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Welcome 2 France Newsletter July 2010
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July Newsletter Highlights

· Exploring the Parks of Paris
· Wine-Tasting Lunch at LeGrand
· Step Back in Time at the Museum of Medical History
· The Magnificent Pipe Organs of Paris
· Calendar of Events for July
· Looking Ahead to August




This Month's Featured Apartments


Trocadero - Passy Atelier



This studio apartment is in a prime location near fashionable shops, parks and the Marmottan Museum. The living room is bright from huge windows and a skylight, and the bedroom is upstairs on the mezzanine.



Saint Germain des Pres - Verneuil 1



There's plenty of room in this beautiful three-bedroom apartment in a classic 19th building. Because it looks onto a courtyard, it's blissfully quiet.





July, 2010


July in Paris means warm weather, sunny days, street markets blooming with flowers, fruits and vegetables. Be sure to make some time to set a while in your favorite park and just watch the world go by.




Exploring the Parks of Paris
Years ago, I noticed that French people tend to sit on park benches, not on the grass, while the English in London sprawl all over the ground in their city parks. But in recent years you see more and more French actually sitting on those beautiful park lawns.

There are some reasons for this apparent cultural difference. Historically, the French preferred more formal parks and gardens, designing their hedges, trees, flower beds and fountains in precisely placed patterns. A wide swath of green was part of the design, and people were placed in the landscape too.in designated pavilions or benches lining the walks.

English park design, on the other hand, was heavily influenced by the naturalistic garden designs of 18th century landscape architect Capability Brown. The park spaces were simply more inviting to sit in - and the British like nothing more than a picnic.

There was another reason for the difference as well: for many years, it was actually illegal in Paris to sit on the grass in public parks. Children were supposed to entertain themselves nicely in their playgrounds, but not to disturb the serenity of the lawns. Today those laws have been relaxed, so you can now picnic or just stretch out on the lawn for a bit of sun in most parks, although guards may still roust you from sitting on the grass in a formal garden like the Tuileries. Your best guide is just to look around and see if French people are sitting on the benches or the grass.


The Jardin du Luxembourg on the Left Bank is a particularly beautiful garden to stroll through. Formal rows of leafy chestnut trees provide lots of shade, and then you emerge to the formal terraces surrounding the Grand Bassin, an octagonal pond where children still launch their toy boats. Flowers abound in summer, in beds and stone pots. The park was commissioned by Marie de Medici in the 1600s in the style of the Boboli Garden behind the Pitti Palace in Florence.

You're discouraged from sitting on much of the lawn here, but scattered everywhere are green metal chairs. Especially inviting is the area around the Medici Fountain, where the water is bordered by classical statues. You might have to wait till someone leaves to find an empty chair or two around the fountain; it always feels a few degrees cooler there.

It's usually impossible to book a tennis court in the Luxembourg most of the year, but in late July and August, when the French leave town, court times open up.

If you have a taste for something less formal but equally breathtaking, ride the Metro out to Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the 19th arrondisement. This is a huge park, full of hills, cliffs, bridges, restaurants and even a waterfall. It's a great place for a vigorous walk or bike ride; there are five kilometers of paths that wind around the hills.

Every time you turn a corner or come to the top of a hill, you're rewarded with wide views of the naturalistic landscape, and, often, the gleaming white Sacre Coeur in the distance. There are flower gardens too, and a couple of restaurants. Rosa Bonheur is a terrific place to sit outside with a cool drink and watch the world go by.

Jardin du Luxembourg, Metro Odéon, Rennes, Saint-Placide
Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Metro Buttes Chaumont, Laumiere, Botzanis


Wine-Tasting Lunch at LeGrand
In the early 1800s, covered shopping arcades sprang up around the city, eventually over a hundred in all. They were the precursors of today's shopping malls, where women could walk from store to store without getting splashed by passing horses and carriages.

Some of those arcades, called passages, still exist today. My favorite is Passage Vivienne, located a block or two behind the Palais Royale. This arcade was opened in 1826. Its mosaic floors and huge fanlight windows even today evoke the feeling of a past time. Here you can shop for objets d'art, rugs, fine fabrics, jewelry, art, shoes and women's designer clothing. I almost always stop in at Catherine André, a store with handmade clothes in stunning colors and patterns.


