This Column Has a Future

photo: xmas window, samaritaine

Today and tomorrow, shoppers will blot out this
Samaritaine window.

Paris 2000 and 2000 In France

Paris:- Saturday, 18. December 1999:- Another one of my brilliant innovations has run up against a wall, which means I've run out of time.

This column was split off from the Christmas 1999 items because they will die next week, except for possible last minute New Years Eve events. This '2000' column will continue.

Without warning, the city put its program magazine for residents 'on thephoto: from big wheel, view of champs elysees stands' in all 21 of Paris' city halls last Wednesday, right on schedule. Oh surprise! It also contains additional details about 'Paris 2000' as well as some completely new items.

View of the Champs-Elysées from the top of Paris 'big' wheel.

So, today's column for 'Paris 2000' is largely a repeat of last week's. Even though I intend to do next to nothing in the coming week, there may be some of these new items here in the next issue.

Navigation Note:-If you pop back and forth within the three 'Scene' pages, your browser's 'back' or 'return' button will not return you to the issue's 'contents' page. Use 'This Issue' in Metropole's navigation line at the top and bottom of these pages.



'Aux Portes de l'An 2000' - in Paris this event will take place on the Champs-Elysées, starting at 00:00 on Saturday, 1. January and will feature 20 real or imaginary ferris wheels with actors, musicians, circus performers - putting on some sort of dazzling show.

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. Starting at the Porte Saint-Denis at 14:00, the parade follows the 'Grands Boulevards' to the Place de la Madeleine.

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.

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.'

Paris is in France of course, so there is also a '2000 In France' national program of events and celebrations too. See 'tree planting' below.

The 'Méridienne Verte' Begins - On 25. November the 'green meridian' tree planting began. I think this idea to plant 3000 trees along a north-south line all the through France, and then have a picnic on it on Bastille Day, 14. July, is a great one.

This simple idea is magical - because it is simple. We will dance throughposter: jardins d'hiver, ville de paris the night of the eve of Bastille Day, and then we will sit down to a festive picnic to wind down. The 'Méridienne Verte' stretches from Dunkerque to Barcelona. This last city, is not in France, but is in Catalonia. Somehow it is included in '2000 In France.'

The meridian passes through 48 cities, towns and villages in the Ile-de-France. Six Paris arrondissements are on the line, but tree plantings will only be in three of them - the 6th, 14th and 18th - on account of pavement in the others.

The tree plantings will continue until 21. March 2000, which should mean that their leaves will be green for the picnic to be held on the line on Bastille Day, 14. July.

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 flightposter: s'il neige 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.

Paris' Big Wheel - in the Place de la Concorde is now in operation. For an eight-minute ride, going up 60 metres, the fare for adults is 30 francs. See this week's 'Café' column for first impressions.

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.

The Giant Sundial at the Place de la Concorde is in place, but it is so big that it can only be seen from Paris' 'Giant Wheel' when it is operation, after Wednesday, 1. December.

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, at 32, Quai de la Loire, Paris 19.

Robert Hossein presents a huge spectacle, with giant screen and 200 actors, entitled "The Manbrochure: musee de jouets, poissy Who Said 'No'&quot: - 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 began at the end of October 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-opened, with the opera 'Outis' created by Luciano Berio for La Scala. The 'Nutcracker Suite' - 'Caisse-Noisette' - follows in December.

'Paris en l'An 2100' - is the actual exhibition in the reception hall in the Hôtel de Ville. Imagined by the students of applied arts schools in Paris, this displays a future Paris of the imagination. Until Saturday, 29. January, at 29. Rue de Rivoli, Paris 4.


On Thursday, 18. November, the Maison Européenne de la Photo opened an exhibition featuring Bernard Plossu, Hocine and Bernard Lamarche-Vadel.

The International World Tour of Sacred Songs and Music 15. November at Saint-Germain-des-Prés; - the 'Festival d'Art Sacre 99' - presents 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, turned on many, many more lights on Tuesday, 23. November - on all of its 36 bridges, and includes a new illumination scheme for the Hôtel de Ville.

Les Metiers d'Art En l'An 2000 began on Friday, 17. December. Thousands of objects from the world of hand-work - jewelry, crystal, leatherwork, couture, binding - go on display at the Palais des Congrés at Porte Maillot - until Thursday, 6. January.

From Monday, 20. December to Wednesday, 5. January 2000, Paris does its traditional Christmas season. Some of its other highlights:

'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.

'Aux 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.

A 'Press City' will be set up in February 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 will proceed the eventual opening of a 'Press Museum' which the city plans to open.

'Carpe Diem 2000' - will feature 365 photos of the Tour Eiffel, taken by Jean Paul Lubliner since January 1999.

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.

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.

'The Wings of Light' is a 'symphonic' musical comedy by Christian Schittenhelm, which traces the odysee of Leonardo de Vinci. At the Casino de Paris, from 1. July to 30. August. World tour begins in 2001.

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.

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, on 23. July.

In September:- World Boxing Championship fight at the Tour Eiffel.

Beginning in November 2000:- the Ville de Paris 'Mois de la Photo' program will feature 'Paris viewed through the eyes of foreign photographers,' which will be staged in foreignposter: dvorak 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.

'Dvorak' has expired, but I like its poster anyway.

These are only the barest details of some of the events of the 'Paris 2000' and the national 'Mission 2000' programs. 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.

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