Come One, Come All

photo annie salmona: champs elysees, 28 nov 99

This is what the Champs-Elysées looked like, before it fell apart. Photo: Annie Salmona©1999

Paris Mayor's Invitation

Paris:- Saturday, 18. December 1999:- A few days from now, around midnight on Friday, 31. December, Paris' Mayor Jean Tiberi wants everybody to be close enough to the Tour Eiffel to see it 'set the sky aflame' on the stroke of midnight.

Then he wants all of you to hotfoot it over to the Champs-Elysées to see the opening of the 'Doors of the Year 2000,' in front of a giant spectacle 'celebrating the wheel of infinite time.'

This is a personal invitation from the mayor of Paris to all Parisians, and since visitors will help to foot the bill for this, you are invited to share it with them and each other.

In this way you will be able to cross the bridge between the past and the future, the bridgecover: nova mag, special hors series between reflection and fête, and the three-way bridge between variety, balance and the riches of humanity that Paris embodies.

Taking up this generous invitation from the mayor is something for you to decide. I will do it in order to make a report about it.

I hope that there will not be the near-freezing rain like there is tonight. I hope that we, in all our millions, will find the way from the Champ de Mars, cross the real Pont d'Iéna, and go up the Avenue George V to the Champs-Elysées.

Along the way, I hope all the cafés remember to stay open to offer refreshments and that the army of security services are polite enough to keep us safely on the right path. I hope that when we all get to the Champs-Elysées, we can all get on it - that there is room enough left for the pilgrims from the Champ de Mars.

If all of this turns out to be the case, I will see you there.

Fooey - This is Metropole's last pre-Christmas 'sort of' program for Paris this year. It does not contain everything. Last Wednesday, the city surprised me by bringing out their monthly program magazine on time - and added a section for '2000 In Paris' with some new items.

'Nova' magazine also put out a 200-page special edition. If you can get your hands on this I recommend it even if I haven't had a chance to look at it closely. Expect to see Metropole continue with '2000 In Paris,' which gets its own page, starting this week.

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.

In addition to the usual skating rink and two merry-go-rounds in front of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris will also have a 'mountain' village at Trocadéro this year. It will continue until Monday, 10. January. As usual, other traditional merry-go-rounds will be distributed around Paris, in 17 of its arrondissements.

'Snow' in cubes is imported from Savoie. Pine trees have been planted to accompany 25 wooden 'mountain' chalets; there will be an ice-skating rink and a 'Marché de Noël' featuring the traditional Christmas fare.

The children's village will be animated by various commercial concerns - for discrete 'show' and 'sell' - plus there will be a 300-seat restaurant. In the ski area there is limited downhill, cross-country - at Trocadéro! - snowboard, dogsled andposter: momo koyo bobsled areas; all of which together seemed to be the size of an average five-franc piece. Part of the receipts will be going to UNICEF so I shouldn't sneer.

Flamme de l'Espérance is an action planned by the Catholic church in Paris, which consists of buying at 30 cm high candle for 25 francs. This is to be lit on Wednesday, 22. December and it should be able to remain lit for 12 days, until Saturday, 2. January 2000. These red and green candles will be available at all Paris churches on 28. November. There are 150,000 of them so there should be enough to go around.

La Crèche de l'Espérance is Notre Dame's annual creche and this year it features nine pa intings inspired by 12th century originals from the roman church at Zillis in Switzerland. Also new this year, this creche is inside the cathedral. Entry - for a donation - from Monday to Saturday; from 10:00 to 17:30; on Sundays from 14:00 to 17:30; and on Wednesday nights from 19:00 to 22:00.

Midnight Mass at Notre Dame on Friday, 24. December, is by invitation only - but will be broadcast live by France 2 TV from 23:00 to 01:00.

La Madeleine - has two shows this year; one starts on Saturday, 4. December and involves 20 illustrations projected onto the facade facing the Rue Royale. This lasts daily from 17:00 to midnight, until Monday, 3. January. There will be another giant painting on the opposite end too.

Eglise Saint-Eustache - opens at 22:00 with vigil at 22:30; followed by the mass beginning at 23:15. On Friday, 24. December. Paris 1.

Eglise Saint-Séverin - opens at 20:30 with vigil at 21:50; followed by the grand mass beginning at 22:00 and Gregorian Chants at 24:00. On Friday, 24. December. Paris 8.

