Paris Issues 'User's Guide'

photo: spectators, steps grande arche

In the case of the steps at the Grande Arche,
the 'Scene' is lunch.

Toyota Issues Fancy Sandwiches

Paris:- Saturday, 22. May 1999:- I was not alone during the week while cruising likely spots on the lookout for Paris' monthly magazine for residents, called 'Paris - Le Journal.' It has a new layout, lots of city information and it usually appears at mid-month.

booklet: paris, mode d'emploiOne place it is never found is the Paris Tourist Office on the Champs-Elysées. Where it is supposed to be available, in all of Paris' 21 city hall receptions, it was not. 'Next week,' they said.

Instead, I found a new booklet - probably at the tourist office - which has changed its name to 'Office de Tourisme et des Congrès - but not its address on the Champs-Elysées. So what I used to call the 'PTO' is now the 'PTOC.' I think there is a new Web site to go with the new name too.

The booklet, with about 130 pages is full of up-to-date practical information for visitors, plus quite a number of ads. The title is 'Paris, Mode d'Emploi, User's Guide' - and since it is well-done in French and English, I'm sure it will be snapped up in no time because it is also free. Um, I see it has a nominal price of 10 francs - so if you can find it, buy three copies.

New Stuff:

I have seen posters announcing that Monet's 'Nymphéas' are playing now in the Musée de l'Orangerie, until Monday, 2. August. All the five-star hotels are reported to be booked solid on account of the air show and high-budget arms-sale fair at Le Bourget, which kicks off on Sunday, 13. June.

Hommage à Jean Marais - is an exhibition about this famous French actor, which will start on Friday, 28. May and continue until 5. September. Details are scanty as I have only received the invitation to the vernissage, but the expo will be in the Musée de la Vie Romantique, 16. Rue Chaptel, Paris 9. Métro: Saint-Georges. Info. Tel.: 01 48 74 95 38.

Festival de Saint-Denis - which began on 20. May, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. For a month, Saint-Denis will be home to classical music, flamenco, music from Morocco, some Spanish 'palm' music, which is part of much else 'arabo-andalou.'

After the exotic there will be accordions, dance, 'Magic Mirrors,' cabaret, jazz, classical soloists - both musicians and singers, and much more until the last performance on Thursday, 1. July. Visit the festival's Web site, or Info. Tel.: 01 48 13 06 07.

Les Jardins 'Allegoria' - these are made up of five imaginary but real gardens, symbolizing the five senses, by Jean-Paul Guerlain. In fact, these gardens are much more than symbolic because you can visit their 400 square metres at the Longchamp racetrack, from Thursday, 27. May until Monday, 1. June - and see their sculptures, donebrochure: guerlain, les jardins allegoria by Nathalie Decoster as well. Pascal Gasquet helped with the gardens. After a two week break, the gardens move to the Boutique Guerlain, 68. Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Paris 8 - until 28. August.

Illustration, 'L'Art du Jardin Guerlain'©1999

24 Heures du Mans - Once every year on a weekend about this time I look out the window and if it is pouring cats and dogs, I know it is the weekend of the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race. By then it is too late to announce it.

This year - by special exception only - I can say the date for the big race is from Saturday, 12. June to Sunday, 13. June. The event actually gets underway on Monday, 7. June, with technical inspections.

Saturday's race is supposed to begin at 16:00. Somewhere in the centre of the race area, there is a village which hosts visitors, which may number 185,000. As there are only 2500 rooms available and nearly 4500 camping spots, a little planning is required for a successful weekend of racing at Le Mans.

'Taïkos' - Tambours Japonais - The Cohan group, from the famous 700-year old school of Osuwa Daiko, will be bashing away at their big drums. Two locations and two dates - at the Centre Culturel Georges Pompidou in Vincennes, 142. Rue de Fontenay, on Saturday, 29. May at 20:30. Info. Tel.: 01 43 98 65 79. And at the Centre Culturel Franco-Japonais, at 8-10. Passage Turquetil, Paris 11; from Monday, 31. May until Saturday, 5. June at 19:30. No show on Friday, 4. June. Tickets for both shows, 60 and 80 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 43 48 83 64.

