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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.

Disneyland Paris - may have been damaged by the big storm, but it is certain to try and pull itself together for New Years Eve. It is handily located at the eastern end of the 'RER' line B4. Disneyland is proposingbrochure: kids program cinematheque a 'nuit de folie' lasting until 04:00 on Saturday, 1. January 2000. Several different options are available, starting from simple at 299 francs and going up to 'Privilege 2000' for 2100 francs. Possibly included: costumes. Info. Tel.: 01 60 30 20 30.

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, but 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, 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. Two dates left: Saturday, 1. January; at 20:45 and Sunday, 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.

New Years Eve

'Countdown 2000' calls for a gathering of mankind - which happens to be in Paris - 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.

About a quarter-million people can fit into the Champ de Mars for this show. Just to make sure nobody misses it, two giant screens will be set up for live retransmission. If you have access to a big-screen TV, you might get the same effect in comfort - but I don't know if this will be broadcast on TV. Unless there is a hurricane or blizzard, I will be at this.

'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 ferris wheels with actors, musicians, circus performers - putting on some sort of dazzling show. Some 36,000 other 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.

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

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.

'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.

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 last week's 'Café' column for first impressions.

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.

'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.

Les Metiers d'Art En l'An 2000 - 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.

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.

Paris 2000 and 2000 In France

Paris is officially characterizing its participation in all events in 2000 as the 'choix du cúur' rather than 'mega-francs' and has modestly named it 'Paris 2000,' with a logo of the same name on everything. This will be a multi-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.

The Regular 'Scene' - has been dropped from this week's edition, but last week's version is still online. For other events, check it out.

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,photo: menege in 14th 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 New Years 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 3.52 - 28. December 1998:

Anno 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.52 - 29. December 1997:

Anno 1996:

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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