Paris Bids a Loving Farewell to Patricia Laplante-Collins

Paris Bids a Loving Farewell to Patricia Laplante-Collins

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Undisputed doyenne and hostess of Expat Soirees in Paris, Patricia Laplante-Collins. 1957-2019. © Discover Paris!

Think of the life and passing of Patricia Laplante-Collins like the film Casablanca, which she loved three times over. She was the Gertrude Stein of our time, connecting Paris to the world for decades with aplomb.

Since 1985 she hosted Patricia’s Expat Soirées in Paris every week, forming a long dynasty of connecting people with her pleasure and passion as the glue. There were a number of tough challenges in the closing chapters of her life which she overcame without complaint. She would like to say in the face of such trials that, “The glass IS half full!” The challenge that finally became insurmountable was her health, which comes for us all. Literally, she continued organizing these wonderful soirées, which changed form over the decades, to within the last months of her life.

Patricia Laplane-Collins
Patricia hosting one of her popular Expat Soirees in Paris evenings 2017. © Lindsay A Gordan

Patricia was an embodiment of the idea that there are only six degrees of separation between us all; it is hard to talk to someone who hasn’t been touched somehow by her 33 years of connecting people in Paris:

  • “She was instrumental in inspiring my love and passion for creating salons.”
  • “A modern-day Gertrude Stein.”
  • “Patricia was always supporting and loving, she will be missed.”
  • “A real passion for people and what makes us human.”

There are many friends of Patricia and, in some ways, she has more friends than anyone. Each week she would meet new people, remember all their names, and take a real interest in their lives and how they came to be in Paris. When her regular weekly newsletter abruptly stopped, people worldwide enquired about Patricia’s wellbeing.

To attend Patricia Laplante-Collin’s funeral on March 14 and 15, 2019 and celebrate her life, find details at the end of the tribute.

Patricia with her friend Iyan at Les Editeurs in Paris. December 2018. © Lindsay A Gordan

One of the last potential speakers Patricia talked to for her Soirées was Ellen, the granddaughter of author Richard Wright, who lives here in Paris. Ellen was touched by this brief conversation. Ellen has many lovely things to say about Patricia. It was Ellen who suggested that there should be many positive and uplifting tributes written, like this one, by those who came into Patricia’s circle in order to capture the different parts of her life.

Patricia knew how to put on a great soirée and was extremely practiced at it. In the last four years of her soirées, musical accompaniment, such as Tommie McKenzie, would sometimes be part of the entertainment.

Listening to Tommie McKenzie perform at one of Patricia’s expat evenings. Oct 2017. © Lindsay A Gordan

Patricia found good restaurants to serve good food and the businesswoman in her was able to negotiate a good deal while charging a very reasonable fee for guests lucky enough to attend her dinners. It was no small achievement to make this business work for over 33 years.

When you make creating a salon your life’s work then a “society” forms around you. Having given to so many, there were close authentic friends who gave back to Patricia and her efforts and a loyal ex-husband who remained supportive and helpful. Her later events were sometimes hosted in the Paris apartment of one of her “society” and speakers and musicians would volunteer their time. Regulars would support her events and the attitude was one of welcoming those new to Paris into part of the marvelous world they were about to enter.

Patricia was one of those rare authentic people who have integrity and a real interest in other people, including humanity at large. She was an intelligent and well-educated person who was assertive (and needed to be to establish herself in Paris).

Patricia supports INSPIRELLE co-founders Grace Wong-Follliet (left) and Nancy Ing Duclos at their wine networking event. 2017 © INSPIRELLE

“Paris is beautiful but very stressful. Big city life is tough and we all need festivities.” – Patricia Laplante-Collins (8 Oct 2017)

She was caring and attentive despite having so many contacts to stay in touch with. Patricia took a real interest in the life and work of her speakers. She never had a bad word to say about anyone and was ebullient about the time spent with friends who had just visited her. Patricia would always finish with a note of regard for the city she so adored and loved, Paris, France.

The film of her life ends with her “society” ensuring she resides, fittingly, in Père-Lachaise cemetery among the greats of Paris history. Patricia Laplante-Collins can now be written into Paris history as another story to be remarked upon.

