Scene's 'New Look,' Part II

photo: printemps, santa

It looks like Santa is equally fascinated.

Is 'Under Reconstruction'

Paris:- Saturday, 20. November 1999:- I don't know who it was who said, "Don't eat anything bigger than your head." Even if I knew, it still has not stopped me from trying.

This page remains virtually non-updated from last week, except for date-expired deletions. Below, you will see the inclusion of 'Paris Christmas 99' and '2000 In Paris.' Neither of these are updated this week, but this situation will change if next week contains nine days.


8th Festival de Théâtre Hispanique - is mainly Spanish, but also features artists from Argentina and Cuba, who fill this location with theatre, dance and a Flamenco concert as a final event on 28. November. Vingtième Théâtre,7. Rue des Plâtrières, Paris 20. Métro: Ménilmontant. Info. Tel.: 01 43 66 01 13.

Le Bon Roi Dagobert? - is staged by the Campagnie Patchwork; as a musical fantasy for kids from four to nine. As odd as it may sound, Dagobert was a French king and when he started out, he was not 'bon' at all. At the Théâtre de l'Espace Jemmapes, 116. Quai de Jemmapes, Paris 10. Métro: Gare de l'Est or Jacques Bonsergent. Continues until Sunday, 28. November. On Wednesdays and school holidays at 14:30; on Saturdays and Sundays at 15:00. Tickets: fnac, Carrefour, France Billet, or Info. Tel.: 01 48 03 11 99.

L'Amant Anglaise - by Marguerite Duras, is directed by Patrice Kerbrat and features Suzanne Plon, Jean-Paum Roussillon and Hubert Godon. There is a crime, an innocent, a guilty party and an incomprehensible act. Which is which? At the Théâtre de l'Oeuvre, 55. Rue de Clichy, Paris 9. Tuesday to Friday at 21:00, Saturday at 19:00 and 21:30 and Sunday at 15:30. Info. Tel.: 01 44 53 88 88.

Eve Anderson - is a play written by Michelle Robert Reich and directed by Hugo Ezan, featuring Irma Schmitt et Estelle Grynszpan who play opposing roles at the end of WWII. The theatre is unusual because it only has 30 seats; reservations are suggested. Fridays andposter: cirque pekin, villette Saturdays at 20:30 and 17:00 on Sundays. Until Sunday, 28. November, at the Théâtre Pandora, 30. Rue Keller, Paris 11. Métro: Bastille. Info. Tel.: 01 42 74 05 93.

Les Contes Drolatiques - is a piece by current superstar, Balzac, and this is one of his sexy works not taught in schools. Playing daily except Sundays, at 21:30 in the Théâtre Rouge, presented by the Théâtre Lucernaire, 53. Rue de Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Paris 6. Info. Tel.: 01 45 44 57 34.

Les Bâtisseurs d'Empire - or 'Le Schmüz' is by Boris Vian, who was a postwar man of all arts. This particular play is directed by Daniél Lacroix and it can be seen until Sunday, 28. November at the Théâtre de l'Epouvantail, 6. Rue de la Folie Méricourt, Paris 11. Métro: Saint-Amboise. Info. Tel.: 01 43 55 14 80.

Théâtre Châtelet Reopens - completely renovated, this large theatre belonging to the city has programmed 210 performances and has 276,297 seats for sale for the 1999-2000 season. Two pieces by Gluck start off Châtelet's new life, with music by John Eliot Gardiner and direction by Robert Wilson. Info. Tel.: 01 40 28 28 00.

Palais des Congrés - The newly reopened Palais des Congrés is hosting a super-show known locally as 'De Gaulle, Celui Qui a Dit Non' in a production that lasts two hours and fifteen minutes. This is all I know about it, except that Robert Hossein has more of these jumbo shows planned.

From Tuesday to Saturday, at 20:30; also at 15:30 on Saturdays and Sundays. At the Palais des Congrés, Paris 16. Métro: Porte Maillot. Info. Tel.: 01 40 68 00 35.

Iles des Danses - is one of these jumbo festivals for which the Ile-de-France is famous. It will feature 104 performances of dance, in 43 cities, towns and villages throughout the region surrounding Paris; until Sunday, 19. December. Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 06 58.

L'Art d'Etre Spectateur - is a multi-season program, continuing until next June, put on by the Théâtre de la Cité Internationale. This is at 21. Boulevard Jourdan, Paris 14. Near RER 'B' station Cité Universitaire. Info. Tel.: 01 43 13 50 50.

La Fausse Suivante - appears to be a piece of theatre which is currently playing at the place where pieces of money are made. It is by Marivaux, and directed by Michel Verschaere. Thursdays and Saturdays at 20:30; and Fridays and Sundays at 18:00. Until Sunday, 19. December. At the Théâtre à la Monnaie de Paris, 11. Quai de Conti, Paris 6. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Odéon. Info. Tel/Fax.: 01 39 55 10 62.

