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Welcome 2 France Newsletter February 2009
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FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER HIGHLIGHTS

*Romance in PARadISe
*The Lover's Month in Paris
*Calendar of Events - February, 2009



Welcome2France continues to add luxurious apartments to their glowing list of Parisian rentals from which you may choose a wonderful "home" while visiting the City of Lights.

This February we are featuring two bright, sunny apartments with absolutely perfect locations. Please have a look at the Marais Vaucanson apartment in the Marais. It is decorated in clean, modern style and has a wonderful balcony that runs the entire length of the flat. From it you can see the ancient Musee Arts et Metiers and in the distance, the beautiful Sacre Coeur.

The second featured home is the St Louis Island II on the Ile-St-Louis right in the center of Paris itself. You will be living on the top floor of a romantic 18th century building with very high ceilings and tons of light. Nice for February!

Either of these Parisian homes would make for a perfect stay in Paris.



PARadISe in Romantic Paris
My husband, Peter, and I arrived in Paris on February 1st. On the plane, he said, "What shall we do for Valentine's Day in Paris?" My first thought was that just being in Paris was enough of a fabulous Valentine's Day experience.

But, of course, Paris is the most romantic city in the world and naturally exploring this realm in February will be perfection. Flowers, perfume, chocolates and walking hand-in-hand on the banks of the Seine = a Valentine's PARadISe.

Where to begin....

CHOCOLATES!
You cannot walk 100 feet in Paris without seeing a chocolate shop. The window displays will make you crazy. The array is infinite and the aromas divine. The French know chocolate! Even on grocery store shelves you will find quality chocolate bars at very low prices, which make excellent gifts. But, do not deny yourself the pleasure of browsing in any of the fine chocolate maisons.

Our favorites:
Christian Constant - 37, rue d'Assas in the 6th Arrondissement. Metro: Saint-Placide. His handmade goodies are famously flavored with spices and florals. Amazing.

La Maison du Chocolat - 225, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore in the 8th Arrondissement. Metro: Ternes. What this house does with ganaches, truffles, pralines and even hot chocolate will leave you breathless.

Fauchon - 24-26, place de la Madeleine in the 8th Arrondissement. Metro: Madeleine. To me, it's a toss-up on whether I'd like a little blue box from Tiffany's, or a pink and black Fauchon box filled with chocolates! Allow plenty of time to explore this treasure-trove.

FLOWERS
A beautiful bouquet of flowers on Valentine's Day is simply a requirement, don't you think? And, visiting the 'fleur marches' of Paris, made famous in so very many romantic films, will be a truly unforgettable Parisian experience. Paris was once known world-wide for its flower markets, but today only a few still exist...and, they are extremely fabulous.

Explore them at:
Marche aux Fleurs on Ile-de-la-Cite - Place Louis-Lepine in the 4th Arrondissement. Metro: Cite. A colorful surprise as you emerge from the Metro beneath. This market specializes in orchids.

Marche aux Fleurs Madeleine - Place de la Madeleine in the 8th Arrondissement. Metro: Madeleine. Set in the shadows of that perfectly proportioned church, this market is a colorful note amongst the gray buildings of Place de la Madeleine. Look around the square to see more gourmet food shops in one place than you could ever imagine possible.

Marche aux Fleurs Ternes - Place des Ternes in the 8th Arrondissement. Metro: Ternes. We happened upon this ring of flower stalls in the center of the Place quite by accident while searching out a particular restaurant one day. A serendipitous discovery of a new side view of the Arc-de-Triomphe, just up the street, was an eye-opening sight. Finding these little surprises on the streets of Paris is what makes a day there so fun and unique.

PERFUMES
Could there be a more perfect Valentine's Day gift than that of French perfume? I doubt it! Scents are available in several strengths, according to the ratio of concentrate to alcohol. Eau de Toilette is 5-12% concentrate, Eau de Parfum is 13-20% and Parfum Luxe will be 20%+. Prices reflect the differences.

