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Welcome 2 France Newsletter April 2010
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April Newsletter Highlights

· Listening to Jazz at Cercle Suédois
· Wine Tasting Tours by Best Friend in Paris
· Looking French with Scarves from Bamyan
· Shopping Paris Markets
· Tasting France at the Agricultural Salon
· Calendar of Events for April
· Looking Ahead to May




This Month's Featured Apartments


Saint Germain des Pres - Rue du Bac



This two bedroom, one bath apartment is an easy walk to markets, museums, gardens and shopping - including the Bon Marché department store and the boutiques of rue de Rennes.



Champs Elysee Foch III 3 bedroom



Three bedrooms, each with their own bath, make this luxurious apartment ideal for three couples or a large family. Parquet floors, air conditioning, a fully-equipped kitchen and the view over Avenue Foch give it great style.





April, 2010

They've been singing about it for years...

- April in Paris - Spring is here -



The parks are bursting with color, and there's a bounce in everyone's steps!



Listening to Jazz at Cercle Suédois
There's so much to do every day in Paris that by the time night falls, I'm too tired to stay up late for a jazz concert. Most music clubs start performing about the time I've flicked off the lights in my apartment.

But I've just discovered a place where you can hear live jazz starting at 7:30pm. It's sponsored by the Cercle Suédois, the Swedish club located on the rue de Rivoli right near the Place de la Concorde, every Wednesday night from 7:30 - 10pm. The location's a big plus. It's easy to find, and the space itself, with huge windows overlooking the Tuileries gardens, is a pleasure to be in.

                 

As you walk up the marble stairs, you'll hear a buzz of people. A €10 entrance fee buys you a glass of wine. You can choose to sit in the salon, have a light dinner and listen to a jazz combo, or stay in the bar, crowded with stylishly dressed people speaking French, Swedish, English and several other languages.

The Swedish Circle club has been operating in Paris since 1891. They host a number of events for members and guests, and you can eat lunch there Monday - Friday. For the Wednesday night jazz concerts, you don't have to be a member or even invited; you just walk in.

My friend and I sat in the typically French salon with high ceilings and arched windows. Tall mirrors and a crystal chandelier made the room sparkle with light. There's a different menu during the jazz concerts every week. I ordered Swedish tapas: herring in mustard sauce, salmon pudding, meatballs and smoked lamb with horseradish (a bargain for €10).

Up in front of the room, Viktorija Gecyte from Lithuania sang American jazz classics, backed up by Julien Coriatt on piano and Peter Giron on bass. Viktorija has a light and clear voice, and she sang almost exclusively in English. People talked together quietly during the sets, and others wandered in and out. There was a constant crush at the bar in the next room.

Everything here contributes to a memorable night in Paris. If you leave right on the hour, you can watch the Eiffel Tower twinkling across the Seine on your way home.
Cercle Suédois
242 Rue de Rivoli, Metro Concorde or Tuileries
Web: cercle-suedois.com


Wine Tasting Tour with Best Friend in Paris
While you're planning your evenings in Paris, you might also want to book a wine tasting tour with Best Friend in Paris. This tour, the only one in Paris that focuses on places tourists don't usually go, takes you on an easy walk through a true Parisian neighborhood in which you experience the wine scene where the locals congregate.

You meet about five o'clock near the Arc de Triomphe, and wine aficionado Donna Morris takes you into the mostly residential 17th arrondisement. The tasting group is always small, usually fewer than six people, so the feeling is more like a group of friends out for an evening rather than a big tour.

In each place, you meet the cavistes, the owners of the wine shops, who know intimately where the wines come from and how they're made. Over the course of the walk, you taste several wines - bubblies, whites and reds - while sampling a bit of cheese or sausage, and perhaps some of the famous Paris macarons. It's all lots of fun as everyone drinks and talks and learns about some very good wines, many of which are available only in France.