'Le Rendez-Vous Toyota' - when I saw this place on - in this issue you are going to see 'Champs-Elysées' 49 times! - in the rain on Wednesday, I thought, "Toyota has a sandwich shop here?" Because this is what the two-story place looks like.

However, inside there was a display of artists' renderingbrochure: festival st denis of car hoods, called 'Reflects Argentés.' New cars themselves were hard to find, but a café area with Internet terminals was prominent - you pay for a sandwich to have online access. Upstairs about 20 kids were being shown how to do tricks with iMacs and around a corner, there is a bar with a view of not much.

Some light bulb told me to poke my nose into the Club Med to find out if they have a 'Club Med' in Paris. Surprise! It is about to open at Bercy; but will not have sand on the floors. For some reason I also glanced into Planet Hollywood, which had a gang of loud kids in its dim celler.

Thus, the Toyota showroom-cum-cybercafé with playroom and cocktails came off best, with all its light and large windows. Although welcoming kids, a Coke costs 22 francs while a Kir was posted at 20 francs. At 79. Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Paris 8.

The Big Shows:

Paris' Ottoman Springtime

'L'Art Ottoman' is a show currently on at the Trianon de Bagatelle. With the 'Temps du Maroc' and the Egyptian mixup, I neglected to mention the details for this one.

Paris is celebrating the 700th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire, which started with Sultan Mehemet II in Constantinople. Objects from various collections make up the show as well as an exhibition by 70 photographers, who have rendered Istanbul in all of its variety.

Trianon de Bagatelle, Parc de Bagatelle, Route de Sèvres, Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16. Métro: Pont de Neuilly and then bus 43 for the rest of the way. This exhibition continues until 1. August. Entry to the park is 10 francs, and to the Trianon, 28 francs.

The Other Related Shows:

Meknès Gate at Concorde - was featured in issue 4.15. Its full name is 'La Portebrochure: 24 heures du mans de Meknès Bab El Mansour.' Its 3000 square metres of complex decor is being recreated by Catherine Feff - in France - but in inspired directly from the original at Meknès, and it will only be fully complete in June. As it is already 15 metres high, it is hard to overlook - but don't miss it!

Maroc - les Trésors du Royaume - is an exhibition featuring more than 400 works from Morocco's long prehistory, up to the Islamic period. A final part of the exhibition deals with European painters who worked in Morocco in the late 19th century, such as Matisse and Dufy.

'Le Temps du Maroc' - until Sunday,18. July - can be visited at the Petit Palais, Avenue du Winston Churchill, Paris 8. Métro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau. Except Monday, open from 10:00 to 17:40; to 20:00 on Thursdays. Catalogue available. Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 12 73.

L'Art Egyptien au Temps des Pyramides - by total coincidence, this exhibition is across the street from Morocco in the Petit Palais, at the Grand Palais. This Egyptian exhibition focuses on the time of the pyramids - from 2700 to 2100 BC. This is also one of the 'big shows' and exhibits have been borrowed from the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Royal Ontario Museum.

L'Art Egyptien - until 12 July, at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Square Jean Perrin, Paris 8. Champs-Elysées Clemenceau. Closed on Tuesdays, otherwise reservations are required for visits from 10:00 to 13:00 - no reservations required from 13:00 to 20:00; 22:00 on Wednesdays. Entry: 56 francs with reservations, 50 francs without. Catalogue available. Info. Tel.: 01 44 13 17 17.

Les Trésors du Sultan Topkapi à Versailles - is a sample of Topkapi's collection, going back through centuries to the treasures of Suleiman, the First as well as the Magnificent. At the Château, continuing until... when? Info. Tel.: 01 30 84 74 00. Also in Versailles, the musical Festival des Yvelines has a date for classical on Thursday, 27. May, in the Royal Chapel of the chateau at 20:30. Reservations required: Info. Tel.: 01 39 07 70 92.

