BN Paris

By Irene Fogarty

Right now on my iPhone it says 74F for today and will go up to 77F by Monday with those yellow sun icons all the way down. I’m talking about the weather for Paris. Let’s face it, it’s hot. And it’s been like this for almost 3 weeks. There’s no denying it feels and smells like summer. People are in shorts and short sleeves everywhere. So white legs and all, I’m accepting it: summer is here.

Sooo, what am I going to suggest you do this month? Hmmm well enjoy it bien sur! But my real advice? Forget about chez trop cher (the restos). Seriously a nià§oise salad with canned tuna and an overly oily dressing for 17€ is bloody annoying, especially when you know you can do it better and cheaper, yourself. But then again you’re a tourist and you didn’t bring your salad dryer with you did you? Fair enough. Go for a picnic. It’s cheap and charming, it’s outside and it’s oh so Parisian. Plus you won’t feel your blood boil waiting for the garà§on to finish his cigarette break to bring you the bill. So check out last year’s advice on picnicing. http://www.beautynewsnyc.com/in-this-issue/picnic-ing-in-paris/ And don’t forget a bottle of rosé and the opener !

But I’m not completely off the hook. I have to tell you about something fabulous…..in case there are a few rainy days, and I’m sure there will be. And of course, in case there’s another canicule (i.e., a heatwave), are a few places to find a bit culture with a bit of AC.

Nothing chronic about Cranach

After several months of closure, the Musée du Luxembourg comes back with a great exhibition, “Cranach in his time”. Sounds Irish I know but it’s actually all about a German artist, Lucas Cranach (1472 – 1553). Not so well-known here or anywhere other than Germany, he had an affluent art career in the first half of the 16th century. There’s something really fascinating about this guy. His elegant, sensual and refined portraits, female figures, engravings, and drawings are clearly influenced by the Renaissance, his travels in Europe and his encounters with major political and religious figures of his time. Take a good look at his self-portrait from 1531, it’s really enigmatic. Not a bad looking mec!

When: Open now through 23 May 2011.
Daily from 10am – 8pm, until 10pm on Fri and Sat. Full rate: 11.00 euros ($15).
For more info, http://www.museeduluxembourg.fr/en/

All that jazz

John Lennon once said ‘French rock tastes like English wine.’ No argument there. Probably the world’s worst musicians ever, (sorry, but get over Gainbsourg, its been 20 years. And Johnny Hallyday? A eurovision nightmare), the French should stick to all their other talents. Hey, you can’t be good at everything. That said, listen to a little jazz this month at the city’s most famous annual Jazz Festival in St. Germain for the 10th year running. Reserve a day or two for this popular event. Some of the acts are gratuit – free – but it’s best to reserve a place. And of course, there’s even a photo exhibit, ‘Ray Charles and Serge Gainsbourg’ – so there.

When: May 15 – 29th.
Metro: St. Germain du Prés.
Check out the site, in English also, http://www.festivaljazzsaintgermainparis.com/

The Lyrical Theatre, digital drama like never before.

Although I waited nearly two years for this, it actually took 8 in total. I passed these renovations for a long time and finally the work is done. The scaffolding has come down and voilà ! We have Paris’ new digital arts theatre in central Paris. Originally built in 1862, traces of its ornate facade reveals Napoleon III’s over ambitious second empire. But walk inside and an ultra-modern world of pulsating, bleeping, thumping digital art, music and film takes you to this century and beyond. Welcome to La Gaà®té Lyrique, “theatre for the digital arts” costing €83million ($130 million), developed and paid for by the City of Paris. (God bless those high taxes!). To be perfectly honest I went last Friday, (Good Friday) and it was closing early for the holiday weekend (Gotta love those French hoidays!). But I did get a 2 minute tour and a couple of words out of the guy working there.

He told me Gaà®té Lyrique is far more than just a theatre. In fact, according to Jérôme Delormas, the artistic director, ” it’s a tool box – a place of continual evolution, a laboratory of cultural motivations”. Immediately behind the lavish marble of the lobby is a web of new spaces set across seven floors and shaped to allow the world of digital art to go forth and multiply!

While I didn’t get the chance to explore the space, I could sense the two worlds of old and new coming together. Not like Koons in Versaille, or even the cold, industrial, modern, Pompidou Center (only 10 minute walk away) but more the acceptance that the digital world now lives with us side, even if the walls happen to be Napoleonic columns and marble structures of great grandeur. What was once the Theatre de Lyric is now the Gaite de Lyric. Take a look at the site, and the opening film, it’s very cool. http://www.gaite-lyrique.net/experience/ If you do enter, be sure to check out all the évents including the concerts in May, Olivia Ruiz plays on the 8th!

Le Gaà®té Lyrique
3 bis rue Papin, 75003 Paris. Metro: Réaumur-Sébastopol, (Lines, 3, 4), Arts et Métiers (Lines 3, 11), Strasbourg Saint-Denis, (Lines, 4, 8, 9)
Open Tues to Sun from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and closed on Mondays and national holidays.

Originally published May 2011
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