I'm listing two perfumeries - one that sell certain scents only available in Paris (very unique gift!) and one house that is close to my heart:

Guerlain - 68, avenue des Champs-Elysees in the 8th Arrondissement. Metro: Franklin-D-Roosevelt. Exclusive scents only found in Paris, plus a complete line of beauty products. And, all set in a gorgeous shop, complete with lavish chandeliers.

Parfums Caron - 34, avenue Montaigne in the 8th Arrondissement. Metro: Alma-Marceau. Since the turn of the century, this house has produced famous essences, some only available in Paris.

Jean Patou - 5, rue Castiglione in the 1st Arrondissement. Metro: Tuileries. I was gifted with a bottle of "Joy" in high school and have since loved the scent of roses and jasmine (farmed from the Grasse region in the South of France). Called 'the most costliest perfume in the world' one whiff will tell you why. Patou was the first to create the perfume bar, where clients can sniff, select and create their own scents from 2000 choices. The "Bijou" bottle alone is a work of art, created by an architect and fashioned in Baccarat crystal with 18-carat gold-leafed label and a silver-lined stopper tied in gold thread using a "hidden" knot. Chic doesn't begin to describe it.

ROMANTIC WALKS in PARIS
My fourth element of Parisian romance has to be a walk, hand-in-hand, with my soul-mate. Nowhere in the world can a stroll be more lovely, romantic, and breath-taking than in Paris. Little wonder that the most romantic movies in the world are filmed here.

The Islands, Ile-de-la-Cite and Ile-Saint-Louis
A romantic promenade on these islands brings to mind ancient lovers, weddings in Cathedral Notre-Dame and beautiful mansions (hotels).

In the Ancien Cloitre Quartier formed by the rue du Cloitre-Notre-Dame and the quai des Fleurs, just north of Notre-Dame, is a jumble of Medieval streets that escaped demolition by Baron Haussmann. Metro: Cite.

Ancient Lovers
In the Middle-Ages, Peter Abelard, known for his love poems and resistance to the faith, lived with a Cathedral clergyman, Fulbert. Fulbert's niece, Heloise, and Abelard became lovers. When she became pregnant, the outraged Fulbert had Abelard castrated and exiled to a monastery. Heloise was sent to a nunnery. So, barely romantic.

But, the letters that the two ill-fated lovers continued to exchange made their love legendary. The clergyman's house is located at 10, rue Chanoinesse and has a plaque commemorating the lovers.

The two were ultimately reunited, in death and burial, at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in the 12th century. They are buried in the same crypt and are the oldest residents of that famous address. The abbesses who added Heloise's body to Abelard's crypt swore that his arms opened to receive her in an eternal embrace. Tres romantic!

Notre-Dame Weddings
The wedding of Marguerite of Valois, sister of King Charles IX, in Notre-Dame took place in 1527.

A rather strange ceremony since the bride stood in the chancel and the groom, Henri of Navarre, stood alone at the door. He was a Protestant Hugeunot and she was Catholic. This marriage caused uprisings and massacres.

Then, in 1589, Henri was crowned King Henri IV, the first Bourbon king of a Catholic France, and he finally converted to Catholicism - saying, "Paris was well worth a Mass".

Charles I of England married Henriette Maria (sister of the French King Louis XIII) by proxy in 1625. The purpose of the union was to secure an alliance between the two nations. A later true ceremony took place in Notre-Dame.

The Hotels (mansions) of the Islands
Place Dauphine - Henry IV, in 1607, remodeled this former royal garden in a triangular square and named it after his son, the Dauphin, who was to be the future King Louis XIII. He had houses of brick and white stone, all alike, built around the triangle, resulting in a very pleasing arrangement. One side of the triangle was razed to accommodate an expansion of the Palais-de-Justice. The house at #14 is the best example of original features. We like to sit at a sidewalk cafe and watch the men play "Petanque" on the sandy park grounds. Metro: Pont-Neuf.