Les Trois Mousquetaires - based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, is playing at the Théâtre du Rond-Point and will stay there until Friday, 31. December. A piece by Marguerite Duras named 'Savannah Bay' is at the same theatre and it continues until Sunday, 19. December. Théâtre du Rond-Point, 2 bis, Avenue Franklin-Roosevelt, Paris 8. Métro: Franklin-Roosevelt. Info. Tel.: 01 44 95 98 10.

Les Nouvelles Brèves de Comptoir - are witty or pithy sayings collected in cafés, bars and bistros by Jean-Marie Gourio. This new collection covers the period from 1994 until now; and they have been gathered together by director Jean-Michel Ribes for presentation in the Théâtre Fontaine, 10. Rue Fontaine, Paris 9. Info. Tel.: 01 48 74 74 40.

'Le Tartuffe' - is by Molière, and is the only French play I've seen 2/3rds of. This representation is directed by Jean-Marie Villégier and it is playing in the Grand Salle of thebrochure: cinematheque francaise Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet, which is in the square of the same name, Paris 9. Métro: Harve Caumartin. Tuesday at 19:00, Wednesday to Saturday at 20:00 and Sunday at 16:00. Info. Tel.: 01 53 05 19 19.

Salut les Artistes! - announces the Chaillot 1999/2000 season - its 80th. Details from this program may follow in this column, but if you want to be up-to-date right now give the Web site of the Théâtre National de Chaillot a hit or call the Info. Tel.: 01 53 65 30 00.

The Cinémathèque Française - has a non-stop program of rare film projections. The film museum operates in two locations: at the Palais de Chaillot, garden entry; and at its location on the Grands Boulevards at 42. Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle, Paris 10. Métros: Trocadéro for Chaillot and Bonne Nouvelle for Grands Boulevards. Auto-Info Tel.: 01 56 26 01 01.

Rent-a-Bike - details about the RATP's 'Roue Libre' and other bike rental possibilities are included in a previous 'Scene' column.

Cyberposte - La Poste has 1000 post offices throughout France outfitted with Apple's iMacs and they are connected to the Internet, possibly making La Poste the world biggest cybercafé without any café. All you do is buy a rechargeable Cyberposte card for 50 francs, whichposter: pinocchio is good for one hour of network time. A recharge of the card only costs 30 francs and it can be recharged as often as you want. You can also get a personal email account.

Tickets: Théâtre On Line - presents the majority of theatre performances in Paris and the Ile-de-France, with news of new shows, criticism, and has a searchable database. On top of this, you can buy tickets for performances, and if you become a member of Théâtre On Line's 'club,' you may be offered special prices.

Tickets: www.fnac.com - France's giant media and cultural retailer also has its 'ticket' Web site, which has just been presented with a new face-lift, which is called a 're-loook.' However this is all it is - when I checked it, construction still seemed to be going on, and I haven't thought to check it with another browser.

fnac's site will also presents a vast array - 6000 shows - of performances, events, and amusement park entries, in Paris, the Ile-de-France, and throughout France. Without having a 'fnac member's card' you can still access the service; but without getting all of the discounts. Maybe memberships are also sold online too. fnac is present in many locations in Paris, throughout France and also in Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Taiwan.


Paris Christmas 1999 Contents

For this week, the following items remain unchanged from the last time they appeared in Metropole, in issue 4.45, on Monday, 8. November. Subheadings with no contents this week should have some next week.

Handily located at the eastern end of the 'RER' line B4, Disneyland Paris is proposing a 'nuit de folie' lasting until 04:00 on Saturday, 1. January 2000. Places are still free at only 999 francs. Possibly included: costumes. Info. Tel.: 01 60 30 60 30.

According to a recent edition of Le Parisien, a special New Years' Eve fête, catered by the celebrated Paris restaurant Lucas-Carton, for the occasion at Chantilly, still has places free. Their proposed 'bon bouffe' - 'The Dinner of the Millennium!' - with all the trimmings, costs 20,000 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 22 00; from abroad, fax.: 33 1 42 65 06 23.

Shopping information will fill this space. Until then, it is for rent.

Places to celebrate New Years will come here. This space is so valuable it is not for rent. See poster below.

France's Minister of Transport, Jean-Claude Gayssot has announced a giant freebie for public transport users. From 17:00 on Friday, 31. December until 12:00 Saturday, 1. January 2000, all public transport in the Ile-de-France will be free of charge.

For the same time period, the SNCF says it will run at least one suburban train per hour on everyposter: reveillon line throughout the night. Within Paris, RER trains will operate until 01:00, but suburban RER 'A' and 'B' trains will make round trips between the suburbs and Nation, Auber and Denfert-Rochereau until 05:00.