Chapelle Saint-Louis de l'Ecole Militaire - opens with organ music at 19:45, then the vigil at 20:00 with the mass at 20:30. Paris 7.

American Cathedral - On Christmas Eve, Friday, 24. December, carol singing at 22:30, followed by the Festival Eucharist at 23:00 - whichposter: american cathedral repeats on Saturday, Christmas Day at 11:00. There will also be a 'Worship for the Millennium' service on Saturday, 1. January, at 12:00. The American Cathedral, 23. Avenue George V, Paris 8. Métro: George V or Alma-Marceau. Info. Tel.: 01 53 23 84 00.

The interior of the American Cathedral.

The other 'show,' on Sundays during December, consists of free concerts usually beginning at 16:00, performed on the Madeleine's very large and famous organ. I believe that there is also a Christmas Eve Midnight Mass on Friday, 24. December - which is such a tradition that there is no mention of it. For New Year's Eve, Handel's Messiah will be performed by a cast of 150. Tickets for this: at fnac, Virgin and agencies.

Les Crèches du Bout du Monde - is merely 200 creches from Brazil, for big and small, that feature items made by children and artisans from the 'end of the world.' Free entry. Open Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 to 19:00; until Saturday, 8. January. Closed Christmas Day and New Years Day. At the Espace Vivendi, 6-8. Rue de Tilsit, Paris 8. Métro: Etoile.

Alsatian Marché de Noël - is at the Gare de l"Est, which is as close to Alsace you can get and still be in Paris. In the départ area there are 30 Alsatian chalets full of Alsatian versions of the traditional 'marché de Noël' fare, and this includes typical Christmas decorations. Until next Saturday, 18. December; open from 9:00 to 20:00 daily.

Other Marchés de Noël

Marché de Noël - in the place in front of the Gare Montparnasse. Until Friday, 24. December. From 10:00 to 19:00.

Foire Saint-Nicolas - is in the Place de la Bourse, Paris 2. Until Friday, 24. December. From 10:00 to 19:30.

Fêtes Outside Paris - can be found in the vast Ile-de-France as I mentioned in last week's 'Scene.' I am overloaded with Paris items, so it will be a help to me if you try the Web site yourself.


Opéra Palais Garnier - Ballet: Balachine-Kelemenis-Montalvo; from 20 to 24 and 26 to 30. December at 19:30. Info. Tel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

Opéra, Bastille - Ballet: Nurevev's Sleeping Beauty, on 22, 27, 29 and 30. December at 19:30; on the 24. December at 14:30 and 26. December at 15:00. Alsophoto: opera from 4. to 21. January. Puccini's 'La Bohême' is playing on 2, 9 and 11 December at 19:30, and at 15:00 on 5. December. Verdi's 'Falstaff' is on the 10, 13, 15, 18, 20, 23, 25, 28 and 31. December, at 19:30. Info. Tel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

Théâtre du Châtelet - 'The Nutcracker Suite' choreographed by Maurice Béjart, features Yvette Horner and a big cast. From 10. to 31. December at 20:00 and the 12, 19, and 26. December at 17:00. Info. Tel.: 01 40 28 28 40.

Disneyland Paris - is handily located at the eastern end of the 'RER' line B4. It 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.

Nouveau Cirque de Pékin - features a two hour show with 45 artistes, animals, all from Canton. As seen on TV-news, this is a very spectacular show. Until Sunday, 9. January, in the Zavatta tent at the Pelouse de Reuilly in the Bois de Vincennes. Métro: Porte Dorée and Porte de Charenton. Prices from 85 francs for kids up to 225 francs for adults. Info. Tel.: 08 25 03 90 40.

Salto - for circus history, there is a special show at the Cirque d'Hiver, which pays tribute to the Bouglione circus - of which the latest version is also playing out at Issy-les-Moulineaux. For the history, see 'Salto' at the Cirque d'Hiver, 110. Rue Amelot, Paris 11; Info. Tel.: 01 53 94 59 10. Until 30. January. Out at Issy, the address is 24. Boulevard Galiéni. Until 9. January. Info. Tel.: 06 80 11 11 98; plus tickets at agencies.

Alexis Gruss - after 25 years of the 'Cirque à l'Ancienne' which follows a tradition established in 1770, to have lots of horses. Until 20. February, atbrochure: cirque arlette gruss the Allée de la Reine Marguerite in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16. Info. Tel.: 01 45 01 71 26.