Hotel Lambert - 2, rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Ille. Metro: Sully-Morland. Built in the 17th-century and now owned by the Rothschild family. It is immense and has an impressive bowed front entrance. My sister-in-law, Debbie, and I marveled one night while cruising up the Seine at the huge, lavish chandeliers lit inside as we sailed by. The building was designed by Le Vau and decorated by Le Brun, both famous for their work at Chateau de Versailles. Voltaire once lived here, as did an exiled Polish prince who took piano lessons from Chopin here.

The Duke's House - 16, rue de Bretonvilliers. Metro: Sully-Morland. Built in 1614 by one of the great marshalls of the 18th-century. He spent a great deal of his life in the Bastille Prison because he continually kept taking the king's mistresses as his lovers. One wonders why he needed such a lavish house since he was rarely home.

Hotel-de-Jassaud - 19, quai de Bourbon. Metro: Pont Marie. This was the atelier of Camille Claudel in 1899, mistress of Rodin. He gave her the plaque on the door saying, "Your absence torments me". Very ironic since he confined her to a mental institute for the last 30 years of her life. Note the pediments on the ornate facade which are decorated with garlands.

Hotel-de-Lauzun - 17, quai de Lauzun. Metro: Pont Marie. Now owned by the city of Paris and used for public receptions, it is noted for its fish-shaped drainpipes. They are a lovely verdigris color with what looks like gold-leaf decorations.

Truly, it doesn't matter whether you choose to buy chocolates, perfume or flowers, or take your loved one on a Parisian stroll - Paris is definitely a PARadIS for lovers.


Jean E. Arnevick, Olympia, Washington, U.S.A.



The Lover's Month in Paris

Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who must be a romantic at heart, has ordered that those luminous panels one sees all over Paris that are used to post mundane city information like road closures, etc., are to have a new purpose on Valentine's Day.

You may post a message to your loved one(s) on one of these lighted signs by going online after February 1st and typing it in at paris.fr

I would imagine we will be seeing marriage proposals, admissions of infatuation and love notes all over Paris that day. What a lovely way to say, "Je t'aime".

February 22nd:
"Carnaval de Paris - Promenade du Boeuf Gras" or Fat Cow Parade
On rue le Vau in the 20th Arrondissement. Metro: Porte de Bagnolet.
A tradition since 1274, this parade led by the Fat Cow is a raucous, brash and musical procession through city streets. I am guessing that this is the Parisian version of New Orlean's Mardi Gras.


Jean E. Arnevick, Olympia, Washington, U.S.A.




CALENDAR OF EVENTS - February, 2009


ART

February 5 - May 11
"David LaChapelle Retrospective" - American surrealist photographer
Hotel de la Monnaie
11, quai de Conti - 6th Arrondissement
Please see website for more information
monnaiedeparis.com

Until February 9
"Abilgaard at the Louvre" - 18th century Nordic artist
Musee du Louvre
99, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement
€9,00
louvre.fr

Until February 9
"Jackson Pollock et le Chamanisme" - The artist's interests in shamans
La Pinacotheque
28, place de la Madeleine - 8th Arrondissement
€7,00 - 9,00
pinacotheque.com

February 13 - May 24
"La Fabrique des Reves" - Giorgio de Chirico
Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11, avenue du President Wilson - 16th Arrondissement
Please see website for more information
mam.paris.fr

Until February 22
"From Miro to Warhol, the Berardo Collection" - Cubism, Surrealism, Pop-Art
Musee de Luxembourg
19, rue de Vaugirard - 7th Arrondissement
€11,00
museeduluxembourg.fr

February 27 - September 15
"Suzanne Valadon et Maurice Utrillo" - Mother and son's art
La Pinacotheque
28, place de la Madeleine - 8th Arrondissement
€7,00 - 9,00
pinacotheque.com

All of February - March 2
"Delacroix et La Photographie" - His photographs
Musee Eugene-Delacroix
6, rue de Ferstenberg - 6th Arrondissement
€6,00 - 9,00
musee-delacroix.fr