In Paris, the métro will operate until 01:15 with an increased number of trains on the lines 1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 12 and 13. The RATP's regular city buses will operate until 19:00 so they can start up at their usual 07:00 time on Saturday, 1. January.

The night buses - the 'Noctambus' - will have their frequency doubled, which I think will mean a bus every 30 minutes. These buses begin service when the métro stops for the night. They all start at Châtelet and run out to Paris' various exit 'portes' - but none operate towards the south-east or the south-west according to my old bus map.


Paris 2000 Events

On paper, many of the planned events, exhibitions and activities seem to be modest or low-key. An example was last summer's eclipse, which had a large popular turnout for its brief duration.

Though not 'planned' as a '2000 in Paris' event, the sheer enthusiasm displayed for its 12-minutebrochure: paris 2000 celestial light show demonstrated that the spectators themselves were a great contribution to the 'spectacle,' especially since it was a natural one and a genuine 'last of the millennium' event.

Other events, which have been on the annual calendar for years, will get a 'Paris 2000' logo this year; plus an extra effort will be put into their staging - so everything that happens in Paris will have at least a bit of extra oomph to it.

Paris is officially characterizing its participation as the 'choix du cúur' rather than 'mega-francs' and has modestly named it 'Paris 2000.' This will be a 16-month 'Fête de Millennium.'

It is of no consequence whatsoever that there is also a Parisian municipal election campaign more or less underway, so even opposition representatives will be voting funds for the party - with no overt intention of trying to influence voters, of course.

Paris is in France of course, so there is also a '2000 In France' national program of events and celebrations too. When these events are in addition to what Paris has planned, they are added below.

Once every millennium about this time, people start making plans to visit Paris, to be here when the tired old 1900's roll over into the brandnew 2000's. So that you will be able to get the 'program' in one piece, it has been removed from the 'Scene' column and given this page.

It seems to me that a lot of current events are being plastered with '2000' labels, as if sticking this one-time new brand-name on everything is supposed to be an indication of 'unique' or 'superior' something.

Generally, I will try to put longer-range 'coming events' on this page. As the event becomes immediate, it will be duplicated on the weekly 'Scene' page. Or vice-versa; I don't know anymore.

The Balloon Goes Up - Pilâtre de Rozier made the world's - and man's - first balloon flight in Paris on Friday, 21. November 1783 in a balloon invented by the Montgolfier brothers. In the summer of 1878, a captive balloon was installed in the Tuileries and 35,000 passengers tried it out.

The world's largest tethered balloon, at the Parc André Citroën, took its first flight on Thursday, 1. July at 18:00, and now offers rides to the public. It can take 30 passengers up to its operating ceiling of 150 metres - but only weather permitting. Info. Tel.: 01 44 26 20 00.

The World Wheel - La Roue Monde - you have been invited to send an email message to the virtual 'World Wheel' about your thoughts for the future. My thought for right now is to mention that the Web site has a huge 'welcome' page, so be prepared to wait a bit for it to load.

The artist, Jean-Luc Vilmouth, is collecting the messages and these will be placed on 20 real ferris wheels installed along the Champs-Elysées - along with 24 other works of art - for display on New Years Eve, Friday, 31. December.

Yet to Appear - Originally announced for erection last September, a really big ferris wheel - 60 metres high - has been programmed for the Place de la Concorde. Expected to have 42 cabins, these will be heated in winter and air-conditioned in summer. This will make for a fine lookout over Paris.