On my last visit to Passage Vivienne, a friend and I had lunch at LeGrand Filles et Fils, a wine store that has been in this same location well over a hundred years. (I was delighted to notice that the name puts daughters before sons.) The store began as a grocery, and much of the shop retains the original interior. Today LeGrand specializes in very fine wines, and they've created a beautiful wine-tasting bar, surrounded by cases of wine. It's open Monday through Saturday from noon to 7pm.

You can simply sit and sip glasses of white or red wines or champagnes, or have lunch from the tasting menu. The menu changes by the season, and of course a wine is recommended for each plate. The lunches are light and tend toward cold plates. On the menu were sausages, sardines, tuna, foie gras, dried beef, and smoked salmon. I had a lentil salad with smoked trout, paired with a 2005 Cuvée Claude Denogent, a white burgundy. Prices aren't particularly a bargain; my plate of lentils and trout was €19, but it was worth it just to enjoy the space. You can sit at the bar itself, or at a couple of small tables with high wicker stools.

The service here is leisurely; this is no place to grab a quick bite and go. Instead, you'll want to linger in the space, perhaps adding a green salad or bit of cheese with another glass of wine. The room where we ate was quiet; the only background music we heard was the clinking of glasses and low hum of conversation.

LeGrand occasionally has evening jazz concerts in the tasting bar; you might want to stop by and check out the schedule.

LeGrand Filles et Fils
Passage Vivienne (entrances at 5, rue de la Banque; 6, rue Vivienne; and 4, rue des Petits-Champs. Metro Bourse.
Web: caves-legrand.com



Step Back in Time at the Museum of Medical History
The Musée d'Histoire de la Médecine is an old-fashioned medical museum; in fact, it looks as though it's not much different from when it was founded in the late 1700s. There are no modern displays with well-lit posters of explanatory text, no contemporary models that demonstrate how the body works. And this is a very small museum, really just one room with exhibits on two levels.

But it's well worth searching out the museum, especially if you have teens with an interest in the slightly macabre. Many of the items on display are surgical instruments from decades - or even centuries - ago, even going as far back as ancient Egypt. The collection is the oldest in Europe. descriptions are written in French, but it's fun to puzzle out what the various instruments were used for, from amputation of limbs to eye surgery.


The museum is housed at the René Descartes University, in a magnificent old Latin Quarter building with marble floors that echo as you walk across them. You climb a tall staircase and enter through a closed door. It's not the easiest place to find, but beyond the door is a step back in time. Everything is displayed in antique glass and wood cabinets, and the ceiling is glass, letting in natural light. Because this is such a little gem that few people know about, chances are there won't be many other visitors.

The opening hours are a bit quirky, so take note. Until July 15, the museum is closed on Thursdays and Sundays. Afterwards, it's closed on Saturdays and Sundays. And it only opens from 2pm to 5:30pm.

Musée d'Histoire de la Médecine
12, rue de l'Ecole de Medicine (6th arrondisement), Metro Odéon
Web: bium.univ-paris5.fr/musee



The Magnificent Pipe Organs of Paris
Paris is a city known for its many magnificent pipe organs. In summer, you just might want to spend some time in a cool dark cathedral listening to music thunder around the stone walls. Every organ is unique to its space; the biggest organs include string, woodwind and percussion sections.

What makes a pipe organ famous tends to be either who made the organ (and what condition it's in now), or who has played on it. During the 19th and 20th centuries, most of the great keyboard musicians earned their keep by playing organ concerts in churches. It was traditional in France for composers to write pieces for organ that were like symphonies in their form and structure, running thirty or forty minutes, with four or five movements.

The most famous of all Paris organs is at St. Sulpice in the 6th arrondisement. The organ as it exists today was constructed by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, one of the most famous 19th century organ builders. Daniel Roth, the chief organist, can be heard playing the instrument most Sundays at a 10:30am mass. Afterwards he usually plays a half-hour concert or improvisation. Visitors are permitted to go up into the organ loft after the mass to meet Roth and watch him play.


Notre Dame, of course, is the most well-known cathedral in Paris. Its organ was also made by Cavaillé-Coll, though it has been much restored and added to over the years. You can hear the organ there at Sunday morning mass. On Sunday afternoons before the vespers service, famous organists from all over Europe play concerts, except during Lent.

Other churches which have organs well-worth seeking out include St. Eustache, in the first arrondisement. The organ there is new, dating from the late 20th century, but with ornate casework. This church too usually offers recitals on Sunday afternoons.