                 

One thing I particularly like about the wine-tasting tour is sharing the space with the neighbors who've stopped in for a glass or two on their way home from work. The atmosphere is relaxed and convivial, and you feel quite welcome. The wine bars are small; they're essentially shops that are licensed to sell wine by the glass and a bit of food. The owners and Donna can answer your questions and tell stories about the wines.

I recommend you schedule your wine tour early in the week of your stay, so you can bring a bottle or two home to enjoy in your apartment for the rest of the week.
Best Friend in Paris Wine Tasting Tour
Web: bestfriendinparis.com


Looking French with Scarves from Bamyan
Everyone comments on how chic French women look just walking down the street. They never wear white sneakers except at the gym. Instead, you see stiletto heels, boots and sandals. And almost always, it seems, even when they're wearing jeans, there's a scarf looped round the neck.

I've learned over the years that scarves also really help in packing. For a two-week stay in Paris, I generally pack three or four washable black tops and lots of scarves - some shiny ones for night, and light cotton scarves for day. They really make the wardrobe go further.



I love to buy scarves in Paris so I can wear them back home as well. One of my favorite scarf shops is Bamyan, on the Ile St. Louis. The tiny front room is stacked with scarves and shawls of all colors and textures - from nubby cottons to thin silk scarves that look like ribbon. The burst of colors will remind you of a gelato stand in summer. And you can hardly walk out of the store without one of their beautiful shawls for cool evenings.

The big back room carries even more elaborate shawls, robes and decorative objects from India, Afghanistan and other Asian countries.

Maybe what I like best about Bamyan, though, is how friendly the shop feels. I always end up chatting with other customers as we try on this and that. Best of all, the shop owners are full of inventive ideas for how to wear your scarf. (I finally learned to take of their tying process so I can remember how to do it when I get home.)

Bamyan isn't the least expensive place in Paris to buy scarves; I've bought plenty of the cheap €7 versions from street vendors and been delighted with them too. But if you want a free lesson on how to tie that scarf, and maybe a little cup of tea while you're making your choices, you'll definitely want to stop in.
Bamyan
72, rue St. Louis en L'Ile


Shopping Paris Markets
from Nick Steele of Viking River Cruises
(Web: vikingrivercruises.com/regions/europe/index.aspx)

A great way to get a feel for the hustle and flow of any major city is to go and see its markets. This is nowhere as true as it is in Paris. Unfortunately, most visitors to "The City Of Lights," end up spending high in order to experience French cuisine first hand. But a great way to save money and get in touch with what real Parisians are perhaps most passionate about, (i.e., food and drink) is to visit one of their 13 covered or 65 open air markets. The panoply of local color, the bouquet of flavors and scents, the visual beauty of the local produce spell out Paris, in a sublime and unparalleled way.

Fishmongers, butchers, cheese dealers, florists, wine merchants, they can all be found in great abundance in Parisian markets-and even if you have no intention of buying anything from them (though it's doubtful anyone could walk through one of these places without buying something) the intensity of the experience will undoubtedly leave you with a deep and long lasting impression of what living in Paris is all about.

Whereas the open air market of an average American city is, in most cases, a sort of organic novelty act, the typical market of Paris, has a long and storied history--some markets even date as far back as Roman times. Traditionally, these areas have not only been sources of food for the populace, but community centers, places where ideas as well as rutabagas are exchanged.

If you're interested in bedecking your balcony with flowers, the Parisian flower markets are among the most resplendent and beautiful in the world. The Marche de la Cité, in the Place Louis Lepine, being this author's personal favorite.

A related type of market, the flea market of Clignancourt, is a great place to witness Parisian culture. Composed of approximately 3,000 open-air stalls on the North side of the city, Clignancourt is a Parisian institution. A vast, sprawling, improvised mélange of shops and booths and sellers. But be forewarned: this isn't Disneyland. Don't dress like you just stepped off a cruise ship on one of those fancy European river cruises. Keep your wits about you. Some of the side streets might not be the safest places for an out-of-towner to jingle his pockets and take an innocent stroll.

