Thursday, January 27, 2011

Something for the Weekend (28th – 30th January)

A bit of sport, a bit of music, a bit of art and a bit of exploring. The perfect weekend!

Le Prix d'Amerique

If you have never been to a trotting event, this weekend is the perfect occasion. Trotting (harness racing) is a kind of horse-race in which the jockeys are not on the horses, but rather in a very uncomfortable-looking chariot behind. The pace is slower than a standard horse-race as the speed can never get beyond a trot, with the horse and jockey being eliminated if they quicken the steps. The spectacle though is as much in the crowd as on the track for this event which is expected to attract 40,000 spectators including many celebrities. There is even a special limited edition range of gifts!

Sunday January 30th

Hippodrome de Vincennes.
2 route de la Ferme 75012
5 € for adults, free for those under 18
Closest Station : Joinville Le Pont (RER A) where a free bus service will take you to the racetrack

Mo’Fo 11 Music Festival
This 3-day event features over 20 live groups as well as the Mo’Forum, an installation of independent artistic creation. Most of the groups are French, but the standout event is a very rare outing in France for cult Scottish band The Vaselines ( ) on Saturday night. Beware – tickets may be hard to find.

28th – 30th January

Mains d’Oeuvres
, 1, rue Charles Garnier 93 400 Saint-Ouen,
M° Porte de Clignancourt or Garibaldi

A Contemporary Art Fair in an Interesting Venue

Contemporary art fairs are frequent events in Paris and generally something to be viewed with suspicion. This event, held at the Halle Fressinet (an old freight storage facility on the Paris – Orléans railway line), is worth visiting for the architecture of the venue alone, although reports from last year said that the art that wasn’t up to much. Perhaps this year’s theme – portraits and autoportraits – will prove more inspirational.

27th – 30th January, 11am to 7pm

Halle Fressinet
55 Boulevard Auriol, 75013, M° Chevaleret or Quai de la Gare

Nouveaux tableaux parisiens

Since 2008, the east of Paris has been the site of heavy construction work with the installation of a new tramway (an extension of the system already running along the south of the city). To accompany this transformation of public space, the city of Paris had the good idea to ask four artists to document the changes taking place. In paintings, sketches and photography, these artists have captured an ephemeral vision of the city for future generations, but we can already appreciate their work at an exhibition in the pleasant and attrative Pavillon Carré de Baudouin.

Until 19th March

Pavillon Carré de Baudouin

121 rue de Ménilmontant

Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 6pm

More information on the project here:

Les Lundis de Lutèce
Sylvanie de Lutèce is back for her monthly Paris history discussion at the cool Baron Samedi bar on Monday evening (31st). This time round, a look at some poisoning scandals in 17th century Paris. Note that because of filming taking place in the bar on Monday, the event will begin at 9.30pm.

Baron Samedi

12 Rue des Goncourt, 75011 (M° Goncourt)

Un autre Lautrec à Pigalle

Recently taken over and renovated, Le Lautrec is fast becoming one of the most fashionable bars in Pigalle. Events are organised most evenings, with DJs in the bar or live music downstairs. If you haven’t been yet, the concert this Friday evening featuring two up and coming artists – Rebecca Meyer and Siobhan Wilson – may be the ideal moment.

Le Lautrec

63 Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 75009 (M° Pigalle)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Something for the Weekend (21st – 23rd January)

Suggestions for slightly off-beat activities in Paris this weekend.

Non-stop Monet
The Claude Monet exhibition at the Grand Palais, which has attracted over 900,000 people since it's opening, is coming to an end on Monday evening. To give as many people as possible a last chance to visit the show, the museum will be open non-stop from Friday 21st at 9am to Monday 24th at 9pm. So if the urge hits you to visit a gallery at 5am on Sunday morning this weekend, for once it will be possible!

