| Not to miss...
|| Monthly highlights (don't
miss them if you're around)...
Biking in Paris : with the Velib
system, almost free.
|| New or
renovated museums and monuments:
- The new concert hall Philharmonie (2,400 seats) with modular seating in a spectacular building (to open in January 2015)
- 33 new spectacular period rooms opened in the Louvre (June 2014). There is not only the Mona Lisa in the Louvre!
- The Fondation Vuitton, a private collection of modern art, in an extraordinary building by Frank Gehry in the Bois de Boulogne (to be inaugurated in Fall 2014).
-The Musee Picasso, closed for several years for total refurbishment and extension, wil re-open in Fall 2014 with more than 5,000 works.
In the past few years :
- A new wing in the Musée du Louvre : a spectacular collection of Islamic Art (September 2012)
- Totally refurbished, the
"Musée des Arts Décoratifs" is an extraodinary collection of furniture and objects
of every day life from Middle-Age to XXth cent.
- The Museum of the History of Immigration ("Cité
de l'Histoire de l'Immigration") opened in 2007 in the beautiful
Art Deco building of the former Musée des Arts d'Afrique
et d'Océanie whose collections have been transferred to
the new Musée des Arts Premiers (quai Branly). Purpose
: to illustrate what the French society owes to the various waves
of immigration : Portuguese, Polish, Algerian, Jewish from Eastern
- The "Musée
du Quai Branly", a museum devoted to art from Africa
and Oceania opened Quai Branly in 2006, very close to Tour Eiffel,
in a beautiful building by architect Jean Nouvel. It displays
a wonderful collection!
- Not to miss : the "Musée des Monuments
Français" is a huge and spectacular museum of
architecture with the casts in plaster (real size) of hundreds
of the most beautiful gothic statues and bas reliefs of France
(left wing of the Trocadero). Breathtaking!
- Other museums recently refurbished :
- Musee Rodin (in one of the most enchanting gardens of Paris)
- Musee de l'Homme (Anthropology)
Events : Among many events sponsored by the City of Paris
all year round : "Paris
Plage" in Summer (a sand beach with palm trees and deck
chairs along the Seine), "Les Nuits Blanches"
(all over the City events
with light, illuminations, scultures, etc..., in October), "Fête
de la Musique" (anybody can play any instrument anywhere,
good concerts, in June), "Journée du Patrimoine" in September (free access to monuments
which are not open to the public including the Elysée
Palace, some wonderful foreign embassies,...), etc... Keep posted!
Harriet Welty organizes "Cheese & Wine Tastings
with a talk on intercultural differences" : read more about
DID YOU KNOW
THAT....? In the Théatre de la Huchette, in the Latin
Quarter, the same play has been performed more than 18,000
times, every day, with no interruption since
1957. It is fact two short plays of Eugène Ionesco, "La
Cantatrice Chauve" and "La Leçon". (Théâtre
de la Huchette, 23 rue de la Huchette 75005 tel. (0)1 43 26 38
You want to see the most beautiful examples of medieval art (sculptures,
gates, frescoes, chapels, ...) without traveling all over the
country. Go to the Cité de l'Architecture and admire
the (real size) copies, beautifully presented. The museum has
just been renovated and it is a fascinating experience (Palais
de Chaillot). A whole floor of models of modern buildings is
also very interesting.
Beware of pickpockets ! Many pickpockets,
generally from Colombia or Rumania, target American tourists
and ruin their visit to Paris. DO NOT : leave your bag on the
floor under your seat in restaurants or cafes, carry your wallet
in the back pocket of your trousers or of your rucksack, carry
an open handbag, try to answer long and complicated questions
asked by by smiling little kids who are all around you, etc...
sales for good bargain hunting
- "Salon de l'Agriculture",
"the largest farm in
France", thousands of farm animals, food from all over France
: a good opportunity to taste all sorts of delicious food!
- Chinese New Year parades (se Paris
- March :
du Livre" is a huge
book fair (Porte de Versailles Exhibition Hall) with each year
an emphasis on a particular foreign literature
- April (first
- International Marathon of Paris
with more than 35,000 runners
- May :
- the French Open (in French "Roland
excuse to leave the office (this is where you meet your boss);
- May 27 : "Immeubles en Fête" (neighbor's day) : you have a drink or organize a dinner
party with your neighbors (6 million people do it!)
- June 21rst :
"Fête de la Musique", launched by Jack Lang
in 1982 and now celebrated all over Europe ; according to my
personal statistics, it always rains but it's fun!
- (odd years) "Paris Air Show"
at Le Bourget Airport
- around June 15 : at the "The White Dinner", you bring your food, your champagne, your table, your chairs, your tablecloth, plates, silverware (everything white), you are completely dressed in white
and everything must be elegant (no plastic glasses and pizzas : champagne, foie gras, etc..) You park your car somewhere and a bus takes you to a surprise place, always very fancy (under the Eiffel Tower, in the Louvre Courtyard, etc..). Tourists love it take your picture and you offer them champagne ! In 2013, more than 13,000 participated (you have to be invited).
