty years ago as a recent college graduate and stayed to marry her husband Philippe, a banker who pursued a Ph.D. in history at the Sorbonne after he retired. Harriet has had a wide-ranging writing and teaching career in Paris, most recently as the well-known author of books explaining the French to Americans. Her website, which you can find here, is a captivating mix of charming and serious posts about all things French, with an American twist. She posted several thoughtful items on the Charlie Hebdo shootings, which I strongly recommend.
Joie de Vivre – the latest book
Harriet’s latest book is “Joie de Vivre: Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French.” She makes a charming presentation with well-prepared PowerPoint illustrations. Philippe runs the projector. She’s been writing books like this since 2001 and now has three of them for sale on Amazon. Her author page is here.
Fifteen Years of Sunday Soirées
Patricia Laplante-Collins, a native of Atlanta, has been a popular and well regarded woman about town for years. She started serving literary cocktails in 1994 and that evolved into dinners in 1998. She looks for topics that are fun and relevant to educated and curious anglophones from the world over (a fair number of her guests each week are French). An old guidebook once said, “You name it, Patricia hosts them all.”
“We like topics that give insight into the marvelous adventure of expat life in Paris,” she told me. “Also fun and timely topics and presentations for modern minded, well travelled people.”
This Sunday: A Rat Pack Show
This Sunday’s topic should be interesting — make that VERY interesting. The guest is Ed Walters,former Sands Hotel Casino Boss in Las Vegas and protegé of Frank Sinatra, who’s appearing before Patricia’s guests for the sixth time. He always has fascinating new stories about these legendary performers.
Patricia said in her announcement, “He doesn’t make them up. He recounts his experiences as a very young man, when he worked with Frank Sinatra and his entourage, friends and associates in Las Vegas. Ed was quoted the February issue of Vanity Fair about his relationship with Frank Sinatra.”
See her website for more details. Admission is 25 euros.
Patricia’s page on Meetup.com
Harriet Welty Rochefort’s author site
Harriet’s Amazon author page
Philippe Rochefort’s site, Understanding France