All of February - April 12
"Antoine et Manuel, Un Duo Graphistes" - Graphic Artists
Musee de la Arts Decoratifs
107-111, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement
€6,50 - 8,00
lesartsdecoratifs.fr




EXHIBITIONS



February 5 - 9
"Salon du Bien-Etre, Medecine Douce et Thalasso" - Healthy living expo
Porte de Versailles
Hall 2.2 - 15th Arrondissement
€5,00 - 8,00; Under 12: Free
salon-medecinedouce.com

February 6 - 15
"Retromobile" - Racing machines
Porte de Versailles
Pavillon 7.3 - 15th Arrondissement
€13,00
retromobile.fr

February 21 - March 1
"International Agricultural Show"
Porte de Versailles
15th Arrondissement
€12,00; Trade visitors: Free
salon-agriculture.com

Until February 28
"L'homme Expose" - A perspective on the history of man
Le Musee de l'Homme in Palais de Chaillot
17, place du Trocadero - 16th Arrondissement
€5,00 - 8,00; Under 4: Free
mnhn.fr

All of February - March 15
"Honneur et Gloire: Tresors de la Collection Spada" - 15th-21st century decorative arts
Musee National de la Legion d'Honneur
2, rue de la Legion d'Honneur - 7th Arrondissement
Free
musee-legiondhonneur.fr


All of February - March 15
"Par Amour Pour les Poupees" - the Odin Collection of dolls
Musee National de la Poupee
Impasse Berthaud, near 22, rue Beaubourg - 3rd Arrondissement
€5,00 - 7,00
museedelapoupeeparis.com

All of February - April 30
"Atmosphere - Le Climat Revele par les Glaces" - Climate changes & the Polar ice caps
Musee des Arts-et-Metiers
60, rue Reaumur - 3rd Arrondissement
€3,50 - 5,50
arts-et-metiers.net

All of February - August 16
"Epidemik" - History of epidemics
Cite des Sciences
30, avenue Corentin-Celtou - 19th Arrondissement
€6,00 - 8,00
cite-sciences.fr



MUSIC



February 25 - 27
"AC/DC" - in concert
Palais Omnisport de Paris - Bercy
8, boulevard de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€62,00 - 73,00
bercy.fr



FILM, THEATER and DANCE



February 3, 5 and 8
"Yvonne, Princesse e Bourgogne" = Tragedy, Comedy, Music
Palais Garnier
1, place de la Opera - 9th Arrondissement
€7,00 - 138,00
operadeparis.fr

February 3,4,9 - 12, 14, 18,21,24 and 26
"Madame Butterfly" - Opera
Opera Bastille
Place de la Bastille - 12th Arrondissement
€5,00 - 138,00
operadeparis.fr

February 4,6,7 and 9 - 14
"Ballet de l'Opera"
Palais Garnier
1, place de la Opera - 9th Arrondissement
€6,00 - 85,00
operadeparis.fr



OTHER



February 7 - 15
"Open Gaz de France" - Women's Tennis
Stade Pierre de Coubertin
82, avenue Georges Lafont - 16th Arrondissement
€14,00 - 70,00
opengdfsuez.com

February 7 - 8
"Tournoi de Paris Ile-de-France-Grand Chelem" - Judo
Palais Omnisport de Paris - Bercy
8, boulevard de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€24,00 - 44,00
bercy.fr

February 16 - December 29
"Grande Ecurie" - Grand Stables of Versailles
Chateau de Versailles
Avenue Rockfeller - Versailles, France
€6,00
acadequestre.fr

All of February - March 10
"Ice Skating" - on specially designed artificial ice rinks
2 locations:
Place de l'Hotel-de-Ville - 4th Arrondissement
and
Patinoire Montparnasse
Place Raoul Daultry - 15th Arrondissement
Both free; Skate rental: €5,00



Jean E. Arnevick, Olympia, Washington, U.S.A.





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