Arlette Gruss - seems to do everything except horses, with tigers that menace and clowns, trapeze acts, more clowns, and so on. Until 31. December, with a circus 'of the future' festival from 28. to 31. December. On the Pelouse de Reuilly, Paris 12. Info. Tel.: 01 45 44 30 82.

Pinder - Jean Richard - a circus with 140 years of tradition, that everyone had seen rolling around Europe non-stop - for a long time; takes its usual holiday place in Paris. Until 3. January, at the Pelouse de Reuilly in the area of the Foire du Trône, Pais 12. Info. Tel.: 01 43 44 09 09.

Pinocchio - based on Goldini's famous piece about fibbing and long noses; directed by Yves Le Guillochet. For enfants from three to 10. On Wednesday, Saturday and school holidays. Until 12. April. Resa. Tel.: 01 42 54 77 77. Playing at the same theatre, 'Le Rossignol de l'Empereur de Chine' by Hans Christian Andersen; for kids three to nine. Resa. Tel.: 01 42 54 58 14. Théâtre Pépinière Opéra, 7. Rue Louis-Le-Grand, Paris 2. Métro: Opéra.

'Les Fabulettes' - Metropole had this last year and here it is again: a musical for kids, with Jacques Haurogné singing the 'Fabulettes.' Until Sunday, 19. December, on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 14:30. From Monday, 20. December until Friday, 31. December, daily at 14:30. At the auditorium Saint-Germain, 7. Rue Féliben, Paris 5. Métro: Mabillon. Info. Tel.: 01 44 07 37 43. Tickets also at agencies.

Les Noces de Jeannette - is also a repeater from last year; an opera dated 1853 - 'vraiment comique! - by Victor Massé, performed by the Nadia Baji company. On Saturdays, 25. December, 4. and 25. January; at 19:00. On Sundays, 12. and 26. December and 9. January; at 16:00. Théâtre Maurice Ravel, 6. Avenue Maurice Ravel, Paris 12. Métro: Porte de Vincennes or Porte Dorée. Info. Tel.: 01 44 75 60 14.

The Musée de la Poupée - this small museum is showing Bécassine, Bluette and the dolls that were featured in the 'Semaine de Suzette,' a weekly magazine for girls that was published from 1905 to 1960. Musée de la Poupée, Impasse Berthaud, Paris 3. In a dead-end opposite the métro exit at Rambuteau. Open daily except Mondays, from 10:00 to 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 42 72 73 11.

The Mystery of the Enchanted Garbage Can - is a new show, described as 'clownesque.' It takes classical fables, adds a giant rabbit and the 'green line' to its ecolo theme. At the Théâtre du Trianon, 80. Boulevard de Rochechouart, ¨Paris 18. Métro: Pigalle. Info. Tel.: 01 40 86 74 33.

Paris has its 'big names' for the 'good stuff.' It also has its 'small names' for equally 'good stuff,' but I don't know these - therefore only the biggest of the 'big names.' For these, make sure your 'plastic' is gold:

  • Dalloyau - out of five locations, here are two: 25. Boulevard des Capucines, Paris 2 and 101. Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris 8.
  • Fauchon - only one address: 26. Place de la Madeleine, Paris 8.
  • La Grande Epicerie de Paris - in the Bon Marché, 38. Rue de Sèvres, Paris 7.
  • Hédiard - out of six locations, here are two: 21. Place de la Madeleine, Paris 8 and 31. Avenue Georges V, Paris 8.
  • Lenôtre - out of four locations, here are two: 61. Rue Lecourbe, Paris 15 and 44. Rue d'Auteuil, Paris 16.

La Poste - is celebrating a lot of things at the moment, but first up is its year-end catalogue which features its new Christmas stamps. Also featured are special stamps for our '2000 Thing' and this is why this item is on this page. France did not win the rugby world championship, but this has not stopped La Poste from issuing a rugby-ball-shaped stamp. Also see the '100 Years of the Métro' stamp.

'La Poste's' services for philatelists are accessible by the Web to interested collectors. I'm not sure of what you may find online because a reader wrote to say it is all in French. When I tried to check this out, my particular browser crashed - but it crashes on all up-to-date, flashy sites.