For those not in the city this weekend and who haven't had a chance to visit the exhibition, here's another reminder that you can still get a flavour of the event on the fantastic official website -

It's better to burn than to fade away
As part of the Hors Pistes festival at Centre Pompidou, conceptual soundsmiths Soundwalk will be presenting their new creation: It's Better To Burn Out Than to Fade Away. This sound piece brings together iconic moments of sports history as commented on radio (from the French INA archives) in particular "sequences that find the radio host caught off-guard by the action of the moment, leaving his commentating role for a few seconds to reveal a pure emotion of joy or sadness, disappointment or victory". The installation leads the way to the other creations of the festival which include photos, videos and concerts, all more or less based around a sporting theme.

Paris is a battlefield
This weekend sees the opening of Peurs sur la ville, a fascinating photographic exploration of violence in Paris. Divided into three sections, what has been, what is happening today and what may happen in the future, the exhibition encourages us to reflect on war and peace in our cities.

New burlesque is the new...burlesque
Mathieu Amalric's 'Tournée' brought to attention the world of new burlesque, and has seemingly created a demand for the performances of the stars of his film. They will be putting on a show this weekend at the 104 Arts Centre, but if you don't have tickets, don't bother trying to find any - they're all gone!

Do not despair though, because Paris has its very own troupe of cabaret girls - les filles de joie - and they will be performing in two different locations this weekend. On Saturday night you'll find them at La Java for the Electro Swing Club de Paris (ambience vintage 20s, 30s, 40s..), and on Sunday they'll be at the Bellevilloise for the Dimanches de Menilmontant, an all-day event featuring a vintage flea market, live rock and roll, dance competitions and...a little burlesque!

Vinyl's not dead
Anyone over the age of 35 surely remembers the atmosphere of the record collectors fairs. These were not joyous events, but the meetings of vinyl addicts who were constantly in fear of seeing someone grab the disc they'd spent their whole adult life looking for. Those under the age of 35 may not understand, but they may well still be comforted to know that such events still exist in Paris. And curious enough to go and check one out.

Espace Champerret, 75017
22nd/23rd January

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Something for the Weekend (14th – 16th January)

The new year finally gets underway with ghosts, extra long football matches, disco punk and cakes stuffed with prizes. See below for more details.

Ghosts in the Louvre

A ghostly start to the year at the Musée du Louvre with an exhibition looking at how the theme of life after death has been treated in art. With a selection of sketches, photos and other forms of creation dating from the 15th to the beginning of the 20th century, the show investigates the shadowy forms that have titilated the imagination of artists in this period.

Revenants. Images, figures et récits du retour des morts
Musée du Louvre, Salle d'actualité des Arts graphiques

Until March 28th

The world’s longest football match

Who remembers the Panini albums, and doing swapsies to try and complete your collection? If you are of this particular vintage, you may be interested in the event being organised by the brand to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Over 35 hours on Saturday and Sunday, an attempt is being made to play the longest recorded football match on record. Visit the website for more information and the chance to play a part in the match, or simply roll up and watch the proceedings - even at 4am on Sunday morning!

Parc des Expositions, Porte de Versailles

A Musical Galette des Rois

If you still haven't found the fêve or even tasted the cake this year, visit the Fargo record shop this Saturday. They'll give you a piece and you may win not only the little ceramic figure inside the cake but also a whole host of other stuff.

Boutique Fargo

42 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011

Waking the Dead

Following criticism of its rather obscure programming, the 104 arts centre - a former municipal funeral service HQ - has recently started to get its act together and offer genuinely interesting events. This Friday evening it will be the venue for what promises to be quite a wild party based around the post-punk no wave movement that was popular in New York roughly between 1976 and 1982. Featuring live sets from some of the favourites of the period, including Lydia Lunch, and from those inspired by the era such as Paris Suit Yourself, there are also exhibitions and fashion shows promised. Those attending the party are encouraged to come dressed in 1976 vintage which can mean either punk or disco!

104 Rue d'Aubervilliers - 75019

Friday 14th, 9pm to 4am

Entrance: 15 €

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011: Events to look forward to

As I (and Paris as well it seems...) am still slowly getting back into the swing of things after the holidays, I will not make any suggestions for this weekend, but instead you can find below a list of events and exhbitions to look forward to in 2011.

2010 was a year for big name exhibitions in Paris, and although 2011 should be a little less brash, there are still plenty of interesting offerings. Find a list below, organised by date of opening.

