About Patricia

I have always loved the idea of entertaining. When I was little in Atlanta, I loved passing out the canapés when my parents invited friends over. Before I was old enough to cook, I collected recipes and later got my Girl Scout Badge in Cooking. I loved the Southern concept of hospitality and was always so happy when we had people over or when my Grandmother had tea parties and brought me along to hers. I loved welcoming people to our home and I still do (to mine). My door is always open. (In the photos of the Ile St Louis that open the site, that’s my open door.) I have always tried to be a gracious hostess and to recreate the aura of Southern hospitality that I learned from my Mother and my Grandmother.

MORE ABOUT PATRICIA.

Even as a child growing up in Atlanta, I always remember having a feeling for organizing events: church, neighbourhood and school. My Grandfather owned a nightclub and I guess that when I was a baby, I must have overheard him telling stories to my Grandmother about the different people and acts each day, as he held me in the rocking chair.  In this family photo, which my Mother proudly called ‘The Four Generations’, my Grandfather is the handsome, stern-looking man on the left. Then there’s me, my Great Grandmother and finally my beautiful Mother. My famous paternal ancestor, not in this photo, was Colonel McHenry who had been in the Georgia House of Representatives right after the Civil War.

Growing up, in high school, I participated in and  helped organize a flurry of activities. In my freshmanyear at Atlanta’s Spelman College, I was Social Chairman of my freshman class (organized all the parties) and when I transferred to Sarah Lawrence College, from which I graduated, I helped organize mixers between the different East Coast colleges. I’ve never stopped. Even as an Art History student in Florence, Italy and as a young advertising professional in New York (D’Arcy, Masius Benton & Bowles), I always helped host corporate, personal and alumnae events.

LITTLE PATRICIA’S TEA PARTIES

Everybody who attends Paris Soirées Dinners knows  that when I was less than 10 years old, on hot, lazy  Southern Sunday afternoons, after Church in Atlanta,

After the traditional Sunday afternoon dinner, I would sit in my parents’ dining room, with my miniature crystal punch bowl and cups and host tea parties with my dolls and other imaginary guests and we would all have punch. I gestured a lot as I served and was really in another world. I repeated all the things that I had heard my Mother saying at Church tea parties and that my Grandmother said during refreshments at the meetings of her sewing circle.

As a newly arrived Paris ex-pat, I worked in several American organizations helping with their fund raising events. I was also a trainee at Le Cordon Bleu and La Varenne cooking schools.

Then I found myself stepping away from groups in 1994 and having my first African- American Literary Soirée. I had met Ernest Gaines during his sabbatical year in Paris and asked him to be my guest for an evening. What a success! It continued. Over the years I had Soirées at David Toft’s Gallery (Quai des Grands Augustins), Café Marly, The Web Bar, The Seven Lizards Jazz Club as well as other historic buildings in the Marais and even on a river barge. I even organized several Soirées for the American Embassy in Paris.

In 1999, when I broadened to become Paris Soirées (from Paris Connections), I moved the events to my living room. Everything came under the Paris Soirées umbrella – even the book signings originally held at WH Smith’s. I have gone from purely African-American literary events to international events which interest the expatriate and French communities and people from all over the world.

Paris Soirées Dinners have flourished for seven years. Thousands of interesting people have attended. I make sure that each person personally introduces themselves to the group, so that we all know how original each person is.

Looking back, now being a longstanding expatriate of 22 years, I see myself following in the cultural footsteps of Nathalie Barney and Gertrude Stein, who in their turn, walked in the footsteps and carried the torches of 17th and 18th century society matrons such as the Marquise de Rambouillet, Madame Helvétius and the most famous of them all, Madame de Sévigné. These famous women have made a tradition and institution of the Salon.

Nathalie Barney’s Salons were on Friday and were THE place to go to meet people. Gertrude Stein’s were on Saturday and were THE place to go to learn about Modern Art. Patricia Laplante-Collins’s salons are on Sunday and are THE place to go to meet new and interesting people. And on the Ile St Louis! In 2006 the focus is to meet great people, to learn about a contemporary universe of things, to network and to learn how to fit into a foreign culture.

At Paris Soirées, you also get Southern hospitality, great food, have fun and get a better understanding of what it means to live in the Paris of today.

Patricia Laplante-Collins created Paris Soirees Dinners on Sunday and Paris Networking Cocktail events on the Ile St Louis to bring Americans in Paris together with expats, hip French and the International Community in a global meetup. Evenings feature Literary, Art, New Age, Business, African- American and Black Paris themes. There is an intimate salon atmosphere but it’s all about meeting people in Paris and creating friendships. Patricia is also the founder of African American Literary Soirees.

Contact Patricia by email or telephone:

parissoirees@gmail.com

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