At the moment nobody knows just how many people are going to go to the Tour Eiffel to see it pop its cork. Theposter: ava maria same thing goes for the Champs-Elysées. Public security authorities are taking no chances, so they are preparing for the biggest crowds in history.

It should be pretty obvious you can't be in two places at the same time. If you opt for the public events taking place outside, you are going to have to forego the all-night galas taking place inside.

Generally speaking, big crowds in Paris are well-behaved. There will be an exceptionable police presence - 73,000 cops, gendarmes and soldiers - to make sure it stays this way. If you happen to have some portable Champagne with you, I do not think they will take the trouble to notice.

It is too early to tell how easy or difficult it will be to make reservations for public New Years Eve fêtes in Paris. Having gala Christmas meals will probably not be a problem.

Metropole readers are interested, judging by emails I've received. Answering these individually is difficult, because many writers include no details about their tastes or budgets. If you are arriving in Paris, hit the magazine stands in the airports and get a copy of 'Pariscope' or the 'Officiel des Spectacles.' These city guides have a lot of listings, for everything - and are not difficult to decipher.

Last year I had to choose from a list of about 70 places with Christmas dinners and New Years gala evenings for under 500 francs - not including 'all you can drink.' This year I may have a lesser number to choose from, and the range has increased by 50 percent to 'under 750 francs.'>/P>

But this is too general, because you can dine well at Paris' oldest restaurant, at the Auberge Nicolas Flamel for 295 francs. Besides age, this restaurant's other claim to fame is its wine list, which has very 'big' names at very competitive prices. 51. Rue de Montmorency, Paris 3. Good values can also be had at any of the restaurants of the Chez Clément or La Criée chains, for fish dishes. Even a fancy joint like the brasserie of the Hotel Lutétia can give you a gala New Years Eve for exactly 750 francs - except for the free glass of Champagne, drinks are extra.

However for New Years, Chez Clément hikes its 'menu' to 1000 francs, all Champagne included; and La Criée charges 850 francs, with a bottle of Champagne included.

A few years ago Professor Greb had a fine time at Paris' oldest café, Le Procope, on plain plastic. This year their New Years Eve gala costs 2000 francs, but this includes upscale Champagne and Sancerre and Chateauneuf-du-Pape; all you can hold. Any one of these you can barely afford for an important birthday.

With this particular New Year, going in is not going to be cheap because coming out you are going to feel good. New Years Eves come and go, but there will only be one like this one - in Paris - only once. Unless you are already the 2000-year-old man.

At the upper end of the scale, a 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.

Two Ramadhan Nights - are being organized for Friday, 24. December and Saturday, 25. December, featuring stars from the Middle East and North Africa; produced by Aladin the Musician. Both nights start at 21:00. Le Cabaret Sauvage, which in the Parc de la Villette, near the canal. Métro: Porte de la Villette or Porte de Pantin. Info. Tel.: 01 40 03 75 15.

Reveillon 2000 - is not an original name for a Brazilian fête from the terra of samba, but it will have food and drink. The dinner and included drink is 1200 francs for two and 999 francs for four, so I guess these are 'per-head' rates. Take a dozen people and maybe it comes down to $49.95. This takes place at a fairly new centre of extravagance; at Le Cabaret Sauvage, which in the Parc de la Villette, near the canal. Métro: Porte de la Villette or Porte de Pantin. Info. Tel.: 01 42 26 08 52.

SALSA - is another unoriginal name for much the same thing, which lifts off at 22:30 and runs until morning. This one is at the well-known New Morning, 7 & 9. Rue des Petits-Ecuries, Paris 10. Info. Tel.: 01 45 23 51 41.

99>2000L'ULTIMANOCHE - is not a modest name, butposter: jemja, cabaret sauvage this is because it has been thought up by the Divan du Monde. Lots of SAMBA. Bring your dancing shoes, but eat first because I don't think this is a food joint. The entry is only 300 'balles' and there will be LOTS of STUFF, such as 'cocktails "millennium". Divan du Monde, 75. Rue des Martyrs, Paris 18. Métro: Pigalle. Info. Tel.: 01 44 92 77 66.

Ave Maria - features traditional Christmas songs, by composers such as Schubert, Mozart, Verdi and Gounod. Various artists, and times, starting on Thursday, 23. December and continuing until Friday, 31. December. At the - heated - Eglise Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, I. Rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, Paris 5. Métro: Saint-Michel. Tickets can be obtained one hour before performances - more details with the Info. Tel.: 01 42 26 00 00.

