Scene - The Other Tour-Bus Company

photo: living statue, haussmann
For the weary shoppers, slow-moving street theatre.

The Tail-End of the Fall-Winter Season

Paris:- Saturday, 27. December 1998:- If you are ever near the Madeleine church, pop around to the eastern side. Right on the corner you will find a beautiful under-the-sidewalk public toilet, and just a few steps from it, an unusual RATP kiosk.

You may have seen the RATP's bright yellow 'Open Tour' buses, or read about them here, but what might be less well-known is that the RATP operates a whole series of tours.

For example, for New Year's Eve, they have a tour leavingphoto: madeleine toilets and open bus at 19:00 to go to 'La Ferme du Buisson' - which is supposed to be ancient and fortified, but of unknown location - and at this farm you can say 'goodbye' to 1998 while surrounded by the wooden horses of an antique merry-go-round.

This shot was taken five minutes before visiting the RATP's kiosk, but after checking out the swanky public toilet.

If you've done it all and seen it all, you'll be sorry to miss this one - because reservations closed for it on 30. November. For 930 francs I think there is more to it than justwooden horses, and the bus brings you back at 6:00 in the morning of 1. January 1999 - making it one of the RATP's slower round-trips.

The point is though, the RATP has a whole series of tours. Some are to sites in Paris and some are further away; many tours cost about 200 francs, but there are some for less and some for more.

This little office also has a series of attractivebrochure: ratp winter bus brochures for the RATP's regular Paris bus lines. For example, if you take the one for the bus number 21, it will entitle you to a five franc reduction if you get off on the Pont Neuf, and take a cruise on one of the Vedettes du Pont Neuf.

Okay, so the reduction is less than the price of a bus ticket; it's the thought that counts. If you are one of these 'done it all and seen it all people,' this RATP service kiosk is for you. You know, you leave the driving to them, and get to watch Paris drivers fight it out from the safety of a nice, big bus.

The 'Winter Bus' season continues until 30. March 1999. The kiosk is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The 'Summer Bus' season has longer opening hours and is open on weekends.

Painters At the Marine Museum - For a pleasant museum full of many wonders, the Musée de la Marine at Trocadéro is almost exceedingly discrete.

For the 36th time, the Musée de la Marine is presenting its ever-growing collection of marine paintings. Many of these are done by 'official' navy painters, but the exhibition also shows works by independent artists. This year, homage is paid to two departed official painters: Jean Cluseau-Lanauve and Jacques Bouyssou.

Except for Tuesdays, open daily from 10:00 to 17:50. Musée de la Marine, Palais de Chaillot, 17. Place du Trocadéro, Paris 16. Métro: Trocadéro.

Modern Art In Lille - This is a bit out of town and just a little further outside town, 'L'Envers du Décor' is at the Musée d'Art Moderne until Sunday, 21. February. Openposter: art modern: lille: envers de la decor daily except Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 18:00. Take the métro line 1 to 'Pont de Bois' and then the 41 bus to the Parc Urbain-Musée.

I can't pass up mentioning any Francisco de Goya exhibition. The show is subtitled 'Un Regard Libre' and you can see it until Sunday, 14. March. fnac and the SNCF have joined ticketing forces to make the visit fairly easy.

There's a promo transit rate, starting at 129 francs, for TGV first class, so that's 258 for a round-trip. It takes 60 minutes one-way and there's a train from Gare du Nord every half hour. In Lille, look for the Palais des Beaux-Arts, which is at the place de la République. Info. Tel.: 03 20 06 78 00. Lille itself offers a combo price for the exhibition and lodging.

L'Heure Espagnole - is by Maurice Ravel and will be performed by the Orchestre National d'Ile de France on Saturday, 16. January at 20:30 in the Salle Pleyel, under the direction of Jacques Mercier.

According to Mr. Mercier, you are supposed to laugh along with thisposter: orchestra ile de france piece of Spanish 'boulevard' music; so if you find it amusing, you already have his okay to enjoy yourself.

The imposingly-named Orchestre National d'Ile de France had a little program booklet for me to find at the RATP bus kioskmentioned above. Their series of concerts run through to May, and I will mention them again - partly because the booklet came with 10 well-designed postcard-sized posters for the concerts - but mainly because the whole thing seems to be so well organized. Best of all, this Orchestra has an email address.

