Thursday, January 26, 2012

Something for the Weekend (January 27th - 29th)

Stuck for ideas for things to do this weekend in Paris, or just want to step slightly off the beaten track? Try these suggestions...


Grand Marché d'Art Contemporain
Contemporary art fairs in Paris are generally hit and miss affairs, but this one has the benefit of being hosted in the Halle Freyssinet, an old railway building alongside the Gare d'Austerlitz. The theme this year, 'urbanism' also seems worthy of investigation, as does the focus on photography at the event. 

Until Sunday 29th 
Halle Freyssinet, 55 bd Vincent Auriol, 75013, M°Chevalret or Quai de la Gare
Tickets are normally €8, but you can download a free pass here:


Le Prix d'Amérique

The Prix d'Amérique is the 
world harness racing championship, and is held each year in January at the Hippodrome de Vincennes. It is always an interesting and spectacular event, and a bargain at only €5. Trotting rules are quite difficult to understand, but its easy to just be swept along by the colour and excitement of an event that attracts thousands of visitors. 

Sunday 29th, from 11am. Main race at 3.30pm
Hippodrome de Vincennes, RER Joinville le Pont
Full information here:

Rugby at the Stade de France
Before the start of the 6 Nations championship in a week's time, the Stade de France will be hosting a rugby game this Saturday afternoon. The match between Paris based Racing Metro and Toulouse offers good family fun at bargain prices.

The full range of
deals can be found here


Described by Gigs in Paris as "the opaque lo-fi independent music alternative to Rock en Seine’s transparent consumerism" Mo'Fo is more than just a procession of slightly gloomy bands. Alongside the music at the three-day event there are also stands selling clothes and music, cheap food and activities for children - all at the fantastic Mains d'Oeuvres venue.


Mini skirts and markets

A Saint Ouen double bill this weekend! The famous puces markets are celebrating 50 years of the mini-skirt with a series of events.

Chinese new year

The year of the dragon began on Monday 23rd, but this weekend will see a whole host of events celebrating the new year across the city. These will of course be in the three principal Chinese areas in the city - the 13th, the 3rd and Belleville - with many different processions and demonstrations. 

Full details here (in French, but times and dates should be clear enough!):

Friday, January 20, 2012

Something for the Weekend (January 20th - 22nd)

Stuck for ideas for things to do this weekend in Paris, or just want to step slightly off the beaten track? Try these suggestions...


Affordable Art

For those dreaming of becoming art collectors, but who lack the finances to do so, the Salon d'Art Abordable may offer a solution. Featuring the work of up-and-coming artists from many different disciplines, prices begin from around €150

Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd
La Bellevilloise, 19-21, rue Boyer 75020, M°Gambetta, Menilmontant


La France en Relief

In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the French produced a series of relief maps of its fortified towns for military purposes. These very large-scale plans later passed into the hands of private collectors, but several of them have now been brought together for a unique exhibition at the Grnad Palais.

Until February 17th, Le Grand Palais, Avenue Winston-Churchill, 75008

More information can be found here.

28 cultural installations in towns across the Hauts de Seine department that neighbours Paris will be participating in a series of scientific events that produce some form of 'illusion'.

Click here to download a press dossier that gives full information on activities and participating sites.

Giant flowers in the Tuileries

Although the exhibition of the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the Centre Pompidou ended on January 9th, three of her works can still be seen in the Jardin des Tuileries. Baptised 'Flowers that bloom at midnight', these monumental creations add a big splash of colour to a park currently wearing its dark winter clothes!

Until March 1st
Jardin des Tuileries

Paris des Chefs
You know when an event is verging on the pretentious when you struggle to understand what the event actually is. Paris des Chefs is one of these, but even if it does turn out to be a graniloquent but slightly futile event, there will still be the recently refurbished Maison de la Mutualité to admire.  

Labelled 'the festival for creative international culinary encounters' (no less), it aims to demonstrate the 'bridges emerging between the art of cooking and the differents fields of creation'. It's principal attraction during the three days of the event will be a series of 'duos', performed in the main auditorium, and featuring encounters between chefs and personalities from other disciplines including architecture, design, acting and music (for example, Anne-Sophie Pic and Carole Bouquet). 

This being a culinary event though, there will of course be a number of stands offering tastings!

Note: the event begins on Sunday and runs until Tuesday.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Something for the Weekend (January 13th - 15th)

Paris seems to be making a sleepy start to the year,weighed down by over-eating at Christmas followed by endless slices of the galette des rois in January.Expect calories to be burned off though this weekend at the sales, the twice-yearly battle for bargains!


Les Soldes

The winter and summer sales are very strictly controlled in France, with official start and end dates that all shops must respect. The winter sales began this Wednesday and will continue until February 14th (how romantic...), but you can expect most bargains to be gone after this weekend. To profit from this period, most major shops and shopping areas will be open all weekend, Sunday included.

