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Paris People #2
by Jilliana Ranicar-Breese

By 1977 I was living full time in Paris but had no true identity. I had had a few so-called careers but never found my true calling in life. I had been a travel agent/consultant  and a TEFL teacher but that had been in my past life. I wanted more. I had come to Paris through a chance meeting with the director of a French cultural travel organisation FMVJ in Mexico City in 1976. My dream was to become an antique dealer trading between London and Paris but I had no connections or experience in that far away world - yet!

Paris seemed to be a very cultured exciting city and although I was living on a famous street in Montparnasse in the 14em district, at 27 rue Campagne Premiere, I knew no one in the art or publishing world. Everyone seemed so sophisticated and mondaine. So much more interesting than I was and oh so knowledgeable about life, love, art, music and literature. Paris was to be my education. My University of Life in the years to come.

I would hang out at 'Le Select' on Blvd Montparnasse but didn't know anyone there to talk to. One day I got talking to the sculptor, artist and photographer, Polish Israeli Yehuda Neiman who had lived in London and so spoke excellent English. He took me under his wing and one evening pointed out an American blonde artist and poet sitting at the bar. Little did I know then that this woman, Arlene Hiquily, would become  my lifelong friend.

I recall Yehuda taking me to friends for Xmas on the evening of the 24th December and we tasted for dessert the rich Buche de Noel (Yule log). It was at the Xmas dinner I was introduced to the distinguished elderly successful publisher Pierre Horay who invited us to his forthcoming Salon in St Germain. All of Paris will come, artists, writers and singers, said he. I shuddered as I was a nobody from Liverpool and this would be a step into the intelligencia of Paris society. Mon Dieu!

The evening arrived and, escorted by Yehuda, we climbed the stairs to a small studio somewhere in the 6em. Everyone seemed to have a name that went with a title which was their interesting profession. Everyone was announced by our host immediately as they entered the studio before automatically sitting on the floor on cushions and being offered a glass of wine. All the VIP guests on the floor looked up as Yehuda, who was well known, was announced as the great painter and sculptor. Et moi? My title? Pierre saved my bacon by saying 'And this is Jilliana and she is .... JILLIANA!'

Pierre Horay was a known outspoken publisher so I was surprised when one Saturday night he phoned me out of the blue and asked me to dine with him at his studio. I am sure he had gone through his little black book and been let down by several people and at the last moment thought of the young gauche woman Yehuda had brought along to his Salon. Moi!! He was very kind and listened patiently as I told him about my life, loves and travels. We had a pleasant evening but I never saw him again because he died soon after in 1978. A sad loss to the publishing world even though his company still carries on today as part of Albin Michel.

Written at Villa Perla, Kaleici, Antalya, in the rain, on 10/3/17.


Wikipedia - Yehuda Newman
Wikipedia - Pierre Horay
Wikipedia - la Rue Campagne Premiere