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 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.
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.
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).
“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.