BN Paris

By Irene Fogarty

Having just got back from New York a few weeks ago, I’m all spent in every way! What a shame because every day, I’m tempted by the incredible summer sales here in Paris. Having started officially on June 30th they end Aug 3rd. So if you’re here the first three days in August, go go go!! Paris is empty so take advantage! And if you live here, August is the month to really enjoy it! Here’s why.

Au revoir tourists!

As one of the most visited cities in the world, you cannot avoid the hordes of tourists every day. And since I battle my way to work on the Champs Elysée every morning, it’s nice not seeing the throngs taking pictures of Louis Vuitton’s store window. Better yet, the métro is less chaotic and packed. In fact, I would almost say it’s rather pleasant in August with less stressed out commuters, the odd band playing and more cheerful vacationers.

Parc de la villette = popcorn

But if you think boring, think again. If you live here, or just visiting, you can take adavantage of all the fun, free events like open-air cinéma and live music. The one I love the most is the open air cinéma in Parc de la Vilette. Located in the far north of Paris, Parc de la Villete is at the center of the Cité de Sciences, an ultramodern complex with a cultural center, a concert hall, a museum, and much more. At 55 hectares (35 are green space), these grounds constitute the largest fully-landscaped park in the city of Paris. Showing some 36 movies a on a giant outdoor screen for free, makes for a simple yet thoroughly enjoyable evening. An estimated 10 million people visit the park each year to take part in an array of cultural activities. What I love it that you feel like your miles away from the city but there’s still a great buzz with families, couples and older people all getting together to see a film as the sun goes down. What’s also impressive is how well it’s organized. There’s valet parking for your bike, so no need to worry about it getting stolen. And once you find your place, you can start your picnic as the atmosphere builds up. In addition, the selection of films shown are ususally in English with french subtitles, making ti all very accessible.

To see what’s playing in August, click here, it’s in french but you can see all the titles.

http://www.villette.com/fr/parc-villette-agenda/spectacles-tous/cinema-plein-air-a-la-villette-2010.htm

Where: Main entrance at the Cité de Sciences et de L’Industrie, 30 rue Corentin-Cariou, 19th arrondissement.
Metro: Porte de la Villette or Porte de Pantin (Line 7, 5,)

‘Shakespeare in the Park’ – French style

If you love Mr. Shakespeare, you’re in for a treat in August too. While you brush up on your Shakespearean plays, you can sip some rosé and enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors théà¢tre at the Jardin Shakespeare in Paris’s verdant, Bois de Boulogne. From May through late September or early October, the open-air theater hosts plays, dance and musical performances.

Composed of classics from the Bard himself (sometimes in English) and French thespians like Molière, the program is always varied and usually includes one or two events– such as dance and music programs–great for kids. And even if you don’t understand a word of French Shakespeare, you’ll still enjoy the lush foliage of Bois de Boulogne with it’s 200 year-old purple beechtree.

Where: 102 route de Suresnes, Bois de Boulogne.
Metro: Porte Maillot (Line 1). For more info, click on the website (in french again, sorry!) http://www.jardinshakespeare.fr/ or call +33 (0)1 40 19 95 33. And by the way, they don’t accept debit or credit cards. Cash only!

A Savoir:

There are more dogs in Paris–approximately 300,000–than there are children. At least adults pick up after their kids!

Originally published August 2010
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