Coming Shows, Events and Exhibitions:

Coming Soon: 'Wouah! Wouah!' - is a comedy adapted from Roland Topor's novel, with direction and music by Jacquesbrochure: hommage a jean marais Coutureau. Love causes imaginary crises and over-reactions, depending on different countries at different times; and this is put together by the creator of the Grand Magic Circus.

To be at the Théâtre National de Chaillot, in the Salle Gémier, on Thursday, 27. May. Showtime will be Tuesday to Saturday at 20:30, and this piece will run until Saturday, 26. June. 1. Place du Trocadéro, Paris 16. Métro: Trocadéro. Ticket at the theatre or at fnac, Virgin and other agencies. Info. Tel.: 01 53 65 30 01.

'L'Artiste Selon Balzac' - The 'Maison de Balzac' reopened on Thursday, 20. May with a new exhibition of artistic works relating to an article published in 1830, in which Balzac defined the creative aspects within artists. On show will be Raphael, done by Ingres, La Fontaine and science types such as Descartes and Newton; to illustrate Balazc's argument.

The museum's library is closed, but will reopen on 19. September. Maison de Balzac, 47. Rue Raynouard, Paris 16. Info. Tel.: 01 42 24 56 38.

The above are new, recently started or coming events. Immediately below are long-running events which are nearing their final days. These are followed by current events and way down at the end you will find events that still have a long time to run.


Around the Death of Richard, the Lion-Heart - is actually about the original document for the peace treaty between Richard the Lion-Heart and Philippe Auguste, concluded at Louviers on 15. January 1196. The exhibition also includes related documents and other graphic souvenirs.

At the Archives Nationales, Musée de l'Histoire de France, Hôtel de Soubise, 60. Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 3. Métro: Rambuteau. Closed Tuesdays; open Monday to Friday, from 12:00 to 17:45; and weekends from 13:45 to 17:45. Until Monday, 31. May. Entry: 20 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 40 27 62 18.

La Bohème - by Giacomo Puccini will be on at the Opéra Bastille until Thursday, 27. May. Under the direction of Daniel Oren; directed by Jonathan Miller. Info. Tel.: 08 36 69 78 78.

At the Maison Européenne de la Photo you can see the 'Courant Continu' show by Ralph Gibson as well as the 'Portraits - Réel/Virtuel' exhibition by Catherine Ikam and Louis Fléri. On show until Sunday, 30. May.

Touhami Ennadre - is a photographer who has given up all narrative to concentrate on the subjectsbrochure: cohan, tambours japonais of his images of things - religious. Until Sunday, 30. May. Also at the

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.

Dali Folies - is a dance and comedy show, adapted from Salvador Dali's writing; somewhat concocted and directed by Jacques Darcy. This started last week and runs for about a month, at the Espace Pierre Cardin, 1. Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8. Métro: Concorde. From Tuesday to Saturday at 20:30 and on Sundays at 15:00. Tickets: fnac, Virgin and France Billet. Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 27 35.

Jean Moulin, 1899-1943 - This is a special exhibition, on the occasion of the anniversary of his birth. Pre-war government administrator, Jean Moulin was one of the most important leaders of the resistance, until captured and executed in 1943. More biographical than the permanent exhibit; many private papers and photos are presented, along with a new film, in super-panoramic-format, narrated by Robert Hossein. At the Mémorial du Maréchal Leclerc Hauteclocque et de la Libération de Paris et Musée Jean Moulin, Jardin Atlantique, above the Gare Montparnasse. Until 2. January 2000, daily except Mondays, from 10:00 to 17:40. Catalogue available, 80 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 40 64 39 44.

Parc Asterix - for its 10th anniversary, 'L'Oxygénarium' has been in operation since 3. April and it might be some sort of hairy ride on a rubber tire, but I don't know for certain. The park is adding a hotel as well, but this will not open until July. In total, there are 28 'attractions' within six theme areas; not all of them Gallo-Roman.