Join in the celebration of the life of Patricia Laplante-Collins

Funeral Details:

Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 1 pm

at the Crematorium of the Père-Lachaise Cemetary

71 Rue des Rondeaux, 75020 Paris

Lindsay Gordon
Lindsay A Gordon is an Australian writer living in Paris since the Charlie Hebdo attack. A strong supporter of the arts, he is Producer for the Paris poetry series, “Angora Poets” and Art Director for the global event “100,000 Poets for Change”. Current projects: writer for INSPIRELLE; co-writing a script for a French producer; a book called, "Outback in Australia and Paris", editing a new book from Jude Cowan Montague (UK); writing “The View from Paris” series which is published in the USA; and co-writing a book on e-dating with LJ Wareing.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I wish I could remember how we found out about Patricia’s soirees. My husband has duel citizenship and in 2013 we decided to have an adventure and spent the summer in Paris. One of her soirees was one of the first things we did. It was held in an Indian restaurant and I was amazed at how she introduced everyone, many of whom she had just met. We became friends, spending time with her that summer and every year since then, our last visit in 2017. I always sent friends visiting Paris to her soirees. We would occasionally speak on the phone, across the ocean in between visits. Our hearts our broken and Paris won’t be the same without our Patricia.

  2. Thank you for this fitting tribute, Lindsay, Inspirelle and Entree to Black Paris. Since the mid-90s she provided a space where newcomers to land and meet others, where people from all backgrounds gathered and made new acquaintances, where visitors could connect in and feel part of the larger community. What a unique and cherished person Patricia was.

  3. Deepest thanks to Elizabeth Rimington (in particular) and Jim Ounsworth for taking extraordinary steps to ensure that Patricia Laplante-Collins will rest in peace and be remembered for her generosity and spirited personality. The urn of Patricia Laplante-Collins will rest forever in a niche at the Crematorium Père-Lachaise.

    A personal thank you from the author to:
    * Ellen A. Wright
    * Marlene Szczesny (http://cosmikdust.com) – “Patricia was a connector, she knew how to bring people together. She always took the time to learn something about each person that was there at one of her Sunday soirées and shared that with the group. That opened up the conversation between people.”
    * Nancy Ing Duclos
    * Cara Cruickshank – “That is truly the end of an era.”
    * Kevin Knight (http://paris.expatriatesmagazine.com)
    * Iyan MacKenzie – “We’ll always have Paris.”
    * Tommie Mckenzie
    * Moe Seager – “Undisputed doyenne and hostess of Expat Soirees. We held a memorial service in her honor today at Cimetière du Père Lachaise attended by a large coterie of friends and admirers. I wrote and read my pôem for Patricia. I knew Patricia since 1997. She convened book discussions, my jazz poetry appearances, and a roster of hundreds of speakers over a 20 year period. You will be dearly missed. Thank you for all you are, all you gave. RIP sister” (What Patricia said about Moe’s last performance as speaker for one of her soirées: “Thank you Lindsay. And Moe is fabulous.”)
    * Connie-Lee Bennett (https://www.connieleebennett.com)
    * Wani Manly (http://www.wanimanly.com) – “A woman, who was iconic in the Paris ex-pat community hosting her famous Patricia’s Soirees every Sunday for almost a quarter of a century.
    My first ever live speaking engagement took place at one of her soirées soon after my first book was published.
    At her soirées, she had this natural gift of attracting and drawing in the most extraordinary people at her soirées, and liked most, I was impressed with her impeccability in introducing every single guest.
    She knew everyone’s incredible story.
    Patrica, thank you for your service to the expat community and for all the vibrant connections made at your soirées.
    May your soul, Rest In Peace.”
    * and the many, many other friends and admirers of Patricia Laplante-Collins…

  4. Thanks for this lovely tribute to Patricia Lindsay. I’d heard about Patricia long before I actually met her in recent years, and I wish time had given me a chance to get to know her better. She was sincerely warm and friendly, and always supportive of others, even when encountering challenging times herself. The world would be a better place with more people like Patricia around.

    • Thanks Grace. It was typical of Patricia to come out and support the InspirELLE event and I’m glad you got to meet her that night. Indeed, she touched more lives than any of us ever will. – LAG

  5. With many thanks to Monique Y. Wells of Entrée to Black Paris:
    https://www.entreetoblackparis.com

    See also this piece paying loving tribute to Patricia:
    https://www.entreetoblackparis.com/blog/celebrating-patricia-laplante-collins

    And this book on Amazon that profiles Patricia Laplante-Collins:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AAM96XA/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AAM96XA&linkCode=as2&tag=pariinsi-20

    – Lindsay A Gordon

    PS I encourage others to write tributes and to link to them in the comments here. Or perhaps leave a quote about how Patricia touched your life below:

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