- also in June : the "garçons de café"
(waiters) race : several
kilometers with one bottle and four glasses on a platter : hysterical....
sales for good bargain hunting
- July 14 : Bastille Day (in French "Le Quatorze Juillet"
: nobody uses the word Bastille Day), get there early (8a.m.)
for the big military parade on the Champs Elysées ;
- one week later (around the 20th),
also on the Champs Elysées, the arrival of the Tour de
France is a very popular event. Read about July in Paris in Paris Diary
- Paris Plage
(beach) along the Seine on
several kilometers, with sand and palm trees !
- "Fête du Patrimoine"
(around the 20th), you can visit
for free historical monuments (such as the Elysée Palace)
which are normally closed to the public
- "Fête de l'Humanité" (mid. Sept.) : a huge popular fair (hundreds of thousands!) organized by the Communist Party in La Courneuve park (North of Paris) : good music, books and political shows...
- (even years) Paris Car Show
("Salon de l'Automobile")
- Holloween had become popular...
but now it's almost forgotten
- the FIAC (Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain) is always interesting
- the Nuit
Blanche is a night of
events based on light (and music) all over Paris
- Third Thursday : "Beaujolais Nouveau" Day
- The Telethon : many events, on TV and in the smallest villages, to raise money ($100m+) for scientific research on genetic deseases (first week of Dec.)
- as opposed to the USA, do not
expect much from Christmas in Paris : in France, it is a family
event and a big meal
| Jazz in Paris
|| Magazines and other sources...
Jazz alive and well in Paris !
- Jazz has always had a large
following, with good French groups and many foreign musicians
living in France
- After WW2, many African-American
jazzmen settled in Paris : among them Sidney Bechet, Kenny
Clarke,... Today, American musicians include Archie Shepp, Steve
Potts, Nina Simone (who died recently, ...).
- The characteristic of French
jazz is that it is open to other forms of music (electro,
african, oriental) and very creative.
- A typical form of this creative
influence on jazz is "gypsy-jazz" (jazz manouche),
illustrated in the 1940s by Django Reinhardt (guitar) and Stéphane
Grapelli (violin) with the Hot Club de France : a music
that everybody knows in France, with a very specific flavour (listen to an example).
You can enjoy it every Sunday in some restaurants in the Flea Market. More about Gypsies in France.
- Today, famous French jazzmen
include Didier Lockwood (violin), Martial Solal (piano), Jean-Luc
Ponty (violin), Michel Portal (clarinet), Claude Bolling (piano),
Michel Edelin (flute), Dany Doriz (vibs), etc...
- Best places in Paris : le New
Morning 7 rue des Petites Ecuries 75010 Tel (0)1 45 23 51
41, Le Petit Journal 13 rue du Commandant Mouchotte 75015 Tel
(0)1 43 21 56 70, Duc des Lombards, 42 rue des Lombards 75001
Tel (0)1 42 33 22 88
- Two excellent festivals : Paris
Jazz Festival, June/July, Parc Floral Vincennes (in the Park,
East of Paris) Tel (0)8 20 00 75 75, Festival de la Villette,
September, Cité de la Musique, 221 avenue Jean Jaurès
75019, Tel (0)1 44 84 44 84
- More jazz....
Hot spots for jazz in Paris are Rue des Lombards (near
Les Halles, with several excellent jazz clubs), Cité de
la Musique (La Villette Park, for concerts), the Flea Market
(les Puces, Porte de Clignacourt, for Gipsy jazz), and remember
that, in Summer, there are many jazz festivals in France : some
of them are definitely worth a trip (Jazz in Marciac, in the
South-West, friendly and convivial, and Juan-le-Pins, on the
Cote d'Azur, top-level)....
: English-speaking resources
and contacts ; the most useful for classified ads (housing, jobs,
etc...) ; free
- Free Voice/Paris
Voice : THE publication for English speakers in Paris.
Free, it can be found everywhere, for instance at W.H. Smith
or Brentanos bookstores.
- The Connexion : an excellent and very informative (British) newspaper on "France in English"
- The Paris Times
: a recent (and good) Free
- This City
: calling itself "the
Magazine for People who Love Paris"
- Officiel des Spectacles : a French
guide to what's going on
- Time Out, an English language guide to almost everything
that's going on in Paris. Also can be found in English-language
bookstores such as Smiths and Brentanos.
- Living In France
: a quarterly magazine with
a useful yellow page section.