Damien Hirst - the complete spot paintings

Artist/businessman Damien Hirst launched this Thursday an exhibition of his spot paintings simultaneously in the eleven Gagosian galleries around the world, one of which is in Paris. If you can prove that you have visited all eleven shows, you may even win a spot painting of your own!

Continuing on a business theme, concept store Colette will be selling official spotty merchandising including t-shirts, dresses, mugs and even iron-on spots!

Until February 18th, Gagosian Gallery, 4 rue de Ponthieu 75008

Colette, 213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001

Ahoy, an Island!
Staying on a British theme, and in the same arrondissement, eleven young British artists have been grouped together in one exhibition to show the possibilities of an island.

Au loin, une île !
Until February 11th
Fondation d’entreprise Ricard, 12 rue Boissy d'Anglas, 75008

Cartexpo - postcards from another age

Claiming to be the largest vintage postcard show in Paris, Cartexpo brings together hundreds of postcard dealers under the same roof. An excellent opportunity to find interesting and unusual snaps of Paris and other places around the world.

Friday 13th and Saturday 14th January
Espace Champerret, 6 rue Jean Ostreicher,75017 (M° Porte de Champerret)

Half price tickets available if you download this form:

Eating and Sleeping
Jules et Jim
Jules et Jim is the name of Truffaut's classic film, but also now the name of the hippest new hotel in Paris. Centrally placed in the rising 3rd arrondissement, it has been much spoken about - and much delayed - but is now open for business. I'm not sure if you will find Catherine at the hotel, but you will find a bar which is open to everybody, including at breakfast time.

Le Camion qui Fume
Marketing itself as Paris's first gourmet food truck (does this mean the burger vans near the Parc des Princes on match days don't count?), Le Camion qui Fume has managed to convert Parisians in little over one month to become consumers of hamburgers on street corners.

That said, according to all reports these are particularly good burgers, using freshly sourced ingredients, which has got people looking online to see where the van will be parked up each day. If you are in either of the places below this weekend you will probably be tempted to give it a go, but note that at the Point Ephemere in particular, people have reported a one-hour wait to order, then a further hour before getting the food!

Porte Maillot, 11am - 2.15pm

Point Ephemere, 7pm - 10.30pm 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Paris in 2012: what not to miss this year

For those living in the city, or for those just planning a short visit, here is a list of some of the most interesting cultural events of the year, and some of the key dates.

Art Superstars

Once again, Paris will be hosting plenty of big name exhibitions this year. Book in advance if you want to avoid long queues!

Debussy, la musique et les arts
How Debussy was influenced by poetry and the visuals arts.

Musée de l'Orangerie
21st February - 11th June

The first major show of the year shows how Matisse influenced modernism.

Centre Pompidou
7th March - 18th June

Degas et le nu

First major retrospective on Degas in Paris since 1988 focusses on his nudes.

Musée d'Orsay
13th March - 1st July

Edward Hopper

Grand Palais
10th October - 28th January 2013

Salvador Dalí

The year finishes with a major retrospective on the work of the Spanish surrealist.
Centre Pompidou

21st November - 25th March 2013

Paris the Superstar
Paris will also be the star of several exhibitions, notably photographic, this year.

Eugène Atget
A unique opportunity to discover some previously undisplayed work from one of the city's most famous eyes. Also the opportunity to discover Emmanuel Pottier, a contemporary of Atget who is still almost unknown.
Musée Carnavalet
18th April - 29th July

Doisneau, Paris les Halles
Doisneau exhibitions are relatively common, but this one features just his pictures of Les Halles when it was still the 'belly of Paris', including many later pictures in colour.
Hotel de Ville
8th February - 28th April

Paris vu par Hollywood
How Hollywood has featured Paris, from early recreations in US studios to more recent filmings on the city's streets.
Hotel de Ville
16th May - 25th August

Other Superstars  
Two other exhibitions promise to be quite spectacular, without any particular star names.

Phares (lighthouses)
Over more than 1,000m², the history and life of lighthouses, and how they have influenced literature and the cinema.
Musée national de la Marine
7th March - 4th November

Beauté animale

An exhibition in which only pictures of animals feature, with over 130 materpieces from the renaissance to today.

Grand Palais
21st March - 16th July

Here are the key dayes for the major events in the city this year. 
Paris Face Cachée
A new initiative aiming to show the hidden side of the city, through a series of events and activities across one weekend. More information on this event soon on Invisible Paris.

February 4th and 5th

La Nuit des musées
The European Nuit des Musées, when museums across the continent open their doors late into the night, will be held this year on May 19th. 

Journées du Patrimoine 
The country's heritage days will be held ove the weekend of the 15th and 16th September.

Paris Plage

The eighth edition of Nuit européenne des musées, where museums open their doors until late into the night, will be held on Saturday 19th May. 

Nuit Blanche

The Nuit Blanche 2012 will be held on the night of Saturday October 6th. Expect more information on themes and featured districts later in the year.
Paris Plage will run once again alongside the Seine and the Bassin de la Villette in July and August. Exact dates will be communicated later in the year.