Orchestre National d'Ile de France, at the Salle Pleyel, 252. rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris 8. Ticket sales at 24. rue des Archives, Paris 4. Contact by email: orchestrenationalidf@compuserve.com or Info. Tel.: 01 43 68 76 00.

Portable Globalization - is what you can get from the IGN for only 179 francs, and up. France's national Geographic Institute has a boutique just off the Champs-Elysées, called Espace IGN, and it has some interesting articles for sale - including globes of various sizes and countries.

If you can find a card version of the illustration on this page, take it with you to get 20 percent off the price of any IGN product. Espace IGN, 107. rue la Boétie, Paris 8. Métro: Franklin-Roosevelt. Open Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 19:00. On Saturday, the shop takes a lunch break from 12:30 to 14:00.

Le Misanthrope - by Molière is playing at the Maison des Cultures du Monde, adapted and directed by Dominique Houdart, with Hubert Jappelle, Jeanne Heuclin and Catherine Larue. Until Thursday, 28. January, this show is on from Tuesday to Saturday, at 21:00.

At the same location, the Padox Café-Concert, featuring Jeanne Heuclin singing Yvette Guilbert and the Commune de Paris. This takes place Friday and Saturday at 19:00 and on Sundays at 12:00. The Maison des Cultures du Monde, 101. boulevard Raspail, Paris 6. Métro: Notre-Dame des Champs. Info. Tel.: 01 45 44 41 42.

Café de la Danse - This is a new nameposter: cafe de la danse: ramadan for me and I don't have much information for it. A theatre piece, 'La Double Inconstance' is currently playing until Wednesday, 30. December, at 20:30. Café de la Danse, 5. passage Louis-Philippe, Paris 11. Métro: Bastille. The 'Café' is located between the rue de Lappe and the passage Thiéré.

Starting on Wednesday, 6. January, the 'Belles Nuits du Ramadan' takes off with 15 evenings of 'oriental music' at the Café de la Danse. Info. Tel.: 01 48 87 50 50.

Nel Haroun, Café Oriental, 1920

Here's the story: it turns around the mysterious person of Nel Haroun, and the time is the 'Années Folles' - when Parisian cabarets were sometimes more like the caverns of Ali Baba - and this original musical seeks to recreate the orientalism that was so popular at the time.

Dancers, jugglers, actors and singers; about 20 in all, perform the original idea of Mayodi, under the direction of Pierre Mechanick. Attention: this piece includes belly dancing and if you are a fan of this, it shouldn't be missed.

Divan du Monde, 75. rue des Martyrs, Paris 18. The current run lasts until Wednesday, 30. December and then it returns for a second round from Tuesday, 5. January until Thursday, 14. January. Métro: Pigalle or Abbesses. Info. Tel.: 01 49 87 50 50.

23rd Paris International Marathon

The Marathon International de Paris - to be run on Sunday, 4. April 1999 - is now taking inscriptions.

To register for the Marathon, I have only a fax number at this time: 33 -1 41 33 15 69, but give the Web site a try too.

If writing, the name and address is Athletisme Organisation SA, BP 182, 92135 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. If absolutely necessary, I will scan the registration form and email a copy to anyone who requests it.

Inscriptions made before 15. January 1999 cost 190 francs for residents and 250 francs or US$45 or 75 DM for visitors.

After the date above, from 18. January to 19. March, the rates rise to 250 francs for residents, and to 370 francs - US$75, 115 DM - for visitors. The rates for signing up after 19. March are quite a bit higher and entries are limited to 25,000. If you wait and the quota is full on the sign-up deadline, you'll be out of luck.

If this big-time stuff is not your beat, there is also a Semi-Marathon; which will be run in Paris on Sunday, 7. March 1999. Take your pick.

Tropiques Métis - It is difficult to tell whether France belongs it its former colonies or the other way around; for they are very much present in everyday life. Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique and Réunion export not only people to France, but music, art, folklore, lifestyle and food too.

There is a program of plays and Carnaval workshops for the young, on Wednesdays in January and March. Toss in a bit - 400 years - of history, and you can find it all in one place until 12. April, at the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires. 6. avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris 6.

This is inside the Jardin d'Acclimatation. Métro: Sablons, in Neuilly, plus a seven-minute walk. Open daily except Tuesday, from 9:30 to 17:15. Info. Tel.: 01 44 17 60 00.

