Friday, March 30, 2012

Something for the Weekend 30th (March 30th - April 1st)

Art and design events are like buses - you get none for ages, then three come along at once. Paris is hosting three such events this weekend, but you'll need to have plenty of spare cash if you want to visit all of them! For those with less flexible wallets, you'll also find some ideas of things to do for free below.

Reminder: April 1st, as well as being a day when you might find yourself with a fish on your back, is also the first Sunday of the month this time around, so that means plenty of free museums. You can find a complete list of the participating museums here.

Of the three art and design events this weekend, this is clearly the most pretentiously named and themed, but also potentially the most interesting. It takes its name from the so called 'golden ratio', (ie, if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one), a figure that is supposed to represent perfect aesthetic balance, and has the goal of highlighting 'sustainable luxury' (using a very clumsy 'the event of an other luxury' in its English tagline). It is primarily an event for professionals, but the general public can visit - if they have €18 to spare.

One additional advantage of this event is that it gives you the chance to visit the underused Cité de la Mode et du Design on the Seine.

More information here:

Pavillon des Arts de Design
The Tuileries gardens now seem to be the default venue for design events, despite the fact that it means hosting them inside large marquees. Although a city park, the Tuileries gardens are in fact owned and run by the French state, and more particularly the Ministry of Culture, who obviously see them as a way of making a little supplementary revenue. Once again, this event - which has a more sober and classical angle - has a hefty entrance price (€20).

Full information here.  

Art Paris Art Fair
The third event, the strangely named Art Paris Art Fair, is being held at the Grand Palais. Focussing more on contemporary art, it provides a fantastic location for browsing (and presumably few visitors will be buying) under the glass ceiling. Once again, a €20 entrance fee may put off more than one casual visitor.

Full details here:

Portes Ouvertes La Chapelle
If you're looking for something a lot more 'roots', La Chapelle is the place to go this weekend. Situated at the foot of Montmartre, this working class district is being slowly smartened up (or spoilt according to your viewpoint), but this weekend 'open doors' event will enable you to visit some of the old industrial sites that are now being used (often temporarily before renovation of demolition) by theatres, artists or just by weekend gardeners.  

The most interesting event of all? Probably a visit to the Bois Dormoy shared garden, which is in fact almost like a hidden miniature forest! On Saturday afternoon, there will even be a mini-music festival under the trees.!/2012/03/2eme-edition-des-portes-ouvertes-de-la.html

Crossing Borders
Street art in galleries is always hit and miss, but when it is a show that brings together some of the world's leading artists in the field, it should at least offer some interesting pieces. The very short show - lasting only 5 days - officially opens on Sunday, but if you wander along on Saturday evening, you may just be able to get in to the 'vernissage' event, where several of the artists will be present and 'performing'. 

From Sunday 1st to Thursday 5th April
Full details here:

Meet Young Film Makers
Finally, a message posted in last week's comments, but which sounds sufficiently interesting to be mentioned again here:

"Don’t forget meeting young film makers on March 31st, Cinema Action Christine (4 Rue Christine, 75006 Paris). Time: 13:40 (1:40 pm). Check it out here - you can order your ticket online, just 6 euros for a block of several films:

Come and meet a group of creative film makers on Saturday with interactive question and answer sessions after each film!"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Something for the Weekend (March 23rd - 25th)

Spring truly has arrived in Paris, so if you're in the city this weekend, it should be perfect. Here though are a few ideas that could make it even better. 


Dimanches au Galop
As mentioned here earlier this week, the Dimanches au Galop initiative returns this Sunday. The principle is a simple one - free entry for all the family each Sunday to one of the race courses around Paris for an afternoon of horseracing. To keep everyone amused, there are also many other activities on offer, or just wide open spaces and picnic tables.    

Sunday 25th, Hippodrome d'Auteuil
Full information here

Le Salon des vins des vignerons indépendents
Wine fairs should not be about consuming vast quantities of wine, but if you do so at this particular event, nobody will bat an eyelid. As it features only small, independent producers, there is none of the snobbery of larger events, but still plenty of quality produce to sample (and purchase). Simply pick up the complimentary glass at the entrance then visit as many of the stands as you like.

More information here:

For a free invitation for two people, click here, fill out the form and click Enter. You should then receive the invitation by e-mail.

Cheap books - for a good cause
SOS Helpline, an English language listening service in Paris, is organising a fund-raising book sale this Sunday. Paperbacks 1 Euro, Hardbacks 2 Euros, all money going to this very worthwhile cause.

SOS Help Book Sale
Sunday, March 25th, 12 pm to 4 pm
Orrick Law Offices
31 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75016

An Eco-Trail in Paris...
Paris is of course the city of the flâneur, but some people like to attack it with a bit more vigour. This weekend you can take part in 'a unique cross-country race in urban surroundings' completing trails, hikes and nordic walks over 80, 50 àr 30km, with each race ending at the Eiffel tower. If you'd prefer just to enjoy the sun, the event will probably at least offer a few good photo opportunities. 

More information here

And Eco gifts...
For a more leisurely time, visit the Marché Bio Ecolo (Organic and fair-trade market) this Sunday. As well as the gifts, food products and massages, you'll also be able to discover the interesting interior of the La Cartonnerie venue.

Full details here:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Les Dimanches au Galop: back on course this weekend!

Les Dimanches au Galop, held each Sunday in spring, is an attempt to turn horse-racing into a fun, family activity, and most definitely a successful one.

Paris has several impressive race tracks on its fringes, and incredibly most of the time these are almost empty, even during race meetings. With wide open green spaces, comfortable facilities (snack bars and picnic tables for those on a budget, or more impressive track-side restaurants for those looking to make it a real day out), it is always a surprise to find these venues so underpopulated.