Fear and Loathing

An intruiging and slightly unnerving start to the year at the Monnaie de Paris with a photographic exhibition entitled ‘Peurs sur la ville’ (Fear in the city). Organised around three different viewpoints, it sets out to challenge our conceptions of urban violence in Paris.

"Peurs sur la ville", Violences urbaines à Paris,
Monnaie de Paris - January 21st to April 17th

An unexpected reopening
Although Cranach, a German renaissance painter, may not be very well known, it is the fact that the Musée de Luxembourg is reopening which is the big story. When it closed at the end of 2009 for ‘refurbishment’, many people believed that it would be definitive.

"Cranach et son temps"
Musée de Luxembourg - February 9th to May 23rd

Food for thought

Even more curious than the event at the Monnaie de Paris, the Maison Rouge will be presenting a series of creations based around the theme of cannibalism. The title of the event – and its inspiration - comes from a Claude Lévi-Strauss quotation - "Nous sommes tous des cannibales. Après tout, le moyen le plus simple d’identifier autrui à soi-même, c’est encore de le manger"

"Tous cannibales"

La Maison Rouge - February 12th to May 15th

Brothers in arts
The wonderfully pensive paintings of Gustave Caillebotte, and the photos of his lesser known brother Martial, as well as documents on their life together.

"Dans l’intimité des frères Caillebotte, peintre et photographe"

Musée Jacquemart-André - March 25th to July 11th

A thoroughly modern Manet

Perhaps the biggest exhibition of the year will be at the Musée d’Orsay, with the first Manet retrospective in Paris since 1983. His role as a precursor of future movements is celebrated in this show in which he is declared the ‘inventor of modernity’.

"Manet, l'inventeur du moderne"

Musée d’Orsay - April 5th to July 3rd

Who do voodoo?
Opening the same day as the Manet exhibition - at the always interesting Fondation Cartier - is an exhibition centred on a series of voodoo objects from an important private collection.


Fondation Cartier, April 5th to September 25th

The year of Mexico
The biggest event of the 'Année de la Mexique' in France will surely be the Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera show at the Orangerie. Many other events are planned though (see list here) including an installation of giant statues by the artist Jose Rivelino alongside the Seine.

"Frida Kahlo et Diego Rivera"
Musée de l'Orangerie - September 27th to January 16th 2012

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010: That was the year that was

A year ago I wrote a list of events and exhibitions to look forward to in 2010 (on the website), but were my choices the right ones? Although there was predictable success for some of the large exhibitions (particularly both Turner and Monet at the Grand Palais), it was in the architecture section that my selections were widest of the mark. Should this be surprising though in a discipline which often seems to be subject to late deliveries?

Here is an update on those choices.

Cité de la Mode et du Design
Although this was the only new ‘opening’ of the four I mentioned, it is still very much an empty shell. Although it looks quite spectacular alongside the Seine, particularly at night, the Cité de la Mode et du Design has been the victim of its awkward position near the Gare d’Austerlitz. Used mainly as offices for a French fashion institute, it does see the occasional event, but its suberb rooftop garden is still sadly underused. A situation that will change in 2011?

The Louise-Catherine
This old Salvation Army barge, redesigned partly by Le Corbusier in the 1930s as a shelter, was due to undergo renovations and be turned into a temporary sculpture by the architect Shuhei Endo. No ‘Springtechture’ metallic spiral has appeared, and no further communications on the subject have been made. A mystery for 2011…

Fondation Louis Vuitton pour l'art contemporain
The second Frank Gehry building in Paris wasn’t delivered, as previously expected, in 2010, but I went past the spot several times during the year and know that buidling is taking place! Situated in the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, expect the traditional Gehry showy-structure to slowly appear from the ground during 2011, before finally opening in late 2012.

Gaîté Lyrique
Previously a famous ‘opérette’ theatre, the Gaîté lyrique is being transformed into a centre for digital arts. This time the prediction was only a few months out, and the centre will finally be opening its doors on March 2nd 2011. Something to definitely look forward to this year!