- French News - For Residents and Lovers of France (large sections
on life outside Paris, especially in the South of France)
- Where Paris
: a monthly magazine
: weekly, available at any
newstand. It is the most commonly used source for movies and
theaters. Has an English language section, Time Out Paris,
Pick of the week"
: a young and hip magazine cataloging everything (music, cinema,
- Paris Update
: Find out what Parisians are doing this week : a free Web newsletter
in English with reviews of Paris restaurants, films, art shows,
concerts and more.
- Interested by Architecture
and City Planning ? The Pavillon de l'Arsenal
(near Bastille) displays models and pictures of Yesterday's
and Tomorrow's Paris, with very interesting exhibitions : Centre
d'Information, de Documentation et d'Exposition d'Urbanisme et
d'Architecture de la Ville de Paris, 21 bld Morland 75004 Paris.
- If you want a suggestion for
restaurants or places to go, click on Paris
for Americans ; for some new and different ideas of what
to do when in Paris , click on Unknown
Paris, and never forget that there many other
places in France.
- And for the flavor of life in
check out Harriet's monthly column on The Paris Pages. Click here
for a sample or read her Paris
| Miscellaneous information
14% of Parisians are foreigners.
One third of them are citizen of the E.U. and can vote in local
elections. To better associate the other foreigners, the city
has created in 2002 a "Conseil de la Citoyenneté
des Parisiens Non Communautaires" (CCPNC).
the first Sunday of each month as are many other museums : be
sure to check.
What to do ? Where to shop ?
Click for practical tips on life in Paris
and visit the Paris Diary
Riding a bike in Paris
with VELIB ! It's
easy and if you don't have your own,you can rent one of the more
than 20,000 Velib' bikes (the pass costs 1 Euro for one day,
5 for a week, 29 Euros for a year, the first half-hour is free,
the next one is 1 Euro, etc...). There are more than 1,500 stations
in Paris : your pick your bike at one of them and turn it back
at any other one.
Read about vandalism.
Taxi : If you need a Paris Airport Taxi book with TaxiLeader.net; it offers Taxis, Limos, Private Minibuses to and from all Paris airports and Disneyland.
Playing golf ?
More to come
..... In Paris, don't run, walk! Check Pariscope's Time
Out section for weekly updates for such groups as the Paris Walking
Tours. Another useful book is the Eyewitness Paris Travel Guide
which you can find at any Paris bookstore (W.H. Smith's, Brentano's).
It gives a list of five guided walks (a 90-minute walk around
Parc Monceau, a 90-minute walk around the Canal St-Martin, a
90-minute walk around the Ile St-Louis, a 90-minute walk in Auteuil,
and a 90-minute walk in Montmartre) with tips on how to get there
and stopping-off points on the way.
USEFUL TIP.....If you go to Versailles,
DON'T RUSH like most tourists who spend an average of two hours
in the enormous castle and neglect the city around. Especially
when you think that the castle and the city were decided by the
King to show his power, to subdue the arrogant nobility who was
forced to behave like muppets in his hands and to concentrate
the power in a new town, far from the potentially rebel Paris.
At the same time, the city is a perfect example of classical
beauty and grandeur : walk in its streets, admire the buildings,
the classy Carré Saint Louis, the market, etc.... The
King's vegetable garden is also very interesting. You will understand
the French better after one afternoon of shopping in Versailles.
Some French movies give a good idea, historically accurate, of
at the court
and life the before the Revolution : do not miss them if you
have the opportunity.
DID YOU KNOW THAT. ?
For the French, the year does not begin January 1rst ! It begins
(psychologically) in September and the beginning of the year is so unpleasant that
it ruins the Summer vacations (no wonder the French need so much
vacation during the rest of the year). It is called " la
rentrée ", like in schools. Just imagine : in
September, you receive the tax bill, kids start school ("rentree scolaire") and it
is the period of the year where, traditionally, many strikes ("rentree sociale")
take place, particularly transport strikes (train, metro, etc), politicians have new messages to send ("rentree politique") etc....
In spite of the enjoyment of the "Rentrée
it takes a few months to recover, then Christmas comes (nothing
spectacular) then the " soldes " (sales, more interesting),
then February vacation (very appreciated), then Easter vacation
and the wonderful month of May, with its " bridges ". Then it is time
to plan Summer vacation, etc.
|To related pages : Paris historical
landmarks, unknown Paris,
links to services in Paris,
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Rochefort writes articles and books about France and the French.
Order her books :
- "Joie de Vivre", Secrets of Wining, Dining and Romancing like the French, St.Martin's Press, New York, 2012
- "French Toast, An American in Paris
Celebrates The Maddening Mysteries of the French", St.Martin's Press,
New York, 1999
- "French Fried, The Culinary Capers
of An American in Paris", St.Martin's Press, New York, 2001
More on Harriet's books (excerpts, upcoming
events, testimonials, etc..)
Enjoy a wine & cheese tasting in a Paris garden apartment followed by a walk in the Pere Lachaise cenetery!
Click here to know more
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