Also, remember, the more of an expert you appear to be, the more likely you will be to get a good price on that set of antique French linens you discovered at the stall in the back, or the vintage mint condition fishing reel you unearthed in a box of yellowed Asterix comics.

This flea market can be a little rough around the edges, but that's Paris. If you want a real sense of what this great city is all about, the local markets are a good place to start.


Tasting France at the Agricultural Salon
Last February, the signs were posted all over Paris: a wide-angle photo of an enormous brown cow. The International Agriculture Salon - where France celebrates its culinary heritage - ran the last week of February and the first week of March. If you've ever wondered why someone would go to Paris in February (I can think of plenty more reasons, like no crowds and surprisingly good weather), attending the Agricultural Salon alone is a great enticement.

If you spend a day at the Ag Salon, the best advice is, "Go hungry." Everywhere you turn, someone's offering a taste of artisanal cheese, creamy yogurt, new flavors of ice cream, foie gras, honey, olive oil, sausage, bread, wine, beer - just about anything made in France.



Two of the five enormous pavilions at Porte de Versailles are devoted to eating. In Régions de France, you can feast on oysters from Brittany, aligot -- mashed potatoes with tomme cheese -- from the Auvergne, foie gras from Périgord, snails and beef from Burgundy. Throngs of people crowd the temporary restaurants, each featuring the specialties of an agricultural area. Before you know it, your shopping bag is heavy with treats to take home.

The Régions de France pavilion also includes Madagascar, Martinique, Guadeloupe and the other overseas areas considered part of France. The spices of the Caribbean and Africa scent the stalls, and Calypso music plays under the crowd noise. Another entire pavilion is devoted to foods from other countries: Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and many more. Overall, there are 38 restaurants to choose from, plus hundreds of booths selling artisanal products to eat, to wear, to supply your kitchen or delight your dog back home.

Enticing as all the eating is, for me the highlight of the Salon was Pavilion 1, where all day long you can watch competitions for the most perfect exemplar of cow breeds. You might have to step aside as a handler walks his bull through the aisles. The deep clang of cow bells echoes through the hall. We wandered through row after row of stalls to pet the cows, sheep and rabbits. (No touching allowed on the new litters of piglets suckling their moms, and signs warn you that the donkeys bite.)

Outside between the pavilions, my friend climbed into a huge green tractor and took it for a spin around a track in the parking lot.

I literally planned my February trip this year to coincide with the Ag Salon. It's another great reason to start planning now for next February.

The International Agricultural Salon is an annual event in late February/early March. Entrance fee this year was €12. Web: salon-agriculture.com


Calendar of Events, April, 2010

Art

Through April 18
Photographer Robert Doisneau (1912-1994), depictions of Parisian life
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
2, Impasse Lebouis, Metro Gaité or Edgard Quinet
€6 (closed Mondays)
Web: henricartierbresson.org

April 28 - May 2
La Bastille Modern Art Fair (Market of Contemporary Art)
Place de la Bastille, Metro Bastille
€8
Web: joel-garcia-organisation.fr

Through May 9
Charlie Toorop Retrospective
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11, avenue du Président Wilson, Metro Alma Marceau or Iéna
€9 (closed Mondays)
Web: mam.paris.fr

Through May 16
Pergola: German artist Charlotte Posenenske
Palais de Tokyo
13, avenue du Président Wilson, Metro Alma Marceau or Iéna
€6 (closed Mondays)
Web: palaisdetokyo.com

Through May 24
Turner and the Old Masters
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, Metro Champs Elysées Clemenceau or Franklin Roosevelt
€11 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: grandpalais.fr

Through May 24
Paris, the Radiant City (artworks from famous 13th century Paris buildings)
Musée du Moyen-Age/Musée de Cluny
6, place Paul Painlevé, Metro Cluny-la-Sorbonne, Saint Michel or Odéon
€8.50 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: musee-moyenage.fr