On Sundays in March, April and May though this is different. By offering free entry (although entry prices to even the most important races of the year remain eminently affordable) and a whole host of activities for kids, the organisers have successfully managed to attract a faithful following for the events. Don't worry about overcrowding though - the multi-tiered stands offer space enough for everyone, and you'll easily be able to get a comfortable grandstand view of the races.

Gambling is carefully controlled in France, and outside of a race course you can only bet in licensed bars and place accumalor bets (the first three/four/five horses to finish). At the race course though you can place any sum you like on as many horses as you want.

Although gambling remains an important part of the sport (and of course what has made France an attractive venue for racehorse owners), the Dimanche au Galop event is more about the sideshow events for children. Alongside the pony rides and horserace themed activities, new this year is a race simulator - which promises to put you in the position of a jockey during a race!

  • 25 March: Hippodrome d’Auteuil
  • 1 April: Hippodrome de Saint-Cloud
  • 8 April: Hippodrome de Longchamp
  • 15 April: Hippodrome de Longchamp
  • 22 April: Hippodrome d’Auteuil
  • 29 April: Hippodrome de Longchamp
  • 6 May: Hippodrome d’Auteuil
  • 13 May: Hippodrome de Longchamp
Click here for more information:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Something for the Weekend (March 16th - 18th)

There are very little in the way of defining events this weekend in Paris, but who needs them? The sun is shining and spring has arrived (although rain is forecast for this weekend - typique hein!) 


Free entry to a selection of museums
Télérama is a rather dry and predictable cultural magazine, but they are often involved in the organisation of interesting events. This weekend is dedicated to museums with a number (over 300) across France offering free entry to readers of the magazine. In Paris, this includes the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, the Nissim de Camando and the Arts et Metiers.

To profit from the offer, simply buy a copy of the magazine then tear off the voucher on the cover - this will give you four free entries to the museum of your choice.   

Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th
Full information here on the participating museums across France:

Le Printemps du Cinema
The other good deal of the weekend (well, from Sunday to Tuesday) is the Printemps du Cinema. The idea is a simple one - for three days, all tickets in participating cinemas are €3.50. A good idea if it is raining this weekend, but expect large crowds at principal cinemas.

More information here:

A weekend in French
From time to time, the French need to remind themselves of the importance of their language. This week is the Semaine de la Langue Française which means a whole series of events across Paris, which, strangely enough, will be in French. In reality, it is an attempt to inspire locals to rediscover the beauty of their own language rather than to fight off nasty invading languages.
Combined with this event is the Salon du Livre at the Porte de Versailles. Although of course a festival of the French language, the event has also invited 20 Japanese authors and is also celebrating the city of Moscow.

Nature at the Parc Floral
If the sun is shining, the best place to observe the arrival of spring is the Parc Floral alongside the Bois de Vincennes. Amongst the plants, trees and an impressive children's play area is an exhibition space, and this weekend you'll also be able to celebrate 'nature' at the Salon Vivre autrement, which features 400 stands including organic and fair-trade food and wine, crafts and beauty products.

Full details here:

Note: Tickets are normally €7, but you can ask for an invitation here. All of the free press titles (Metro, 20 Minutes...) are also running ads that when cut out and presented at the entrance offer two free tickets to the event.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Something for the Weekend (March 9th-11th)

As Spring arrives, Paris celebrates food (as usual) and a carnival in the Tuileries. 


Colette Carnaval
I am perhaps the only person in Paris who doesn't understand the attraction of the Colette 'concept' shop (hey, a vegetarian couscous at €22 with a bottle of raindrops from Tasmania at €13!), but it's success cannot be denied. To celebrate its 15th birthday it is organising an orgy of consumerism a carnaval in a big tent in the Tuileries with lots of fun and games promised. Oh, and a lot of 'partner' brand names... 

Until March 10th and 11th
Full information here:

A Voir et A Manger
With the rise of cooking as some kind of leisure activity, competition and spectator sport (as well as the term 'culinary arts'), it is no surprise that all food related events are now incredibly complicated. A Voir and A Manger at the 104 (yes, we've now forgotten that this building previously housed the municipal undertakers, but it's true that it also wasn't too far from the La Villette meat market) is actually a whole host of events, including a festival of cookery books (this weekend), art installations, dance, live demonstrations, and possibly even some things to taste at some point.

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

And if that wasn't complicated enough, there's also another culinary event in the city this weekend. Coming at the end of the Paris fashion week though, it will at least be a relief to see some people with some flesh on their bones.

So what is the USP of this event? Well, it is seemingly part of some world tour, and features a series of 'F***ing Dinners' (their term, not mine) at partner restaurants, as well as a big party at the Bataclan on Sunday evening. Cooking the new rock and roll? Or is rock and roll the new cooking?

Maison de la Mutualité
March 10th and 11th
Full information here.

Bekini Party
Ever dreamed of being a DJ in Paris? Here's your opportunity. This Saturday night, turn up at the Trois Baudets arts centre armed with your MP3 player and a 10-minute playlist on a 'film soundtrack' theme, add your name to the list of particpants, then wait your turn!

Full details here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Art and Politics on International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women's Day, and to mark the date in Paris, resident artist Annie Waldman is organising an evening of art, debate (and wine!) at the Cité Internationale des Arts.

The evening, beginning at 7.30pm, features guest speakers from the worlds of politics and business, and combines this with an exhibition featuring the work of 14 female artists from the artist residence (and from very diverse origins). A great opportunity for stimulating debate and to discover a little-known part of the city.


March 8, 2012
18 rue de L'Hotel De Ville, 75004, Paris
Cite Internationale Des Arts Gallery