New Years 2001

photo: street musicians, christmas eve

Christmas Eve shoppers assulted by street joy.

One Time Only - Don't Miss It

Paris:- Saturday, 23. December 2000:- By the time this gets online Christmas Day will be past, but Christmas events will continue for about a week beyond the beginning of the year - so this column leads with these items.

What follows is a sketchy idea of New Years in Paris, which I've decided should be like a play in five acts. As with everything else in Paris there are few rules, so you can take in the 'acts' you want and ignore the others.

But it is a fair assumption that if you've taken the trouble to come all the way to Paris at this season - and especially for the unique millennium changeover - you are made of strong stuff, or have a solid relationship with your bankers, or both! - and you intend to 'shoot the works.'

Paris is a residential city and many of its citizens will not be sticking their noses into these festivities. But not all who live here will be staying safe and snug at home with their loved ones - so you can expect Paris to be one of the world's major party zones, possibly for an excessive length of time. 'Five act' plays aren't short.

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Christmas In Paris 2000

There are so many items, with some of them difficult to classify, that the following may be a bit of a hodge-podge. Most likely - look and ye shall find.

Christmas Lights -

  • Rue Royal, until the beginning of January
  • Avenue Montaigne, from 17:00 until midnight; until Friday, 5. January
  • Place Vendôme, Avenue Montaigne and Rue de la Paix, until Friday, 5. January
  • Avenue des Champs-Elysées, from 18:00; until Sunday, 31. December
  • Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

Christmas Windows -

  • La Samaritaine, until Sunday, 31. December. At 19. Rue de la Monnaie, Paris 1.
  • Printemps, Haussmann, until Sunday, 31. December. Theme - 'Glam'rock.' At 64. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9.
  • Aux Galeries Lafayette, until Sunday, 31. December. Theme - 'Alice au Pays des Merveilles' which is otherwise known as 'Wonderland.' At 40. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9.

Neighborhoods - 'quartiers' - also put up their own light shows, usually on shopping streets, around markets, or even on the city halls of arrondissements - so you may run into lights of cheer wherever you go in the city. This applies to decorated windows too - with lots of shops having their own seasonal displays.

Ice Skating - the Hôtel de Ville's outdoor ice skating rink is back in the place in front of Paris' mainposter: l'an 01, forum des images city hall. At the moment it has the only outdoor ice in the city. Open daily for twirling from 9:00 to a late 22:00; until 25. February. Skate rental - 30 francs per day. Two antique merry-go-rounds complete the 1200 square-metre ice rink. Métro: Hôtel de Ville.

Christmas Tree Forest - Paris fashion designers turn their hands to 80 Christmas trees, which can be seen at the place in front of the Pompidou art museum - or, inside the modern art warehouse itself. Closed Tuesday; open from 11:00 to 22:00; until Thursday, 4. January. Paris 4. Métro: Rambuteau.

Merry-Go-Rounds - one in each of Paris' 20 arrondissements, free for kids. This includes the 'Grand Roue de Paris' which operates from 11:00 to 00:30 daily and 11:00 to 00:45 on weekends at the Place de la Concorde. The merry-go-rounds - 'manèges' - operate from 10:30 to 19:30 daily; until Sunday, 7. January.

1000 Drums - gather from all around Europe at 23:00 on Sunday, 31. December, in front of the Pompidou Centre, to drum in the 3rd millennium with gusto. Paris 4. Métro: Rambuteau or Hôtel de Ville.

Grande Parade - is not to be missed because it will be the first on the first New Years Day in the new millennium. There will be marching bands from everywhere, floats, acrobats and elements of the Bouglione and Pinder-Jean Richard circuses. Starting time is 14:00 at Richelieu-Drouot and the whole show is expected to arrive at the Madeleine two hours later, via the Grands Boulevards.

Les Aventures de Pinocchio - is the story about the kid made of wood with the extensible nose, by Carlo Collodi - for kids five and up. This is a big production with 17 scenes and 35 players. On Wednesdays and Saturdays in the evenings; matinees during the school holidays. At the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, 38. Rue Montpensier, Paris 1. Métro:Palais-Royal or Pyramides. InfoTel.: 01 40 12 29 78.

La Poubelle Enchantée - or 'The Enchanted Garbagecan,' is a musical comedy with clowns and poubelles. For the ages of three to 10. Wednesdays and weekends, and all school holidays, in the afternoon; until Sunday, 14. January. At the Bobino, 20. Rue de Gaîté, Paris 14. Métro: Gaîté.. InfoTel.: 01 43 27 75 75.