Through May 24
Holy Russia: Russian Art through Peter the Great
Musée du Louvre, Metro Musée du Louvre or Louvre Rivoli
€9 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: louvre.fr

Through May 29
Izis: Paris of Dreams (photographs from the 1951 MOMA exhibit)
Hotel de Ville
5, rue Lobau, Metro Hotel de Ville
Free (closed Sundays)

Through June 10
Armenian artist Sarkis installations
Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou, Metro Rambuteau, Hotel de Ville, Chatelet
€12 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: centrepompidou.fr

Through June 13
The Hidden Master: Meijer de Haan (1852-1895)
Musée d'Orsay
2, rue Bellechasse, Metro Assemblée Nationale or Solférino
€9.50 (closed Mondays)
Web: musee-orsay.fr

Through June 21
Toussaint Dubreuil, Henri IV's Court Painter
Musée du Louvre, Metro Musée du Louvre or Louvre Rivoli
€9 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: louvre.fr

Through June 27
Crime and Punishment
Musée d'Orsay
2, rue Bellechasse, Metro Assemblée Nationale or Solférino
€9.50 (closed Mondays)
Web: musee-orsay.fr

Through July 4
Sculptors Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 -111, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement, Metro Palais Royale - Musée du Louvre
€8.00 (closed Mondays)
Web: lesartsdecoratifs.fr

Through July 4
Brittany: Traveling in Color, Autochromes 1907 - 1929
Musée Albert Kahn
10-14 rue du Port, Boulogne-Billancourt, Metro: Boulogne-Porte de Saint-Cloud.
€1.50 (closed Mondays)
Web: albert-kahn.fr

Through July 18
Edvard Munch Retrospective
La Pinacothéque
28, place de la Madeleine, Metro Madeleine
€10 (open every day)
Web: pinacotheque.com

Through July 19
Lucien Freud Retrospective
Centre Pompidou
Place Georges Pompidou, Metro Rambuteau, Hotel de Ville, Chatelet
€12 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: centrepompidou.fr

Through August 1
From El Greco to Dalí: Great Spanish Masters from the Pérez Simón Collection
Musée Jacquemart André
158, Blvd Haussmann, Metro Miromesnil or St. Philippe du Roule
€10 (open every day)
Web: musee-jacquemart-andre.com

Through September 9
Meroe, Empire on the Nile
Musée du Louvre, Metro Musée du Louvre or Louvre Rivoli
€9 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: louvre.fr


Exhibitions and Other Museums

Through May 2
What the Dinosaurs Ate
Le Palais de la Découverte
avenue Franklin Roosevelt, Metro Champs Elysées Clemenceau or Franklin Roosevelt
€7 (closed Mondays)
Web: palais-decouverte.fr

Through May 9
Once upon a Time Playmobil
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 -111, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement, Metro Palais Royale - Musée du Louvre
€8 (closed Mondays)
Web: lesartsdecoratifs.fr

Through May 10
Always Faster: A History of France's Great Locomotives
Musée des Arts et Métiers
60, rue Réaumur, Metro Arts et Métiers or Réaumur-Sébastopol
€6.50 (closed Mondays)
Web: arts-et-metiers.net

April 9 - July 18
Radical Jewish Culture Scene (1980 - 2000)
Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaisme
71, rue du Temple, Metro Rambuteau or Hotel de Ville
€6.80 (closed Saturdays)
Web: mahj.org

Through May 29
20th Century Photographs by Izis
Hotel de Ville
5, rue de Lobau, Metro Hotel de Ville
Free (closed Sundays)

Through June 10
My Raw Earth for Building Tomorrow
Cité des Sciences
30, avenue Corentin Celtou, Metro Porte de La Villette
€8 (closed Mondays)
Web: cite-sciences.fr

Through July 4
The Impossible Photograph: Paris Prisons (1851 - 2010)
Musée Carnavalet
23, rue de Sévigné, Metro Saint Paul or Chemin Vert
€5 (closed Mondays)
Web: carnavalet.paris.fr