Before rushing off willy-nilly, check out SNCF, RER and RATP ticket windows for combination transport and park-entry tickets. These can be purchased in advance and used any day during the season. Children under three have free entry. The Parc Asterix is on the Web too. In France, Info. Tel.: 02 44 62 34 04, and from abroad: 33 2 44 62 34 04.

Festival du Rire - is a live, late-late show at Le Canotier, starting at midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and continuing until dawn. Le Canotier, 62. Boulevard Rochechouart, Paris 18. Métro: Anvers. Info. Tel.: 01 46 06 02 86.

Paris' Musée d'Art Moderne - 'Painting After Abstraction, 1955 to 1975' is the current exhibition. The painters Martin Barré, Jean Degottex, Raymond Hains, Simon Hantaï and Jacques Villeglé will be featured. Until Sunday, 19. September. See the end of this column for the address.

Coiffures / Sculptures d'Océanie - features two series of spectacular headgear and hairdos from the South Pacific areas of Nouvelle Bretagne and Irian Jaya, which is western Indonesia. These objects cannot be done justice in photographs, so it is a rare occasion to be able to see them in Paris. At the Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, 293. Avenue Daumesnil, Paris 12. Métro: Porte Dorée. Except Tuesdays, open daily from 10:00 to 17:30 and on weekends until 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 44 74 84 80.

Long-Running Exhibitions, Shows and Events:

L'Age d'Or de la Céramique Chinoise - is a public exhibition of the private collection known as the Meiyintang Collection, and it features 99 selected pieces from the beginning of the Sui dynasty in 581 to the period of the Yuan dynasty, or about 1368.

Musée Cernuschi, 7. Avenue Vélasquez, Paris 8. Métro: Villiers. Open from 10:00 to 17:40 daily except Mondays; until 27. June. Info. Tel.: 01 45 63 50 75.

The Musée de la Poupée - for the centenary of the Société Française de Fabrication de Bébés et Jouets, Paris' doll museum will have an exhibit of the 'Les Plus Belles,' dating from 1899 to 1957. Many of these are from private collections and some will be up for auction on Sunday, 26. September.

In the meantime, 'Les Plus Belles' will be on show at the museum from Friday, 4. June until 12. September. The concurrent special exhibition features rabbits and other long-eared 'objects' - until Sunday, 30. May.

The permanent exhibition of over 300 dolls, dating from 1850, are presented in 36 scenes, along with model period furniture. The boutique features items made especially for the museum, and has doll parts for collectors as well as general doll souvenirs.

Musée de la Poupée, Impasse Berthaud, Paris 3. Métro: Rambuteau. Except Monday, open daily from 11:00 to 18:00. Boutique next door. From the east side of the Rue Beaubourg, turn into the alley, where you will see signposts for the museum. Info. Tel.: 01 42 72 73 11.

A la Rencontre des Dieux Gaulois, un Défi à César - is about an old story of an Italian visitor's problems with local Gods on a visit to Gaul; backed up by history and archeology. At the Musée des Antiquités Nationales, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. At the western terminus of the RER 'A' line. The exhibition continues until Monday, 28. June. Info. Tel.: 01 39 10 13 00.

Les Hommes - in 100 films, at the Forum des Images - continues until 29. June. This is in the Forum des Halles, by the Porte Saint-Eustache entry, Paris 1. Info. Tel.: 01 44 76 62 00.

L'Avare - is more by Molière and this version is directed by Jérôme Savary. Now being performed with a 'dream' Harpagon - played by Jacques Sereys - and continuing until Sunday, 20. June at the Théâtre National de Chaillot. In the Salle Jean Vilar at 20:00, from Tuesday to Saturday with an afternoon performance at 15:00 on Sundays. No show on 15. June.