  • The giant sundial at the Place de la Concorde is in place, but it is so big that it can only be seen from the 'The World Wheel - La Roue Monde,' when it is finally in place.
  • Spaceship II Thousand - Le Vaisseau II Mille - is under construction by students from seven technological high schools in the Paris region. This nine-ton thingee will be complete at the year's end and be viewable at La Villette.
  • Robert Hossein presents a huge spectacle, with giant screen and 200 actors, entitled "The Man Who Said 'No'" - about Charles de Gaulle and his wartime followers. More details for this and the following items in the 'Scene' column.
  • The first exhibition of 'Fauvism' in 30 years begins at mid-month at Paris' Musée d'Art Moderne. Over 200 works by Matisse, Derain, Marquet, Manguin, Puy, Camoin, Vlaminck, Van Dongen, Braque, Friesz and Dufy.
  • The theatre at Châtelet re-opens, with the opera 'Outis' created by Luciano Berio for La Scala. The 'Nutcracker Suite' - 'Caisse-Noisette' - follows in December.
  • 'Les Enfants du Monde' - I have no details about this; not here, not in 'Scene'
November
  • On Thursday, 18. November, the Maison Européenne de la Photo opened an exhibition featuring Bernard Plossu, Hocine and Bernard Lamarche-Vadel.
  • Monday, 15. November at Saint-Germain-des-Prés; the International World Tour of Sacred Songs and Music - the 'Festival d'Art Sacre 99' - presents the first of many concerts in historic Paris locations. This huge event apparently ends on Monday, 20. December, but seems to continue until 24. January 2000. Info. Tel.: 01 44 70 64 10.
  • Paris, known as the 'City of Light' due it its early adoption of electric lighting, turns on many, many more lights in November - on all of its 36 bridges, and includes a new illumination scheme for the Hôtel de Ville.
  • From Monday, 20. December to Wednesday, 5. January 2000, Paris does its traditional Christmas season - see past Christmas issues of Metropole - with the addition of aposter: temps d'un nuit new children's village at Trocadéro, to be packed with new snow daily, for a bit of sking in the city.
  • Across the way, the Tour Eiffel will be given a new 'cloak' of lights, which is supposed to make it look 'dignified and sober' as well as plain beautiful.
  • 'Capitales' is a giant book 15 metres high, to be set up at Palais-Royal. On hand will be hundreds of authors and artists from all over the world. Friday, 31. December and Saturday, 1. January.
  • 'Countdown 2000' calls for a gathering of mankind at the base of the Tour Eiffel to help the countdown time display reach zero. An extra 20,000 flash-lights have been added to the tower; set to blitz each hour for a year until 1. January 2001. This sounds more 'flashy' than dignified or sober.
  • 'Portes de l'An 2000' - 36,000 villages, towns and cities in France are set to have symbolic or real 'doors to the future,' around which the festivities of New Year's Eve are to be concentrated.
  • New Year's Day - Saturday, 1. January 2000:- 'The Great Parade of Paris.' Enjoyed by Montmartre for the past six years, this edition will parade through all Paris - with all of the world's marching bands invited.
  • A 'Press City' will be set up to celebrate Renaudot's invention in 1631 of the famous 'Gazette,' which was a first for France and the world. Newspapers will show how they are made and there will be a 'Press Heritage' section - based on the Christian Bailly collections, containing over a million items. This series of events is to lead up to the eventual opening of a 'Press Museum' which the city plans to open.
  • Spring:- Paris considers the 'discovery' of the Americas as having been the most significant event of the last millennium, so the Americas will be celebrated in various ways - a 'celebration' which actually started in 1999. Some 'American' events are in this week's 'Scene' column.
  • Sunday, 9. April:- the Paris Marathon
  • May or June:- 'Land Art on the banks of the Seine' - will see the installation of plant of 'photo constructions' by 10 artists, in parks or gardens near the river
  • Monday, 15. May:- Seiji Ozawa directs the Symphonic Orchestra of Boston and the National Orchestra of France at the Champ-de-Mars
  • In June:- Johnny Hallyday gives another really huge - and free! - concert, on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées - this one in memory of the spontaneous popular fête produced by France's World Cup win in 1998.
  • Possibly In July:- Guitar Heros - 30 of the world's 'greatest guitar players' are to be featured performers at Bagatelle over three days - with the gate receipts earmarked for international charities for children
  • The Meridian Verte - imagined by the architect Paul Chemetov, the idea is for volunteers to plant trees along the old Paris 'Meridian,' from Dunkirk to Barcelona. Besides the trees, the best part of the idea is to have a picnic on the meridian on Friday, 14. July 2000 - which may be visible from outer space, if you happen to be out there.
  • Friday, 14. July:- Robert Hossein stages the entire history of Paris and France - but without the original cast; around the Seine and from Etoile to Concorde in Paris
  • Friday, 14. July:- Grands Bals to be held at Concorde, the esplanade at Invalides and on the Champ-de-Mars. Plus fireworks and a special rocket-launching.
  • In July:- The Tour de France; with the final day to be run entirely in Paris
  • In September:- World Boxing Championship fight at the Tour Eiffel.
  • Beginning in November:- the Ville de Paris 'Mois de la Photo' program will feature 'Paris viewed through the eyes of foreign photographers,' which will be staged in foreign cultural centres. The Musée Carnavalet-Histoire de Paris will present a photo exhibition of Paris in 3-D. A 'Paris Photo Fair' will be held in the Carousel du Louvre, with selections from French and foreign galleries. Finally, 30 of the 'world's best' and 200 of the 'world's less-than-best' photographers will spend two days trying to figure out the 'future of photography' in the coming millennium.

These are only the barest details of some of the events of the 'Paris 2000' and the national 'Mission 2000' programs. Watch this space for additional information. Although seemingly modest, the 'Paris Lights Up' alone will be worth seeing.

As 'Paris 2000' points out, Saint-Just said, "Happiness is a new idea in Europe." I'm not sure that he meant, 'It's Party Time, Euro-Folks!' but this is what Paris and France have in mind for the beginning of our 3rd millennium. Book early.

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini