Changing Scene

photo: musee de la vie romantique, entry

The entry alley leading to the Musée de la Vie Romantique.

Musée de la Vie Romantique

Paris:- Wednesday, 2. May 2001:- Invitations to openings of exhibitions at city institutions have been arriving for years, but it is only recently that their dates have begun to be convenient - on Wednesdays for example, instead of Thursdays.

In today's case, for the Musée de la Vie Romantique, I attempted to find it about two months ago, just to have a look at it after a long time. I made a wrong turn coming back from another story on Montmartre though, and that was that.

For today's opening of the exhibition 'Dessins Romantiques Français,' the date is right and I check my map carefully before starting out. I pop out of the métro Saint-Georges and walk up the Rue Notre-Dame de Lorette until I come to the Rue Chaptal, where I turn left. Nothing to it.

The museum's entry is a alleyway, but there is a large banner for the current exhibition right beside it. As soonphoto: main collection house, mus romantique as I turn in it, it is 'Aha-time!' because I instantly remember my last visit - a very good number of years ago.

The front of the Hôtel Scheffer-Renan at the Musée de la Vie Romantique.

The alleyway leads straight to an interior compound, containing the former residence, ateliers and the garden of the painter and sculptor Ary Scheffer, who lived here from 1830 until his death in 1858. This is in the 'Nouvelle Athènes' area of the 9th arrondissement.

During the 'July Monarchy' the 'house in Chaptel' received visits from Delacroix, George Sand and Chopin - who all lived nearby - and Liszt, Rossini and Charles Dickens.

The sizeable permanent collection is in the main house. and the current exhibition is located in the two ateliers. Tea used to be served in the garden, and if this is still the case - in season - the museum's grounds are an oasis within the 'Nouvelle Athènes' area.

On arriving I am directed to some basement stairs which lead to the lower floor of one of the ateliers. For the members of the press present, Louis-Antoine Prat, who is the Louvre's drawing specialist, is explaining what we are seeing - as if he has personally known all the artists represented.

The exhibition of 'Dessins Romantiques Français' is composed mostly of drawings fromphoto: viewing expo, mus romantique private collections - which means not all collectors have loaned works. Monsieur Prat, quoting Suzanne Page and paraphrased, says 'all art locked in vaults is a crime.'

In one of Ary Scheffer's ateliers with Monsieur Prat.

Of the designs on show, 30 Paris collectors lent from one to ten works each. The artists are Delacroix, Théodore Chassériau, Géricault - with a small sketch of the battle of Waterloo - Ary Scheffer, of course, 'Grandville,' Victor Hugo, Ingres, Eugène Lami, Henri Lehmann, and Charles Baudelaire - to mention only about a third of them. According to Monsieur Prat, some are also 'absent.'

Finally, what is romantic? According to Sébastien Mercier, 'it is something you sense rather than define.' You, then, have probably been 'romantic' at least once.

Dessins Romantiques Français - are rarely seen works from private collections. This show continues until Sunday, 15. July; from 10:00 to 18:00 daily except Mondays. In addition to viewing the museum, other activities are organized here, such as tours of the quarter. At the Musée de la Vie Romantique - Hôtel Scheffer-Renan, 16. Rue Chaptal, Paris 9. Métro: Saint-Georges or Pigalle. InfoTel.: 01 48 74 95 38.

About This Week's 'Scene' Column

Metropole's 'Scene' column is undergoing changes which are not completely defined yet. On one hand, attempts will continue to list events further in the future as an aid for your Paris visit planning - and on the other, consideration is being given to condensing the weekly Web version, to make it handier.

The full version will return next week - not necessarily 'on time' - but if you feel that you 'need to know more' this week, I suggest you consult last week's 'almost up-to-date' full-length column.

Rodin En 1900 - this exhibition recreates as nearly as possible one shown in 1900, featuring 168 sculptures, drawings and photographs that were shown at the Pavillon de l'Alma. Only until Thursday, 10. May; from 11:00 to 18:00; except Mondays. At the Musée du Luxembourg, 19. Rue de Vaugirard, Paris 6. Métro: Odéon r Saint-Suplice. Info. Tel.: 01 42 34 25 95.

Country Living - this is what happens in France outside Paris' Perifreak! so there is a salon for it - for hunting, for fishing, for horsey stuff, for 'le golf' and for 'country living,' which may include tips on what sort of four-wheel jeep to buy that can withstand the rigours of huge hypermarché parking lots, where many people gather to get the stuff needed for surviving 'in the country.' At the Country Show - untranslated - at the racetrack at Auteuil, from Friday, 11. May until Sunday, 13. May. Métro: Porte d'Auteuil.

Le 'Prince Noir' - this was the nickname of crime writer Andre Héléna, who has remained largely unknown since his death in 1972 despite being an extraordinary writer. This exhibition includes his original works, posters and photos. Starting Friday, 11. May and continuing until 30. August. From Monday to Friday; fromphoto: garden, mus romantique 14:00 to 18:00, and on Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00. At the BILIPO, 48-50. Rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, Paris 5. Métro: Cardinal-Lemoine. InfoTel.: 01 42 34 93 00.

The garden of the Musée de la Vie Romantique, surrounded by the ateliers.

Faust - by Charles Gounod, with the book for this performance by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. Starting on Friday, 11. May, with dates continuing into June. At the Opéra Bastille, Place de la Bastille, Paris 12. Métro: Bastille. Toll ResaTel.: 08 36 69 78 68. Check the Web site for both the Palais Garnier and Bastille for opera events as well as current ballet productions.

Hammerklavier - by Yasmina Reza, directed by Mark Kilmurry and featuring Susie Lindeman. In English, it is autobiographical and imaginary, with familiar and fictional people. From Thursday, 10. May to Saturday, 12. May, at 20:30; and on Tuesday and Wednesday, 15. and 16. May at 19:00. At La Bohème, Théâtre des Déchargeurs, 3. Rue des Déchargeurs, Paris 1. Métro: Châtelet. ResaTel.: 01 42 36 00 02.

Les Pestacles - is for kids, with 22 free shows featuring clowns, music, puppets, music, magic, clowns, music and so on. On Wednesdays at 14:30, until 29. September. At the Parc Floral de Paris, Route de la Pyramide, in the Bois de Vincennes, Paris 12. Métro: Château de Vincennes. InfoTel.: 01 55 94 20 20.

Voyages - plunge into a soft and unreal atmosphere, in an installation created by Rachel Mahler. Beginning on Thursday, 10. May and continuing until Thursday, 28. June. Open from Monday to Saturday; from 13:00 to 19:00. At a new location called the Espace d'Art, 55. Rue du Montparnasse, Paris 14. Remember - it's 'Rue' not 'Boulevard.' Métro: Montparnasse or Edgar Quinet.

Hors Champ 2 - six prize-winning artists are featured at the city's cultural affairs headquarters, from Monday to Friday; from 10:00 to 18:00. In the Salon Jean Musy, at the Hôtel d'Albret, 31. Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 4. Métro: Saint-Paul. InfoTel.: 01 42 76 67 00.

Buenos Aires Tango - begins a month of tango in Paris, featuring many Argentinean tango stars. The festival gets into the swing of things with six complete programs, beginning on Tuesday, 9. May and continuing until Sunday, 27. May. Various times, all at the Théâtre National du Chaillot, 1. Place du Trocadéro, Paris 16. Métro: Trocadéro. InfoTel.: 01 53 65 30 00 & ResaTel.: 01 53 65 30 00.

Quatre Jours de Marigny - this is for stamp collectors looking for themes, collections by countries, and has collectible letters and post cards. Marché aux Timbres de la Ville de Paris, Avenue de Marigny or Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8. Métro: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau. InfoTel.: 01 39 81 46 61.

Arts de la Marionette - is the 2001 edition of an international biannual show, featuring everything about puppets, with a worldwide view. From Wednesday, 30. May until Sunday, 3. June. At the Parc de la Villette, 211. Avenue Jean-Juarès, Paris 19. Métro: Porte de Pantin. InfoTel.: 01 44 64 79 70.

Tennis, Anyone? - hey, it's Roland Garros time again - almost ensuring bad weather. What is in dispute is a round of the international 'Grand Chelem' - aka 'slam.' From Monday, 28. May until Sunday, 1O. June. At the Roland Garros stadium, 2. Avenue Gordon-Bennett, Parisphoto: rodin 1900, musee luxembourg, poster 16. Métro: Porte d'Auteuil and walk west. InfoTel.: 01 47 43 48 00, but not for reservations.

For Camera Fans - a photographer once told me never to go to the annual Foire à la Photo de Bièvres with any sort of plastic card. Its 38th edition is coming up, on Sunday, 3. June, starting at 9:00 and continuing until 18:00.

Besides hardware, there will also be a considerable amount of collectible photos on exhibition, for sale, both to private buyers and from and to professionals. This will be at the Place de la Mairie in Bièvres, which can be reached with the RER 'C' from the Gare d'Austerlitz. There is supposed to be a train every hour. By car, leaving from the Porte de Chatillon, take the RN 309 straight ahead about nine kilometres. In Bièvres, look for the parking lot and a shuttle-bus to the Place de la Mairie.

Catone In Utica - by Antonio Vivaldi, in three acts with subtitles in French. Dates for this begins on Friday, 25. May and continue into June. At the Opéra Comique, Place Boïeldieu, Paris 2. Métro: Richelieu-Drouot. InfoTel.: 08 25 00 00 58

Salon du Roller - the roller folk come inside to show off their stuff to the folks wearing simple shoes. From Friday, 18. May to Sunday, 20. May; from 10:00 to 20:00; until 22:00 on Saturday. At the Espace Champeret,, Porte de Champeret, Paris 17. Métro: Porte de Champeret. InfoTel.: 01 40 38 07 08.

Paris Jazz Festival - is merely 22 free concerts, featuring names - Lisa Ekdahl, Salif Keita, Russell Malone, Didier Lockwood, Tania Maria, Buena Vista Social Club, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck - to name but a few. From Saturday, 19. May until Sunday, 29. July. Concerts are on weekends only at 16:30. At the Parc Floral de Paris, Route de la Pyramide, in the Bois de Vincennes. Paris 12. Métro: Château de Vincennes. InfoTel.: 01 55 94 20 20.

Strebelle à Paris - from the Opéra and along the Rue de la Paix, and filling the Place Vendôme, find the monumental - really huge! - sculptures of Olivier Strebelle, beginning on Tuesday, 15 May and on show until Friday, 15. July. Paris 1 and 2. Métro: Opéra or Madeleine. Free entry of course - open non-stop.

La Mode et l'Enfant - 'mode' did exist for kids, for at least three centuries before our own, and it is on display, including costumes for royal kids. From Wednesday, 16. May until 18. November; from 10:00 to 18:00 daily except Mondays. At the Musée de la Mode - Galleria, 10. Avenue Pierre-1st-de-Serbie, Paris 16. Métro: Iéna or Alma-Marceau. InfoTel.: 01 56 52 88 00.

The Zoo Story - by Edward Albee. Produced in English by the Insight America Touring Theater of Seattle under the direction of J D Lloyd and featuring Alan Becker and Matt Slinger. Hailed by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which said it was 'finely tuned.' From Thursday, 24. May until Saturday, 9. June, at 19:00; but on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays only. At the Sudden Théâtre, 14-bis. Rue Sainte-Isaure Paris 18. Métro: Jules-Joffrin or Simplon. ResaTel.: 01 42 62 35.

Springtime for Italy - Italian art could stand up to the test of modernism, from 1880 to 1910. In addition to this major exhibition also see Carlo Bugatti and Gabriele d'Annunzio. Until Sunday, 15. July. Open from 10:00 to 18:00; until 21:45 on Thursdays. On Sundays, opening at 9:00; and at 9:00 beginning on Thursday, 21. June. Musée d'Orsay, Quai de Anatole France, Paris 7. Métro: Solférino or RER Musée d'Orsay. InfoTel.: 01 40 49 48 14.

Les Primitifs Italiens - 50 newly restored rare works, by Giotto, Boticelli and Monaco; and four other major schools of Italian painting are represented in this importantphoto: cannes film festival 2001, poster exhibition. Prolonged until Sunday, 27. May; from 10:00 to 18:00 daily. At the Musée Andre-Jacquemart, 158. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 8. Métro: Miromesnil. InfoTel.: 01 42 89 04 91.

Dessin à Bologne - one hundred year's worth, from 1490 to 1580, from the Renaissance to the 'Réforme Tridentine,' otherwise known as the Council of Trent. Until Monday, 2. July; from 9:00 to 17:45 and until 21:45 on Wednesdays. Musée du Louvre, Pyramid, Cour Napoléon, Paris 1. Métro: Palais-Royal. InfoTel.: 01 40 20 51 51.

<>Paysages d'Italie - is an exhibition of fresh-air painters in Italy from 1780 to 1830, when 'grand tours' were popular for artists and other forerunners of tourists. Until Monday, 9. July. Except Tuesdays, usually from 10:00 to 20:00. At the Grand Palais, Clemanceau entry. Paris 8. Métro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau. InfoTel.: 01 44 13 17 17.

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