Un Conte de Noël - a Christmas Fable, by William Korso and Pierre-Alain Perez, features dancers, singers, jugglers and magicians. Until Sunday, 31. December. From one to three times daily, at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, 16. Boulevard Saint-Martin, Paris 10. Métro: Strasbourg- St-Denis. InfoTel.: 08 92 69 90 00.

Le Mystère de Noël - is an opera of 3D images featuring religious art works, from Byzantine mosaics - to Rembrandt. Accompanied by sacred texts, classical music and gospels. Subtitles in English and Italian. Until Wednesday, 10. January, in the heated tent located on the Parvis in front of Notre Dame. Daily performances hourly from 13:00 to 19:00. Métro: Cité. InfoTel.: 01 56 56 44 23.

Marché de Noël

Le Monde des Enfants - trees and decorations, Santa Claus' house, rides and merry-go-rounds, at the village of more than 70 chalets. Until Sunday, 7. January; from 11:00 to 20:00; 11:00 to 22:00 on Friday and Saturday. At the Place de la Bastille, on the Port de l'Arsenal side. Paris 4. Métro: Bastille.

Grand Choir - of Saint Petersburg's Moussorgsky Theatre, will be singing in Russian and other European languages. At the Eglise Saint-Louis- en-l'Isle, 19 bis, Rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Isle, Paris 4. From Tuesday, 26. December to Saturday, 30. December at 20:45. The final concert takes place at the American Cathedral at 20:45 on Sunday, 31. December. At 23. Avenue George V, Paris 8. InfoTel.: 01 44 62 00 55.

Gregorian Ensemble - of Notre-Dame de Paris. Gregorian chants and French polyphonicsposter: euro design from the 11th century. On Friday, 29. December, at 20:30; at Notre Dame on the Ile de la Cite. Métro: Cité. InfoTel.: 01 42 34 56 10.

Handel's Messiah - performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra, on Sunday, 31. December, at 20:30. At the Eglise de la Madeleine, Place de la Madeleine. Paris 8. Métro: Madeleine. InfoTel.: 08 03 80 58 03.

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 Sunday, 24. December - which is such a tradition that there is no mention of it. Tickets for this: at fnac, Virgin and agencies.


Le Quatuor - with 'Il Pleut des Cordes,' directed by Alain Sachs. Featuring Laurent Vercambre et Jean-Claude Camors on violins and Pierre Ganem, alto. Laurent Cirade, violoncello. Performing Schubert, Mozart and Lemarque. Théâtre du Châtelet, 1. Place du Châtelet, Paris 1. Métro: Châtelet. InfoTel.: 01 40 28 28 40.

Les Victor Racoin - is a quintet with a burlesque show involving a 'pot pourri' of silly action and insane music. Until Saturday, 6. January. At the Auditorium Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 4. Rue Félibien, Paris 6. Métro: Mabillon. InfoTel.: 01 44 07 37 43.

The recent strikes at the Opéras at Bastille and the Palais Garnier seem to be over, but it is possible that no-show action is now happening at the Opéra Comique.

If you have tickets to any opera house, be sure to call first - to find out if there will be a complete or partial performance, or find out where to get refunds.

Joyaux - by George Balanchine, is a new production featuring the opera's first dance team. Music for 'Rubis' is by Igor Stravinsky and the music for 'Diamants' is by Tchaikovsky. At 19:30 on the following days in December: the 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th. At 17:00 on Sunday, 17. December. Opéra Palais Garnier, Place de l'Opéra, Paris 9. Métro: Opéra. InfoTel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

La Périchole - is opéra-bouffe, based on a piece by Offenbach and staged extravagantly by Jérômeposter: snow show, casino de paris Savary and Gérard Daguerre Until Sunday, 7. January. At the Opéra Comique, Place Boïeldieu, Paris 12. Métro: Richelieu-Drouot. InfoTel.: 08 25 00 00 58.

Opéraccordéon - lyric fantasy for soprano Catherine Estourelle and accordionist Arnaud Methivier, around melodies by Puccini, Berio, Fauré and Pergolèse. Directed by Agnès Boury. At the Espace La Comedia, 2. Impasse Lamier, Paris 11. Métro: Philippe-Auguste. InfoTel.: 01 44 64 83 76.

