The New Years That Was

photo: fake snow xmas trees, louvre

Except for a few green leaves, the fake snow looks okay.

The 3rd Millennium - How Does It Feel?

Paris:- Monday, 1. January 2001:- Last night, weather conditions for the Millennium's street party were terrible. It was nearly freezing, and it was supposed to get windy and serious rain was expected. And to top it off, the 'program' for the event only appeared in Saturday's papers.

How Not To Begin a Millennium

A week ago, the International Herald Tribune scooped other Paris papers with the first news about the Tour Eiffel's sparkle lights being changed to blue. This required the lights to be shut off for four days while 40 high-wire workers capped all of the 20,000 lights with blue hoods.

But Parisians and visitors had to wait for the city's Saturday editions to get details about last night's fête. Many, like I did, assumed that there would be a fireworks display between Trocadéro and the Champ de Mars at the Tour Eiffel.

Many who showed up for it - I didn't - were disappointed. The tower's illuminated '2000' sign was finally turned off, and the blue sparklers were turned on andphoto: xmas window, enfants the show was over - except for the heavily guarded Paris-Dakar Rallye's parking lot.

To keep up with the event I relied on television. The prime-time news at 20:00 showed Sydney's spectacular fireworks in the harbor - and these were nearly the last to be shown on French TV.

Of the five stations I receive, two had variety shows and one was composed mostly of re-run acts going back to the '70's. Just before midnight, Peter Ustinov was on Arte-TV, expressing its best wishes in French and German while toasting our part of the world with spruddelwasser. Arte's images were the only ones to show the count-down numbers dropping to zero..

At midnight, the regional France-3 TV channel showed the 1000 drummers arrayed on the facade of the Pompidou Centre. There was no over-all shot of the crowd in the chilly rain, and the report was over in four minutes. France-3 followed this city-wide coverage with a show called '50 Years At the Crazy Horse.'

This morning, radio France-Info said there had been a half-million celebrants on the Champs-Elysées, from Etoile to Concorde. From the way the radio described it, the impromptu crowd gathered at Bastille might have had a better time.

In case you happened to hear my remarks about what a fine show there was going be in Paris - on the Perth 6PR radio station about 22:00 Australian time - all I can say is if I have to go out on New Years Eve in the future, I'd prefer to do it where it's warm.

Paris blew its Millennium budget on '2000 In Paris,' which was a great show, but a year too early. In London, the Millennium Dome was closed forever this morning. I think this leaves Marseille with the coast clear to show Europe how it should be done.

Other details about this New Years in Paris and France were so late being made public that many had no time to plan. The SNCF held off its announcement of its low-priced France-wide flat-rate fares, and many voyagers only learned of it from TV-news or word-of-mouth.

This page features the remaining holiday events that continue on into the new year.

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Christmas In Paris 2000

There are still so many items, with some of them difficult to classify, that the following may be a bit of a hodge-podge. More likely - a podge-hodge.

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
  • Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

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 still run into lights of cheer wherever you go in the city. This applies to decorated windows of smaller shops too.

Ice Skating - the Hôtel de Ville's outdoor ice skating rink is back in the place in front of Paris' main city hall. At thephoto: shop auvergne, marais moment it has the only 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 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.

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. Ruephoto: sign, cheval, marais 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 after noon; until Sunday, 14. January. At the Bobino, 20. Rue de Gaîté, Paris 14. Métro: Gaîté.. InfoTel.: 01 43 27 75 75.

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 peformances hourly from 13:00 to 19:00. Métro: Cité. InfoTel.: 01 56 56 44 23.

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