'Saint- Pétersbourg/Vavin - is about the first lot of 'Russians' artists to invade Paris. From Vasilieff, Chagall, Soutine, Orloff, Zadkine and all the others, here are 40 of their works.

Many came from Saint Petersburg and stayed first at the atelier-village of La Ruche, to form the first 'Ecole de Paris.' Later they took over the area of the Champagne-Première and danced at the Bal Bullier.

A parallel exhibition features the Slovenian artist and photographer, Veno Pilon. He began at the Beaux-Arts in Florence and washed up in Paris in 1926, to settle into the Montparno melting pot with ease - and he recorded it in line, portraits and photographic halftones - the terraces and the artists.

Musée du Montparnasse, 21. Avenue du Maine, Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse. The Russian show continues until 1. August. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 13:00 to 19:00. Entry: 20 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 42 22 91 96.

Les Rues de Paris au XVIIIe Siècle - 'As seen by Louis Sébastien Mercier.' In the years before the Revolution, the writer Louis Sébastien Mercier (1740-1814) ploughed the streets of Paris, threaded his way through the crowds, looked in shop windows, observed the work of artisans, heard the cries of street vendors - 'for 30 years.'

Mercier set it all down in his 'Tableau de Paris,' written between 1781 and 1789, in 12 volumes with 1,050 chapters. He set down whether Parisians were eating cakes, bread or nothing.

Paris' history museum, the Musée Carnavalet, is showing a selection of Mercier's works - reduced to 8,000 pages - along with a whole assembly of paintings, household objects and even pots and bones rescued by the Vieux Paris commission.

Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris - until Sunday, 20. June. At 23. Rue de Sévigné, Paris 3. Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:40. Entry: 35 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 42 72 21 13.

Homage à Jean Rigaud - presents 80 years worth of this marine painter's production in an exhibition lasting until 23. August. If you have kids and want to take your time while doing a tour of this museum, there is a show called L'Ile au Trésor every Wednesday, starting at 14:45. By reservation only: for the 8-12s, 25 francs. Tel.: 01 53 65 69 53. For the museum, open daily except Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 17:50. Musée de la Marine, Palais de Chaillot, 17. Place du Trocadéro, Paris 16. Métro: Trocadéro.

'Le Vagabond du Surréalisme' - is Georges Malkine, considered to be one of the founders of surrealism. He lived in the USA from 1949 until returning to Paris in 1966. The exhibition will feature 70 works, from the periods of 1925-30 and 1960-70. In the '20's, he was the first 'informalist.' Coming to the Pavillon des Arts, Les Halles, Porte Rambuteau, Terrace Lautréamont, Paris 1. Until 29. August. To be open from 11:30 to 18:30, except on Mondays and holidays.

Catacombs Photo Show - Once upon a time, Parisians were buried near where they lived, worked and worshiped. Then came another, later time, when cemeteries took up too much valuable downtown real estate, and the poor bones had to find other lodgings.

Some of the bones are on permanent view at Paris' Catacombs. These are adorned with pithy signs and the photographer, Jean-Yves Le Roy had recorded some of them for this exhibition, which can be viewed before actually viewing the actual bones. The texts are not only in French, but in Latin, Greek, Italian and even Swedish - so take a translator.

"Arrête! C'est ici l'Empire de la mort," is one example that has been photographed at the Catacombs, 1. Place Denfret-Rochereau, Paris 14. Métro: Denfret-Rochereau. Open from Tuesday to Friday, from 14:00 to 18:00; and on weekends from 9:00 to 11:00 and from 14:00 to 16:00. On view until 14. February 2000, no less.

Bon Appétit Mon Roi - For a change, some theatre for little kids; directed by Lucette Grimault. The king loses his appetite and 'Grandma Tartine' goes on a voyage, looking for new taste sensations. On Wednesdays at 15:00 and on Sundays and holidays at 16:30; until 29. June. At the Théâtre Astral in Paris. Info. Tel.: 01 42 41 88 33.

