...Continued from page 1

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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