Juana la Loca - as performed by Sara Baras Flamenco Ballet, with music by the Grupo Flamenco Sara Baras. From the preview on TV - stunning! From Wednesday, 27. December - including Sunday, 31. December - until Sunday, 7. January; at 20:00. Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 15. Avenue Montaigne, Paris 8. Métro: Place de l'Alma. InfoTel.: 01 49 52 50 50.

La Chauve-Souris - otherwise, the 'Bat,' by Johann Strauss, with the orchestra and chorus of the Opéra. Directed by film director Coline Serreau. Until Sunday, 21. January. At 19:30 on the following days; the 27th, 29th, 30th, and 31st. Opéra, Bastille, 2 bis. Place de la Bastille, Paris 12. Métro: Bastille. InfoTel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

How Could This Happen? - 'La Nativité' by John Adams, directed by Peter Sellers is now over, but Astor Piazzolla is honored on Sunday, 7. January at 11:00.. Théâtre du Châtelet, 1. Place du Châtelet, Paris 11. Métro: Châtelet. InfoTel.: 01 40 28 28 40.

Alexis Gruss - after 26 years of the 'Cirque à l'Ancienne' which follows a tradition established in 1770, to have lots of horses clowns, balancing acts and jugglers. On Wednesdays at 14:00; at 14:00 and 20:30 on Saturday and 14:00 and 17:15 on Sunday. Daily at 14:00 during school holidays. Until 25. February, at the Allée de la Reine Marguerite in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16. InfoTel.: 01 40 36 08 00.

Cirque Phenix - is the gypsy circus 'en liberté,' which means its tent has no interior poles. With musicians and violins and acrobats. Until Sunday, 7. January at 15:00 and 21:00 on Wednesday and Saturday. On the Pelouse de Reuilly, Paris 12. Métro: Porte de Charenton or Porte Dorée. InfoTel.: 01 56 29 19 18.

Cirque d'Arlette Gruss - a traditional circus, but with themes such as 'Arlette Dépasse les Bornes.' Until Sunday, 7. January. On the Pelouse de Reuilly, Paris 12. Métro: Porte de Charenton or Porte Dorée. InfoTel.: 01 43 44 09 09.

Pinder- Jean Richard - big Christmas trees mix it up with this traditional circus, until Sunday, 7. January. On the Pelouse de Reuilly, Paris 12. Métro: Porte de Charenton or Porte Dorée. InfoTel.: 01 43 44 09 09. This circus also takes part in the world's first circus festival, from Wednesday 10. January to Sunday, 14. January. InfoTel.: 01 40 40 10 00.

Le Grand Céleste - is a smaller, human-scale circus that mixes up street acts with an original score, with sort of a story to it all. At 13. Avenue de la Porte des Lilas, Paris 19. Metro: Porte des Lilas InfoTel.: 01 53 19 99 13.

Cirque Joseph Bouglione - features 'Le Songe d'une Nuit d'Ete,' from Monday, 25. December until 18. February. To be located in the Square Alexandre et René Parodi, which is opposite the Palais des Congrès. Paris 16. Métro: Porte Maillot. InfoTel.: 06 80 11 11 98.

L'Air de Paris - is a musical revue by Jacques Pessis, directed by Thierry Harcourt and features Patrick Dupond, Manon Landowski and Olivier Benard. Except Monday, daily at 20:30poster: paris godard and at 15:00 on Sundays. Espace Pierre Cardin, 1-3. Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8. Métro: Place de la Concorde. InfoTel.: 01 42 65 27 35.

La Dame aux Camelias - is by Alexandre Dumas, Fils, of course. Directed by Alfredo Arias, this piece marks the end of a long absence for Isabelle Adjani. Except Mondays, at 20:30; 16:00 and 20:30 on Saturday and at 16:00 on Sunday. Théâtre Marigny, Carré Marigny, Paris 8. Métro: Champs- Elysées-Clemenceau. InfoTel.: 01 53 96 70 00.

Hamlet - by Bill Shakespeare and directed by Peter Brook. With subtitles in French. Except Sunday and Monday, daily at 20:00 and 15:00 on Saturday. Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, 37 bis. Boulevard de la Chapelle, Paris 10. Métro: La Chapelle. InfoTel.: 01 46 07 34 50.

Dolls and Bears - is 'Poupées et Ours' in French, and it is an exhibition and not a musical. Until Sunday, 7. January. Entry for adults is 48 francs and it's at the top of the Tour Montparnasse, 33. Avenue du Maine, Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse. InfoTel.: 01 45 38 52 56.