Musée d'Art Américain - is featuring 'Ville et Campagne, les Artistes Américains, 1870-1920.' With Mary Cassatt, Homer Winslow, Robert Henri and Whistler, as well as Frederick Childe-Hassem, Charles Curran and John Singer Sargent. The exhibition's pieces are from the collection of the Terra Foundation for the Arts. The museum is located in Giverny, near Claude Monet's house and gardens, and can be reached by road via the A13 autoroute. Or take an SNCF train from Saint-Lazare to Vernon. The museum is open from 10:00 to 18:00, except on Mondays. Info. Tel.: 02 32 51 94 65.

La Poste - is really good about sending its latest 'collector's' catalogue of goodies, but I am really bad at keeping up with it. I have already mentioned the 'art treasures' series, and this is featured again.

A reminder about their 'Chefs-d'oeuvre de l'Art:' thisposter: vive(z) l'opera block features the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Delacroix' La Liberté, on a sheet with the Chatte de Bastet. The face price of 50 francs also includes a pass to the Philexfrance '99 exhibition.

'La Poste's' services for philatelists are accessible by the Web to interested collectors. La Poste offers information about its subscription service in English, German, Spanish and Italian. La Poste also accepts payments made plastic too.

Jean Racine 1699-1999 - gets a big remembrance in the Yvelines department this spring, with theatre, conferences, tours, an exhibition and concerts being staged. For details of the full program, try the Web site for the Ile-de-France, which is not the same as the one mentioned in earlier issues.

In addition to the city of Paris, the Ile-de-France is composed of seven other departments. Yvelines gets mentioned a lot because of Versailles and Saint Germain-en-Laye, but the biggest department, Seine-et-Marne gets mentioned only seldom, even though it is the location of Europe's local Disneyland.

Historic Writer's Route - is a tour of 12 famous French writer's homes, located west of Paris on both sides of the Seine valley, as far as Normandy. Even if you don't actually visit the houses, this would be a good trip and would probably take a couple of days of wandering around. There may be more information about it on the Web site of the Ile-de-France.

Rickshaw Days - are with us again; now with the name of Vélo Taxi. The locomotion for these are supposed to speak your language and to pedal for no less than three hours, before taking the métro home. The Vélo Taxis are stationed in the Place de la Concorde - in front of the Crillon? - no, by the Tuileries - and follow a fixed one-hour route in the bike lanes, around the centre of Paris, on both banks on the Seine. The fare is 90 francs for one and 130 francs for two, which is a heck of a deal if your rollers are busted.

If your guide book is of some age, you don't want to be surprised to find that the The Pompidou Centre - AKA Beaubourg:- is mostly closed but the part that's open, is open from Monday to Friday, from 11:00 to 18:00 and on Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00. Info Tel.: 01 53 01 86 53 and Fax.: 33 1 42 72 97 47.

Paris' Musée d'Art Moderne will often be the scene of exhibitions staged by Beaubourg - as well as other museums around Paris and France - so a visit to Beaubourg's Teepee call tell where the modern art centre's activities are currently taking place. For me, it is hard enough to get the in-house events calendar - now it's on-the-road, I've given up.

Musée d'Art Moderne, 11; Avenue du Président-Wilson, Paris 16. Métro: Iéna or Place de l'Alma. Open Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:30 and on weekends from 10:00 to 18:45. Info. Tel.: 01 53 67 40 00.

Ultra-Rare Event: an Eclipse - Your presence is requested for the scheduled eclipse of the sun by the moon, on Wednesday, 11. August - between 12:16 and 12:32 - which will be total in Rouen and Reims and 4,998 other towns and villages.

Since the following eclipse will not be until 2081, to find out more about this one or to get prepared to view it, I advise checking out the following Web sites: the Université de Strasbourg, the Institut de Mécanique Céleste and one known simply as the 'Eclipse Solaire '99.'

Some of the above items have been carried over for many issues of this magazine. If you require more information - such as addresses or phone numbers - check 'All Past Issues' either from here, or from the top or bottom of any page in the magazine.

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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