Saturday, April 21, 2012

Something for the Week (April 20th - 29th)

Paris weekends is taking a break from Paris for a few days, but here are a few suggestions for those in the city until the end of the month.

Record Store Day
On Saturday 21st, independent record stores the world over will be celebrating the 5th annual record store day, with several events being planned for Paris. Two highlights will be two stores that are also record labels and event organisers; Balades Sonores in the 9th ( where breakfast will be served from 10am, and Fargo in the 11th ( where a day of special events is planned.

For full information on events in Paris and across the rest of France see here:

Official opening of the Palais de Tokyo 
After 10 months of renovations, the Palais de Tokyo officially reopened on April 20th with the launch of the La Triennale show. What was a space with much freely on display though seems to have become one charging an €8 access fee, so it remains to be seen whether it will still deserve to keep it's self proclaimed 'anti-museum' and 'rebel' tags.

Intersquat festival 
For those looking for something truly rebellious, the annual intersquat festival should offer an interesting alternative. Events include film shows, music, debates and even barbecues! 

Until May 6th

Full information here:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

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

Spring is the time of births and rebirths, so it is entirely suitable that this weekend in Paris will see the unveiling of a new space as well as two freshly renovated ones.

'Les Docks' finally opens...
After delays that have seemingly dragged on for several years, it is a brave decision to schedule the official opening of Les Docks (or is it the Cité de la Mode et du Design - the name isn't very clear) for a Friday the 13th! Previously a dockside warehouse alongside the Seine near the Gare d'Austerlitz, the space was redesigned by architects Jakob + MacFarlane and was originally supposed to open in 2010. It is already home in part to a fashion school, but this weekend sees the opening of public areas including shops and cafés as well as exhibition spaces. The more spectacular rooftop zones will open closer to the summer, and will include a terrace nightclub.

Launching the new spaces are exhibitions on the creations of Balenciaga and Comme des Garçons, organised in association with the Musée Galliera (itself currently closed!).

Full information here:

...and the Palais de Tokyo 'reopens'... 
The city's leading modern arts venue reopens its doors this Thursday and Friday for 30 hours non-stop - then closes them again for a week before the official re-opening on the 20th. The renovations have increased the size of the space, making it the biggest contemporary art centre in the world, but expect it to look like a work in progress for quite a while yet (possibly forever).

...and the Trabendo too 
I have to admit that when I received notice that the Trabendo - a rather sweaty live music venue in the Parc de la Villette - was to reopen this weekend, I hadn't even noticed that it had been closed. It was originally designed as a jazz venue (called Hot Brass), but had veered more towards rock over the years, but the owners felt that it lacked the charm necessary to attract crowds over to this corner of the city. Redesigned in 'post-bahaus' style (whatever that is), it now also contains an outdoor 'guingette' bar and cheap(ish) drinks which should bring people to its doors in the summer.

The official re-launch is this Saturday, with a free concert featuring a rare appearance in Paris from ex-member of Spacemen 3, Sonic Boom.

More information here:

Ca et Là
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Pavillon Neuflize OBC, the creation laboratory of Palais de Tokyo, an exhibition will be held at the Fondation d'entreprise Ricard and beyond. Actually, it is the 'beyond' part that is important (and interesting) as almost nothing will be display at the Fondation d'entreprise Ricard. Instead artists who have been involved with the lab over the last 10 years will be displaying creations on sites across Paris (and the rest of the world in some cases!).

Full information on the particpants and locations on this spectacularly unuser-friendly website: And if you think that website is tricky to navigate, try checking out the event's accompanying map

More details on this event soon on Invisible Paris, featuring a creation by Davide Bertocchi in the Palais d'Iéna.

Les dimanches au galop
Free horse racing fun for all the family continues this Sunday with another chance to experience the city's most prestigious track, Longchamp.

More information here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sponsored post: Seeing the best of Paris on a budget

Paris is a great destination for a short break from the UK - it's easy and quick to reach and is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Even if you don't have much cash to splash, you can still enjoy all the French capital has to offer.

Here are some top tips on getting the most out of a trip to Paris if you're on a budget.

Go for a walk

Much of Paris's appeal is in its architecture and it'd be a shame to miss out on all the wonderful buildings that line its streets by relying solely on the metro system to shuttle you from one monument to the next.

So, head to a tourist information office - or even ask in your hotel - and pick up a free map of the city. You should be able to navigate your way around the main sights relatively easily on foot - after all, you're not likely to miss the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe!

Don't miss out on Notre Dame Cathedral - the building is astounding and, as it's free to enter, it's worth stepping inside to fully appreciate the architectural design of this place of worship. If you're feeling energetic, climb the 387 steps of its tower for some amazing views of the Parisian skyline.

