Bonjour de Paris ...
Leslie and I are just sickened by the news we've been hearing about the fires in California. We pray that all of our California friends and your families are safe and comfortable with your situations with regard to these horrific fires. A few weeks back we had several friends in Northern California who were in serious danger and had to evacuate until the fire fighters got things under control. We thought that things would settle down after that experience but the current fires seem even worse. It is heartbreaking to see so much destruction of property and devastation of people's lives. I am always so amazed at the attitudes of people who have lost everything and are seemingly able to move forward almost immediately in rebuilding their lives. We hope that those who have to rebuild will find that the process will quickly lead to a return to normalcy and the comfort of having a place to call home.
On a more cheery note... here are some photos from our recent travels.
Photo from the concert in Anncey, France.
Another shot from Anncey.
Leslie in Nice, France.
Hotel Negresco, Nice France.
We were in Nice at the end of November. We used it as a home base and went to different areas around Nice each day. We were able to visit Antibes, Cannes, Monaco, Eze, Saint Paul de Vence and Juan les Pins. It was pretty easy to get around using the local bus transit system. I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like on those roads during the high season in July and August. Talk about carmageddon! We were looking at the area to see if it might work for us to live there long term. The weather is better there and the cost of living is less than Paris so we thought that we would check it out. Plus there is the small matter of easy access to the Mediterranean Sea. We really loved Nice and we found that it would be possible to live there without a car, but as soon as one would leave Nice having a car would be a must. At this point neither one of us is interested in buying another car, or interested in sitting in traffic, so we have put the thought of moving there out of our minds. Leslie found us a great AirBnB property one block from the sea. It was a modern apartment in the residential building connected to the Negresco Hotel. We arrived around 9:00 pm with instructions to walk around to the next block from the entrance to our building and look for a utility box. Yes you read that correctly, a utility box. Once we found the box I opened it and found exactly what you would expect to find in a utility box on a city street. Leslie however, found a small envelope tucked into a corner with the keys we needed. I felt a bit like Jim Phelps of the IMF force. It took a while to figure out which keys opened which doors but we soldiered on until we were inside of our apartment. By this time it was getting late on a Sunday night so we decided to eat dinner in the only restaurant in the hotel that was open. The restaurant was called "La Rotonde " which was appropriate since it was a circular room in the theme of a carousel that featured many carousel horses with a color scheme of pink, light blue, and yellow. After our eyes adjusted to the room, we actually had a very good meal with the very traditional French service normally found in all of the "Palaces" (high end hotels) found throughout France. So it was an unusual beginning to our visit to the Côte d'Azur, but c'est normal for us. The rest of our time there was a good break from our Paris routine that included celebrating Leslie's birthday, exploring new towns, and enjoying being near the sea.
La Rotonde Restaurant.
View from Saint Paul de Vence.
We returned to Paris to find it snowing! The first snow we have seen in Paris since the winter of 2013. It was gone as soon as it arrived but it was also a bracing reminder of the difference between Paris and the south of France. Leslie loved it, even the wait for a cab at the train station didn't bother her. I was trying to see the beauty of the situation instead of concentrating on the sting of wet snow pelting my face.
The Christmas season is in full bloom here. The city is lit up and there are many kiosks lining the streets in our Saint Germain des Prés neighborhood. We have put up a tree and have some shopping to do. I find that Christmas shopping is not the same ordeal here as it was in California. I guess because we can walk to do our shopping it is less of a hassle. Sometimes I actually like running errands with Leslie in our little corner of Paris.
Leslie's tree Christmas 2017.
Leslie took a number of dates with pianist Philippe Duchemin so with the combination of that work, and our dates, she is on the second of a seven night run. I am into the weekly routine of teaching my classes at the IMEP College in Paris. Leslie and I came home from dinner on Sunday night to find a number of the students from the school were hosting a jam session at a bar directly across the street from our building. So we went in and listened to them for a while. Paris can be a small city!
We are looking forward to being with Peter and Nicole Giron in their home in Bordeaux for Christmas. Followed by a week of gigs in Paris starting on Dec. 27th the 31st. We start the New Year with a Jan. 4th date at Sunset Sunside Jazz Club.
So those of you who are in, or visiting Paris here is the line-up:
Dec. 27th Café Laurent Leslie & Gerard Duo.
Dec. 28-29 Chez Papa Jazz Club Leslie & Gerard with Peter Giron
Dec. 30-31 Chez Papa Jazz Club
Leslie & Gerard with Peter & Mourad Benhammou
Jan. 4th Sunset Sunside Jazz Club
Leslie & Gerard with Peter & Mourad Benhammou
Please don't forget that Laguna Beach Live is bringing us to California for a concert on April, 25th at Seven Degrees in Laguna Beach. It is a concert to raise funds for the music programs held at The Boys and Girls Club as well as other Laguna Beach locations. These programs are always free of charge for the children who attend them so we are thrilled to be a part of this cause. We really hope to see as many of you as possible for this worthwhile event. There will be food and drinks available at the venue. Tickets are available at https://www.lagunabeachlive.org/special-fundraiser-for-live-music-kids
Thank you to everyone who has already downloaded "Fragile", our new recording. It is available as a download on CD Baby at this link. https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/leslielewis5
Please check our website for news and updates. While you are there please sign up for our weekly email blast to learn where you can hear us. http://www.surfcovejazz.com
If we don't have another opportunity Leslie and I would like to offer our sincere wishes that you all enjoy a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year shared with all of your loved ones. Let us hope that 2018 will bring a renewed sense of harmony, an acceptance of our differences and the will to seek some common ground so we can move forward with a shared purpose.
Joyeux Noel et bonne année, Leslie et Gerard
Please if you have any comments feel free to contact me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. I enjoy hearing your thoughts. This email also appears on our website where you may comment as well. http://www.surfcovejazz.com/blog/