Russian Icons - Russian soul, from the collection of the Kolomiensky Museum in Moscow; featuring about 50 icons and other items on view outside Russia for the first time. An added attraction of this exhibition is that it is located on the top of the Grande Arche at La Défense, and the entry price of 60 francs includes the elevator ride up to the top. Open daily from 10:00 to 18:00, until 31. January. Métro and RER: Grande Arche de la Défense. The view is free.

La Poste Launches Its First 'Euro' Stamp - Starting in next week, La Poste will launch its first three-franc 'Euro' stamp. The co-existing 'Euro' price of the stamp will be whatever the 'Euro's' rate is for the day it is printed. As this rate will fluctuate like any other currency, this will be a stamp with its own historical 'postmark.'

For philatelists, this is a big event. Other countries within the 'Euro'-block will be putting out their new stamps too - during the two-year changeover period. France's number one will have 500 million issued, but its 'Euro'-value will only exist once. This stamp can only be used for postage within France, or from France to other countries - not from other countries to France.

'La Poste's' services for philatelists are accessible by the Web to interested collectors. Although it is not explicit that La Poste takes foreign orders, it does offer information about its subscription service in English, German, Spanish and Italian, in addition to French. La Poste also accepts payments made with Visa or Mastercard.

Paris' 'Long' Mois de la Photo - 10th Edition

This annual 'one-month' event kicked off late last October and is continuing well into the new year. It started with Edmond Bacot and Olivier Mériel's photos of Victor Hugo, which can be seen at the Maison de Victor Hugo in the Place des Vosges, until 24. January 1999.

'Personne n'a Vu Tout' - Anders Peterson has been taking photos a long time and is present for Paris' Mois de la Photo, with what may be some disturbing images - of psychiatric patients. Exhibition at the Centre Cultural Suédois, 11. rue Payenne, Paris 3. Métro: Saint-Paul or Chemin-Vert. Open Tuesday to Friday from 14:00 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday from 14:00 to 19:00; until Sunday, 3. January. Info. Tel.: 01 44 78 80 20.

'Paris, Ici et Là - le Paris des Quartiers' - An exhibition, mostly of photos, of Paris and its 'quarters' - which some have likened to 100 villages. With this show, you get to see a lot of Paris away from the main sights, and get to see them in the comfort of the Hôtel de Ville's reception office.

The 'Paris des Quartiers' exhibition continues until Saturday, 16. January and is open from 9:30 to 18:30 except on Sundays and holidays. At 29. rue de Rivoli, Paris 4. No entry charge.

There will also be photos of old Moscow - until 14. February - and an exhibition of soviet views - 'Art for the Masses' - of themselves from 1917 to 1981, which can be seen at Paris' Mediathéque - no - I can't remember its new name. It used to be the Vidéothéque; but it is still at Les Halles on the Lautréamont Terrace, by the Porte Rambuteau.

There are too many individual events and locations for them to list here. Luckily we have the Web and the Mois de la Photo has its own site, where there should be a complete program.

If you are in Paris, some of the contents of the Web site above can been seen hanging on walls at the Maison Européenne de la Photo, 5-7. rue de Fourcy, Paris 4. Métro: Saint-Paul or Pont-Marie. Info. Tel.: 01 44 78 75 07.

Another Photo-Web sites worth a visit is Centre National de la Photo, which is located in the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, 11. rue Berryer, Paris 8. Info. Tel.: 01 53 76 12 32.

Paris' Overwhelming 'Scene'

Each week sees new items added to this feature, and it gets longer and longer. Rather than drop items, many of which run until early next year, their headlines are retained in this issue.

For more details about the above, please see the 'Scene' columns in issues 3.51, 3.50, 3.49, 3.48, 3.47 and 3.46, then return here.

Sauver Assise! - at the Musée du Petit Palais until 14. February.

Early Picasso - 1901 to 1909 - The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has lent the Picasso museum in Paris ten paintings and 15 designs - to which are added 20 designs from this museum, to make a complete Picasso exhibition. Musée Picasso, Hôtel de Salé, 5. rue Thorigny, Paris 3. On view until Monday, 25. January. Info. Tel.: 01 42 71 25 21.

Two Big Painters; Millet and Van Gogh - At the Musée d'Orsay, until Sunday, 3. January.

Issey Miyake: - the pioneer of 'métissage,' but otherwise known as one of the most inventive clothing designers we have at the end of this century. Until 17. January.