One of my favourite spots in the city is the Sacre Couer. The best thing about walking to this beautiful church is that you'll be able to explore the winding streets of Montmartre along the way. Once you get there, take a few minutes to soak up the image of the stunning white domes on the steps leading up to the monument.

Climb the Eiffel Tower

If you're desperate to see the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower, the cheapest way to do it is to climb the steps. Buying a ticket that involves a bit of legwork will cost less than half of the fare to jump in the elevator, currently €4.70 (£3.99) as opposed to €8.20 for the lift to the second floor or €13.40 for a ride to the very top.

I actually prefer going up the stairs, as it gives you a chance to really appreciate this massive structure. You'll gradually be able to see more of Paris as you climb and, when you reach the top, you can feel very smug that you've walked up all those stairs, rather than taking the easy option!

A word of advice - take refreshments with you, otherwise you'll be paying a premium if you want to buy a drink or some food from the restaurant at the top!

Visit a museum

If you want to explore the Louvre during your trip, make sure you buy a ticket for one of the days when it has late-night opening (Wednesday or Friday when it's open from 9am to 9.45pm) to make the most of your entrance fee, which is €10 if you only want to see the permanent collections, or €14 for access to these and temporary exhibitions. If, however, you're not so bothered about seeing the Mona Lisa in all its glory, you can always head to one of Paris's galleries offering free entry.

The Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris doesn't charge to browse its permanent collection, although you will have to pay if you want to see any of its temporary exhibitions, while the Centre Georges Pompidou Ateleir Brancusi and Le Plateau - Centre d'art contemporain are both completely free.

Alternatively, you could go for something truly unique, like a visit to the Musee du Parfum, which is dedicated to the art of perfume making; or the Musee National de la Legion d'honneur et des ordres de chevalerie, where you can see all manner of installations relating to the history of French decoration since the time of Louis XI. Both offer free entry all year round.

This post was written on behalf of, a site offering inspiration and recommendations to help you plan the perfect short break.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Something for the Weekend (April 6th - 8th)

It's Easter weekend which as well as chocolate and rabbits, also means public holidays and possible closures. Friday is not a holiday in France, but Monday is, and it is this day which may pose the most difficulties.

Closed on Sunday and Monday
All municipal museums (Musée Victor Hugo, le Petit Palais, le Musée des Arts modernes..)

Closed on Monday
The Musée d'Orsay and the Musée Auguste Rodin

However, here are some suggestions for activities that will definitely be going ahead. 

Les dimanches au galop
Free horse racing fun for all the family continues this Sunday with the first meeting of the season at the city's most prestigious track, Longchamp.

More information here.

Easter egg hunts
Easter is pretty much synonymous these days with crawling around under bushes looking for eggs. This year, this need not only be an activity for children, as an adults version has also been organised across Paris.

A list of events for children can be found here. Many are in the large parks outside Paris, but there are some being organised in museums or at the Buttes Chaumont park:

For adults, I already featured the event on the blog earlier this week:

Beauté animale
One of the most interesting exhibitions in the city currently is being held at the Grand Palais. The exhibition features around 130 creations from the Renaissance to the present day, and only works in which the animal is shown on its own and for itself, without any human presence, are included. The creations, fascinating in themselves, also tell us much about the links between art and science, and how creatures have influenced - and still continue to influence - artists.

Full information on the exhibition, as well as online ticket purchasing, can be found here

Free Soup!
If you're at the Grand Palais on Saturday, why not get yourself a free bowl of Tom Ka Thai soup? Interestingly, this 'happening' is not to promote a new brand, but actually an art installation (Soup/No Soup) launching the La Triennale show.

More details here:

A Sring Ball
Although the weather promises to be grey or damp, you can still get into a Spring mood by going to a ball. The event will be held both inside and outside La Rotonde alongside the canal at Stalingrad. There will be free events outside in the late afternoon/early evening (jugglers, fire eaters, grafitti lessons, music) and a more traditional (well, if burlesque dancers and body painting can be considered traditional) ball indoors later on.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A giant Easter Egg hunt in Paris - with big prizes!

Urban Pulse is a new social media application for Paris which aims to 'vous faire sortir de chez vous'. To launch their new concept, the creators have organised a giant Easter Egg hunt across the capital using their app.

Thousands of eggs (in reality coloured bits of paper) will be hidden across five parts of Paris - Bastille, Saint-Michel, Montparnasse, Châtelet et Haussmann. Discovering these gives you points, and you can gain additional points by finding the two-metre high egg that will be walking across Paris during the weekend, or the 'funky-crazy' rabbits that will be riding across the city on Velib bicycles (why is this all starting to sound a bit like Donnie Darko...?)

Participants must flash the different QRCodes on these eggs (or animals) with the Urban Pulse application (which you can download for free on the App Store and Google Play) in order to win prizes which include a five-day trip to New York. The first QRCode is included here - en avant première - in the image above.

For full information, see