St.-Étienne-du-Mont, where the highly respected composer Maurice Duruflé played from the 1950's to the 1970's, is another church with an organ you might want to visit. The woodwork on the organ dates from 1633.

(Thanks to Chris Leaver of Kansas City for telling me about pipe organs.)

St. Sulpice
2, rue Palatine, Metro Saint-Sulpice or Mabillon
Web: stsulpice.com

Notre Dame de Paris
Ile de la Cité, 6, place du Parvis Notre Dame, Metro Cité
Web: notredamedeparis.fr

Saint Eustache
2, rue du Jour, Metro Les Halles
Web: saint-eustache.org

St. Étienne-du-Mont
Place Sainte-Genevieve, Metro Cardinal Lemoine



Note: all the times and fees we've quoted in this month's newsletter were accurate when we published, but things do change, so it's always a good idea to check before you go.



Sheila Campbell, Washington, DC Blog: sheilacampbell.com

Do you have a favorite place in Paris you'd like to tell us about for the newsletter? We'd love to hear your suggestions. Just click on www.welcome2france.com/?suggest and give us your ideas.
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Calendar of Events, July, 2010
Art

Through July 4
Treasures of the Crown of Spain from the Golden Age of Flemish Tapestries
Galerie des Gobelins
42, avenue des Gobelins, Metro Gobelins
€6 (closed Mondays)
Web: mobiliernational.culture.gouv.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
Paul Klee (1879 - 1940)
Musée de l'Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries, Metro: Concorde.
€9.50 (for special exhibitions) (closed Tuesdays)
Web: musee-orangerie.fr

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

Through July 25
Irving Penn's Photographs of Tradespeople
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
2, Impasse Lebouis, Metro Gaité or Edgard Quinet
€6 (closed Mondays and between exhibitions)
Web: henricartierbresson.org

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 August 16
Works from 1st - 6th Century Gandhara, Pakistan
Musée Guimet
6, place d'Iéna, Metro Iéna
€8 (closed Tuesdays)
Web: guimet.fr

Through August 22
Body and Décor: Rodin and the Decorative Arts
Musée Rodin
79, rue de Varenne, Metro Varenne or Invalides
€10 (closed Mondays)
Web: musee-rodin.fr

Through August 22
Willy Ronis Photography Retrospective
La Monnaie de Paris
11, quai de Conti, Metro Odéon
€7 (closed Mondays)
Web: monnaiedeparis.fr

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 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 4
The Orientals: Visions of Delacroix, Géricault, Chassériau and Their Contemporaries
Maison de Victor Hugo
6, place des Vosges, Metro Saint Paul
€7 (closed Mondays)
Web: musee-hugo.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 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 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 October 10
The Story of Contemporary Fashion, Volume 1: 1970 - 1979
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 -111, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement, Metro Palais Royale - Musée du Louvre
€8 (closed Mondays)
Web: lesartsdecoratifs.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

June 18 - July 14
Paris Chopin Festival
Orangerie in the Parc de Bagatelle of the Bois de Boulogne
Metro to Porte Maillot or Pont de Neuilly, then bus to Bagatelle
€ 10 - 34
Web: frederic-chopin.com

Through July 4
Les Misérables (in English)
Théâtre du Châtelet
1, place du Châtelet, Metro Châtelet
€10 - 98
Web: chatelet-theatre.com

July 7 - 24
Paris Dance Festival
Théâtre du Châtelet
1, place du Châtelet, Metro Châtelet
€10 - 75
Web: chatelet-theatre.com

July 11 - August 8
Summer Stages at the Parc de la Villette (Sunday World Music Concerts)
Parc de la Villette, Metro Porte de la Villette, Corentin Cariou or Porte de Pantin
Free
Web: villette.com

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

July 13 - 14
Bastille Day Celebrations
July 13: Fire Station Balls in many neighborhoods (web: pompiersparis.fr)
July 14: Parade on the Champs Elysées and evening fireworks

July 20 - August 20
Paris Plage ("Beach" on the Seine)
Near the Pont Neuf, Metro Pont Neuf
Free, open all day every day

July 25
Tour de France: Final Stage
Champs Elysées
Free
Web: letour.fr

Through August 3
Official Summer Sales Season
Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Bon Marché and most other stores.




A Look Ahead for August, 2010
August 4 - 22, Moonlit Cinema in Paris
August 16 - September 5, Arenes de Montmartre Festival
August 29, Fete de Ganesh Parade


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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
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