Les Voix de la Neva -features the vocal emsemble of Saint Petersburg. Dates are 25, 27, 28, 29, and 30. December and 1. January; all at 20:45. 26. December and 2. January at 17:00. Eglise Saint-Louis-en-L'Ile, 19.bis, Rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Ile, Paris 4. Info. Tel.: 01 43 55 47 09.

Le Temps d'Une Nuit - a 'really big show,' with Nathalie Vincent and Alexandre Aubry; in the heated tent in the Parc André Malraux, in Nanterre. For kids three years old and up. Times are 10:30, 14:30 and 17:30. Until Sunday, 16. January. Tickets: all locations. RER 'A' to Nanterre Prefecture. Info. Tel.: 01 42 87 62 62.

Momo Koyo - might not be such a 'big' show but it is for kids too, in the afternoons at 14:30; from today to Thursday, 23. December. At l'Européen, 3/5. Rue Biot, Paris 17. Métro: Place de Clichy. Info. Tel.: 01 43 87 97 13.

New Years Eve

Réveillon de l'An 2000 - is a generic term for this New Years Eve - but this one is in some caves 'belonging' to the Montquartiers in Issy-les-Moulineaux. Per head: 2000 francs. Buffet, Champagne, fortune tellers, Brazilian revue, dancing. Info. Tel.: 01 64 86 28 00.

First Afro-World Event of the Millennium - no known address, so you have to hit the Web site. Advance tickets at fnac for 500 francs; correct (?) dress required. Champagne at midnight, from 19:00 to free breakfast at 05:30. Reduction for groups of six or more. Info. Tel.: 01 45 85 59 52.

Competing Afro-Dombolo-Zouk-Ragga - is slightly out-of-town in Montreuil. This one starts at 22:00, includes buffet and drink, and breakfast too. Tickets also available at fnac for 450 francs, or write to this address. At the Parc Montreuillois, 25. Place Jean-Jaurés, Montreuil. Info. Tel.: 06 01 54 86 18.

'Countdown 2000' calls for a gathering of mankind - which happens to be in Paris - at theposter: aladin, cabaret sauvage 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.

'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.

A giant freebie for public transport users has been announced. 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.

Special métro note: - the métro stations where crowds are likely to be dense, will be closed. These are Trocadéro, Bir-Hakeim, George V, Franklin-Roosevelt and Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau. The Etoile métro station will be closed all night.

The RATP will keep its RER 'A' and 'B' trains running every 15 minutes - but within Paris, the SNCF's RER trains will not be operating. These are the 'C' and 'D' lines.

To join SNCF RER suburban lines, you will have to take the métro to the RER stations of Auber, Péreire, Javel, Austerlitz, Saint-Lazare, Montparnasse, Gare du Nord, Denfert-Rochereau, Gare de l'Est, Gare de Lyon or Nation. The SNCF says it will run at least one suburban train per hour on every line throughout the night.

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 will mean a bus every 15 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.'

In addition, these buses are reinforced by 65 suburban buses which begin their runs, staring from the Paris exit 'portes' to go out to distant suburbs.

Past Christmas' Season Features in Metropole at a Glance:

Anno 1998:

Last year I must have been feeling like Mr. Twinkle, because Metropole's Christmas columns began with issue 3.45, which appeared online on Monday, 9. November - right after Halloween. This year I think a heap of local PR energy has gone into the 'big' one - 'Paris In 2000' - and a lot of the previous year's smaller items simply haven't shown up.

Metropole Issue 3.48 - 30. November 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.49 - 7. December 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.50 - 14. December 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.51 - 21. December 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.52 - 28. December 1998:

Anno 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.49 - 8. December 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.50 - 15. December 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.51 - 22. December 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.52 - 29. December 1997:

Anno 1996:

Metropole Issue 1.43 -16. December 1996

  • Features: 'Shopping' on the Rue Saint Honoré,' 'Standing Around Waiting for Food' and 'Best Christmas Window Contest.'

Metropole Issue 1.44 - 23. December 1996

  • Feature: 'The Eating Season'

Metropole Issue 1.45 - 30. December 1996

  • Feature: 'New Year's in Paris'

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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