Through July 5
The Path of Tao: Another Way of Being
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, Metro Champs Elysées Clemenceau or Franklin Roosevelt
€11 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: grandpalais.fr

Through July 11
The Art of Being a Man: Male Costumes in Africa and Oceania
Musée Dapper
35 bis rue Paul Valéry, Metro Victor Hugo
€6 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: dapper.com.fr

Through July 11
The Image Factory
Musée du Quai Branly
55 Quai Branly, Metro Alma-Marceau, Bir Hakeim, École Militaire
€8.50 (closed Mondays)
Web: quaibranly.fr

Through July 11
Frederic Chopin, the Blue Note (Paris years 1831 - 1849)
Musée de la Vie Romantique
16, rue Chaptal, Metro Blanche
Permanent Collection free; special exhibitions €3.30 - 9
Web: vie-romantique.paris.fr

Through August 29
The World of Yves St. Laurent
Petit Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill, Metro Champs Elysées-Clemenceau or Concorde
€11 (closed Mondays)
Web: petitpalais.paris.fr

Through November 30
Animal (animal themes and materials in the decorative arts)
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 -111, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement, Metro Palais Royale - Musée du Louvre
€8 (closed Mondays)
Web: lesartsdecoratifs.fr



Music, Theater and Dance

Through April 3
Festival Chorus (80 concerts over two weeks)
Grande Arche de la Defense and other venues
Ticket prices vary by concert and venue.
Web: chorus92.fr

April 8 - 12
Spectacle of the School of Dance
Palais Garnier
Intersection of rues Scribe and Auber, Metro Opéra
€6 - 54
Web: operadeparis.fr

Through April 9
Treemonisha by Scott Joplin
Théâtre du Châtelet
1, place du Châtelet, Metro Châtelet
€5 - 80
Web: chatelet-theatre.com

Through April 11 (various dates)
World Premiere of Ballet Siddharta
Opéra Bastille
Place de la Bastille, Metro Bastille
€5 - 82
Web: operadeparis.fr

Through April 15
14th Annual Festival of the Imagination (musical artists from around the world)
Maison des Cultures du Monde (and other venues)
101, blvd Raspail, Metro St. Placide or Notre Dame des Champs
Prices vary with artists and venues.
Web: festivaldelimaginaire.com

Through April 16
Banlieues Bleues Jazz Festival
Various venues in Seine Saint Denis (northern suburb of Paris)
Prices vary by concert and venue.
Web: banlieuesbleues.org

April 21 - May 8
Tribute to Jerome Robbins
Palais Garnier
Intersection of rues Scribe and Auber, Metro Opéra
€6 - 54
Web: operadeparis.fr

Through August 1
Paris - Berlin - Hollywood, 1910 - 1939
La Cinématheque Francaise
51, rue de Bercy, Metro Bercy
€6.50 films, €5.00 museum and exhibitions (closed Tuesdays)
Web: cinematheque.fr


Other

April 3 - 4
"Saut Hermes" Horse Show
Le Grand Palais
3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, Metro Champs Elysées Clemenceau or Franklin Roosevelt
€90 - 110
Web: sauthermes.org

April 3 - May 31
Trone Funfair
Pelouse de Reuilly, Metro Porte Dorée/Porte de Charenton
Web: foiredutrone.com

April 4 - 11
Salon of New Realities (Abstract Art)
Parc Floral
Avenue de la Pyramide, Bois de Vincennes, Metro Chateau de Vincennes
Free
Web: realitesnouvelles.org





A Look Ahead for May, 2010
May Day Parade, May 1
French Wine Fair, May 8 - 9
Bastille Antiques Fair, May 6 - 16
Museum Night (museums open all night), May 15
Saint Germain Jazz Festival, May 16 - 30


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Thank you for your interest and best regards,

The Welcome 2 France team

www.welcome2france.com
Tel. 1 (650) 267-4328
(free local call number in U.S. or Canada)














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