L'Idiot - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky wrote to his niece in 1869 to say he thought this story might be a total failure - with a near seven-week run booked for it, it looks like the producers think otherwise. At the Théâtre 14 J. M. Serrea until Sunday, 10. January.

Gustave Moreau and Lorenzo Lotto - Exhibitions at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais - until Monday, 4. January and 11. January 1999.

Lydie Arickx: - has an exhibition which can be seen at the Convent des Cordeliers until Sunday, 10. January.

Pierre Mantra - has an exhibition at the Galerie Selmersheim until Thursday, 31. December.

Cashemires Parisiens: - Because Josephine liked to wear cashmere shawls, you might like to know more about their manufacture and history. Exhibition at the Musée Galliera - Musée de la Mode et du Costume de la Ville de Paris. Final day is 28. February 1999.

Le Passé Recomposé: - An exhibition of multimedia projects, which show the re-constituted past - that is, the historic past. At the Trianon de Bagatelle, until Sunday, 10. January.

Giacometti, Richier, Gutfreund: - Exhibition 'Bourdelle et Ses Elèves,' at the Musée Bourdelle until 7. February.

Architectural Genius - François Mansart - Exhibition at the Hôtel de Rohan, until Sunday, 17. January 1999.

Sur les Quais: - This exhibition, shows the Seine quai's history, and their actual state as well as urban plans for the future. At the Pavillon de l'Arsenal.

Suzuki Osamu: - Exhibition at the Espace des Arts Mitsukoshi-Etoile. Until Saturday, 9. January.

Laves Emaillées: - Exhibition in the atelier of Ary Scheffer, at the Musée de la Vie Romantique, until Sunday, 17. January.

Traipsing Through Fancy Hotels - From 'Palais' to 'Palace' is the name of this exhibition about Paris' grand hotels, which is in the Musée Carnavalet, until Sunday, 24. January.

Rites et Festins de la Chine Antique:- are the 'Bronzes du Musée de Shanghai, at the Musée Cernuschi, until Sunday, 10. January.

Mémoire d'Empire: - the 'Trésors du Musée National du Palais, Taipei' is an exhibition at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, until Monday, 25. January.

Les Quatre Théâtres des Sens - Palais de la Découverte, until Sunday, 3. January.

For more details about the above, please see the 'Scene' columns in issues 3.51, 3.50, 3.49, 3.48, 3.47 and 3.46, then return here.

Cluny - Musée National du Moyen Age - Thermes and Hôtel de Cluny at 6. place Paul-Painlevé, Paris 5. Métro: Cluny-La Sorbonne. Open daily except Tuesdays, from 9:15 to 17:15. Closed Friday, 1. January 1999. Early closing at 16:00 on Thursday, 31. December. Best times for casual visits are between noon and 14:00 and after 15:30. The library is open until 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 53 73 78 16.

Paris' Art Deco museum, is the Musée des Arts Décoratifs - at 107. rue de Rivoli, Paris 1. Métro: Palais-Royal or Tuileries. Entry for disabled persons is at 105. rue de Rivoli. Except Mondays, open from 11:00 to 18:00; on Wednesdays to 21:00. On weekends, opens at 10:00.brochure: bus 21 & 56 Info. Tel.: 01 44 55 57 50. The Musée de la Mode et Textile and the Musée de la Publicité is at the same location..

The Artdéco museum has a branch office at the Musée Nissim de Camondo, at 53. rue de Monceau, Paris 8. Métro: Villiers or Monceau. Info. Tel.: 01 53 89 06 50. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00.

The Pompidou Centre - Also Known as Beaubourg: - The interior of this museum has been undergoing interior renovations since October 1987. Many of the museum's collections will be on view at other museums in Paris, at other cities in France and other countries - until the renovations are completed.

In front of the museum there is a tepee, which has information about the centre, presented in a multimedia form. The public library remains open at 11. rue Brantôme, just to the north of the museum. David Hockney arrives in January 1999. The Atelier Brancusi also remains open.

Musée d'Art Moderne - This Ville de Paris museum is showing a selection from Beaubourg, through to 19. September 1999. In November a new cycle started with Nouveau Realisme and Arte Povera. Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris,11. avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16. Open Tuesdays to Friday from 10:00 to 17:30; Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 18:45. Info. Tel.: 01 53 40 00.

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