Le Dindon - or, 'The Turkey,' which is an odd name for a theatre piece. All the same, a comedy by Georges Feydeau, about dancing fools. From Tuesday to Saturday, with a special version on New Years Eve at 20:30. At the Théâtre 14 Jean-Marie Serreau, 20. Avenue Marc-Sangier, Paris 14. Métro: Porte de Vanves. InfoTel.: 01 45 45 49 77.

New Years Eve in Paris can have five distinct 'acts,' with changes of scenery and different casts - but it will require stamina to do the whole thing - from about 21:00 on Sunday, 31. December until about 16:00 on the afternoon of Monday, 1. January 2001.

If this sounds too daunting you can reduce the scene and the cast to one locale, fix a pretty firm budget and get in 3.5 'acts' - ending with breakfast on the first day of the 3rd millennium.

Put another way, if you are nimble and like adventure, you'll dare to go for the whole five 'acts.' For a more relaxed evening, there are places in Paris that can give you nearly everything in one place.

The Five 'Acts:'

Gala dinner
Fireworks at the Tour Eiffel - Glug-Glug on the Champs-Elysées
Dance to dawn, with live music or DJs
The Grand Parade

Obviously, there are very few places in Paris where you can see the fireworks at the Tour Eiffel from where you dine; and even fewer of these will be serving breakfast. Doing the glug-glug on the Champs-Elysées is impossible without being on it. There will be tough decisions to make.

Act One: Gala Dinners aka 'Suppers'

These range in price from - believe it or not - a low of 280 francs to nearly 6000 francs. Even at the low end menus have multiple courses, but have no drinks included until you get around the 500 franc area. With no drink included or only a token drink, be ready to see the bill doubled if you intend to indulge.

There is a very good and even classy selection of well-known restaurants and hotel dining rooms with menus in the 500-franc range. Consider going to up to 1000 francs if you like good food and don't expect to take in the other 'acts.'

Going above 500 francs can include music done by DJs, and going over 1000 francs can give you live musicians, and in the case of L'Arbuci in the Quartier Latin, two different jazz trios for a flat 1000 francs - including all the Champagne you can hold.

Cuban musicians are kings in Paris right now and they are performing in a number of places. Les Etoiles in the 10th arrondissement probably has a fairly simple meal, but its group 'Ocho y Media' is going to salsa until dawn, with all drinks included for 590 francs per person.

Even if it's mainly 'suppers,' most places do have some entertainment, such as the duo at the classy Prince de Galles' Jardin des Cygnes, for 650 francs.

If you feel like going over 1000 francs for your New Years Eve supper in Paris, then you probably appreciate foodposter: mag, l'express, paris en fete in France. For 1400 francs you can have a table at La Tour Argent, with nothing to look at except Notre Dame.

Above 1500 francs the food gets even better, or some special attraction is offered. For example, at 1800 francs a head, two bateaux-mouches will glide you around the Seine for supper, halt near the Tour Eiffel for the fireworks, and provide a dance floor until dawn.

For 100 francs more, the Jules Verne restaurant on the Tour Eiffel's 2nd stage will give you an even closer view of the fireworks at midnight. No mention of music or dancing though. For the same price the Hotel Maurice has a live trio, but no view. For another 100 francs again, the Pré Catelan in the Bois de Boulogne has a whole orchestra and its own fireworks.

Going way over 2000 francs, but way above Paris, Le Ciel de Paris on the 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse has the best view of all Paris - and absolutely none of the Tour Montparnasse. With an orchestra playing until dawn - ooh, there's another possible view too!

Act Two: Fireworks at the Tour Eiffel - Glug-Glug on the Champs-Elysées

Both of these are free - but depend a bit of weather conditions - long range prediction: warm. You get yourself to the Champ de Mars before midnight, in time to get a good view of the fireworks show. Do not expect to be alone.

When we've passed into the 3rd millennium, then you walk up to the Champs-Elysées to see what it looks like when it's party-time after midnight with a couple hundred thousand other diehard glug-gluggers. Pick up a couple of bottles of Champagne first for al fresco refreshments - 300 francs for two - before setting out. Here again, do not expect to be alone.

Last year, the métro remained open and in operation all night, and was free. As of this writing it is unknown if this will be the case this year. You can count on the métro stations nearest the Champ de Mars either being very crowded or closed. Key métro stations under the Champs-Elysées may also be closed for security reasons. Study the métro map for the nearest alternatives.

