The "Grande Damme" of the Paris Soirees - Patricia Laplante-Collins

Patricia Laplante-Collins

Laplante

In the context of Paris stories and expatriate profiles, we use this forum to recognize individuals who have or whose activities continue to enhance the legacy of African American expatriates in Paris.  In bringing attention to Paris' Patricia Laplante-Collins, I recall my own mid-90s experience, crawling out of my pleasant but insanely lonely existence of 'banlieu' life in the Paris surburb of Rueil-Malmaison.  

Having failed miserably at middle-class French integration living two doors from the former confines of Napoleon's Josephine at Chateau Malmaison, I needed more than oxygen to overcome what had been a first class burial (enterrement de première classe) in surburbia only 10 minutes from Porte Maillot.  I needed to hear the laughter of my culture, the silliness of my culture, the unsophistication of my culture.  I needed a relaxation of the throat muscles and from the facial grimace of having become too proficient in french pronounciations.  There were no Americans or English speakers in Rueil in those days and I had just about had it with being an exotic being in town.  I lived in the surburbs and worked in the surburbs.  I was too 'mature' to roam the 5th or 6th arrondisement with students and a visit to Paris was still a very French experience to see in-laws and friends.  One day, an advertisement for Patricia's Paris Soirees in a local magazine (Fusac) prompted fate.  I soon became a regular at the soirees and literary cocktails.  The rest was history.  Many lifetime friendships were formed / cemented, including my friendship with the artist Ealy Mays, which continues and has blossomed into other meaningful collaborations some fifteen years later.  Visiting Patricia Laplante-Collins' Paris Soirees, was a in many ways, a life changing cultural event for me.

La Grande Damme, The Sage, The Oracle

Described by a fellow blogger as the undisputed doyenne of the Paris salon scene, I would go further by describing her as the "Sage" or the "Oracle" of the Paris soirees scene.  In her own words, 

"I love meeting international people and I love what I do in getting people together. I feel that I have as a mission, the establishment of a community of a good intellectual level people, connecting them and organizing evenings for our Paris expat community, which then enables a connection to the world."

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No one knows Paris or is better integrated in its culture, as event organizer and former marketing professional Patricia Laplante-Collins.  No one has done more to foster cross cultural understandings and interactions between English speakers and other native tongues in Paris, as Patricia Laplante-Collins.  She is undoubtably the "Grande Damme" who has held a forum in Paris for universal "meet and greet" in some form or another for the last thirty years.  Her literary soirees have welcomed and facilitated cultural introductions and exchanges among the French and global English speakers from America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere, including others such as Scandinavians and other Europeans for whom English is a but second language, yet their primary means of international communication.  

In my days in the 90s Paris, the English language and impending prevalence of the internet were described as the "bulldozers Americains" which obsessed and terrified the culture-conscious French.  So the smart, cool, and hip Parisians did what any smart, cool, and hip people would do under the circumstances:  They made their Sunday evening trek to Patricia's Paris Soirees where they joined English speakers and freely interracted in a mixed cultural scene where they could practice and develop their English proficiencies.  

Patricia's Paris Soirees has played host to visiting dignitaries including celebrities, politicians, entertainers, writers, and artists.  It was the place, to see extracts of local artists' latest exhibition, to hear a visiting writer discuss his or her latest novel, to hear various intellectuals discuss and interpret the works and legacies of previous generations of expatriate writers and musicians, to see a film producer or documentarian discuss his or her latest film project (in some cases to screen their independent films after having received a good reception at Cannes), or to preview the performances of visiting entertainers before they took the stage at their mega performance venues in Paris.  

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The Atlanta native and alumni of both Spelman College Sarah Lawrence College in New York has been a fixture in the Paris expatriate scene for over thirty years.  After studies in Florence, Italy and life in Rome and Stockholm, among her other European locales, she moved to Paris where initial event plannings activities gave way to starting her Paris Soirees.  To describe Patricia Laplante-Collins as a cultural ambassador would be to minimize and understate her effect on the Paris expatriate scene for nearly  thirty years.  The first meeting place for the American relocating to Paris has been Patricia's Paris Soirees.  She has spent a lifetime enabling people to simply meet each other in Paris. There are few local friendships within the American expatriate community in Paris which were not formented in a Patricia Laplante-Collins venue.  And there are few Paris-initiated global networking contacts which were not initiated in a Patricia Laplante venue. 

In a nutshell, on your next visit to Paris, for a nice literary cocktail or networking experience with international people, fun subject matters, and terrific food, visit Patricia's Paris Soirees.

Contact Patricia Laplante-Collins by email:

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 or by telephone:

 tel: 33 (0) 6 43 79 35 18 (Locally: 06 43 79 35 18) Cell

 http://www.parissoirees.com 

Welcome to Ealy Mays Artworks

Celebration of over 150 years of Black Literary and Artistic development in Paris

Here you will find the works of one of the most prolific African American artists. Based in Paris, France, this selection includes current masterpieces as well retrospectives from a body of over 30 years as an ethnic artist painting in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Your choice of paintings, prints, posters, postcards, puzzles, memorabilia, T-shirts, collectibles, accessories,and more, is only a click away. Read more

It is the spectator and not life, that really mirrors art”  The Picture of Dorian Gray …Oscar Wilde

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