Act Three: Dance to Dawn, with Live Music or DJs

To catch this 'act' you may have to dispense with 'acts one and two.' But if you opt for one of the all-inclusive Seine cruises, you'll get 'acts one through four,' more or less. Few other places featuring most of these 'acts' will have the crucial 'act three,' so your decision about this 'act four' may determine your whole New Years Eve in Paris performance.

There just aren't many other places like the Tour Montparnasse - with its 'supper,' the stunning view, and the live orchestra playing until dawn. Every centime they ask for their 'performance' should be worth it.

There are about 20 establishments that are advertising 'Dîner - Spectacles.' These start around 21:00 and about 550 francs - not including drinks - and chug through 'acts one and three' and a few even include 'act four' for hearty souls who want to start the new millennium with a full stomach and on the run.

Then there are a few places that have advertised that they will have music - either with Djs or with live groups - but will not necessarily have much in the way of a 'supper.' These are the pure 'act four' places.

Some open their doors at 22:00 or 23:00; but some even start up at 17:00. Most go until dawn, and a fair number of them will be serving some sort of breakfast. Entries start around 80 francs, but could be as much as 200 francs. What the door doesn't take, expect to pay out for drinks - usually about 35 francs and up.

For every place that is 'advertising,' there are probably four that will be open that aren't. The minuscule music guide, 'Lylo' - highly praised by musicians themselves - won't put out its edition covering hour-by-hour events during New Years until Tuesday, 26. December.

'Nova's current 'Hot Guide' only has four New Years items - look for its next edition to come out this week. Otherwise, take a look at its semi-annual 'With Feeling' food and drink guide, which is on the stands now. On Wednesday, the city's two main weekly program guides will be on news kiosks too. Between all four publications, you'll find 300 addresses.

Finally, Paris wouldn't be Paris without its famous cabarets. These include places like the Crazy Horse, the Lido and Le Moulin Rouge, plus a handful of others including some I've never heard of such as the Bistrot de la Gaîté - which has a musical show called 'Piaf - Mon Amour.' Its entry of 550 francs includes a multi-course 'supper' but not drinks.

Expect big shows at the Lido on the Champs-Elysées or at the Moulin Rouge in Pigalle. These places are what you may have imagined Paris 'nightclubs' should be like - and they are not the only ones around. Their basic prices of 2500 to 3000 francs include multi-course 'suppers' and classy bottles of Champagne. Other drinks and breakfast are up to you.

Act Four: The First Breakfast of the Millennium

Some of the New Years galas that keep going until dawn will be offering some sort of breakfasts to the people who won'tphoto: quai du louvre lie down, or who haven't the strength left to take on Paris streets at dawn.

The most extravagant of 'other places' may be the offer of the Marriott Hotel on the Champs-Elysées. Its Le Pavillon restaurant is proposing a very extensive multi-course lunch menu for 450 francs, with all the Champagne you can handle.

This may seem a lot if you've just survived a night at the nearby Lido, but there is only going to be one 1. January 2001 in your life. If you feel like changing the 'quartier,' try the lunch offer of the Café de la Paix near the Opéra.

Act Five: The Grand Parade

Grande Parade - even if you've already read this above, it is still not to be missed because it will be Paris' first parade on the first New Years Day in the new millennium. Starting time is 14:00 - after lunch! - at Richelieu-Drouot and the whole show is expected to arrive at the Madeleine two hours later, via the Grands Boulevards.

If you've skipped lunch for some odd reason, some of the places below may be open on New Years Day - but I kind of doubt it. If I'm wrong, Dalloyau in the Boulevard des Capucines is particularly well-placed, because the parade will pass its door. Call this 'Act Five, Bis.'

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.

Paris - Dakar - for its 23rd edition this fabled rallye returns to its original Paris starting point. In this year's case, this will be from the Champ de Mars, on Monday, 1. January. After leaving Paris, the 350-odd competitors will drive very sedately to Almeria in three days and then take a ferry to Morocco. From there they will roll around, mostly in deserts, for 17 days and 10,000 kilometres - until some of them reach Dakar on 21. January. Bon voyage!

Anno 1999:

Last year was somewhat confusing because Paris decided it was changing the century and the millennium, so there was a big program for this year-early fête - which was quite successful.

However, all the hoopla for it subtracted a bit from Paris' usual seasonal program - and caused Metropole to have three weekly 'Scene' columns for a number of issues. Once was enough, so the 'Millennium Party' is not official this year.

Metropole Issue 4.52 - 27. December 1999:

Anno 1998:

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

  • See feature: 'New Year's in Paris'
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