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Welcome 2 France Newsletter July 2008
Hello !

Welcome2France is featuring the SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRES-SIMON apartment this month. Located only a few steps from the Rue-du-Bac Metro in the elegant 7th Arrondissement and a mere five blocks south of the Seine!

I'm not sure whether the sheer luxury of this 3 bedroom/2 bath Parisian address or the excellent location of it is the most attractive feature. It really is amazing.

See for yourself on our website - at Saint Germain des Prés - Simon for all the details.

Seven people can live comfortably, and quite reasonably priced when sharing the rent, in pure luxury less than seven blocks from Jardin des Tuileries, the Louvre and the fabulous Avenue Champs-Elysees. It is even closer to the world-famous cafe and historic district of Saint-Germain-des Pres.


Paris has plenty of opportunities for you to beat the July heat - day and night! Swimming in daytime, biking in evening, with plenty of parks, gardens and woods to provide shade and cool spaces in which to relax.

The famous "Paris Plage" (beach) was first installed in 2002. It is a Parisian celebration of Summer. Sandy beaches with deck chairs, vendors selling ice cream and cold drinks and lots of music. This happens in three locations in
Paris = two on the Seine and one in Parc de Villette.

On the shores of the Seine, from the Louvre to Pont-de-Sully on the Right Bank, for two miles you will find 2000 tons of sand trucked in to provide a temporary beach for hot Parisians and visitors. Potted palms are even placed to provide shade! It is a virtual outdoor playground with climbing walls, trampolines, a swimming pool and every sand sport imaginable.

At Pont-de-la-Gare, the beach is located at the foot of the Francois Mitterrand National Library - on the Left Bank (13th arrondissement). A floating swimming pool, named 'Josephine Baker', is the main attraction, with its unique sliding roof. This beach is more sublime with free newspapers, library books, a café with nearby WiFi hotspot (which are becoming more common in Paris each day). You can take writing, drawing or painting classes, too.

Out in the 19th arrondissement, noted for the fabulous Parc-de-Villette, and around the Bassin de la Villette (pond) is a huge water sports complex. Boats, kayaks, pedal boats are all available here.

These beach experiences are available to everyone for a few weeks every summer. This year's opening day is July 20th. All the Plages are open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight daily.

An interesting sidebar to the Paris Beaches is the fact that one critic has written to city officials to fuss about providing such a 'ridiculous' frivolity and has wondered why the officials aren't putting snow on Montmartre for skiing! Two officials wrote him back, saying that was a great idea and that they plan to look into doing just that! Tres Francais!

If sand doesn't interest you, there are many public swimming pools you can dive into to cool off in Paris. Two are of particular interest.

The Suzanne Berlioux indoor pool inside Forum-les-Halles mall is enormous and warm. There's a Starbucks right across the mall hallway.

And, the beautiful, old Pontoise Piscine. It is a perfect example of 1930's swimming pool architecture and features 160 cabanas right at the edge of the pool - on two levels with a balcony. Even if you don't want to dip a toe in the water, this remarkable pool is worth a visit just to see how pools were designed 'way back when'. Everything is gorgeous in blue and white with a fabulous glass roof over it all.

Here are the details of these two pools, and a few more:
Aqua Boulevard: Large indoor and outdoor water slides and pools, plus a wave pool and grassy sunbathing area.
4, rue Louis Armand. 15th Arr. Metro: Balard.

Armand Massard: Three indoor pools with beaches.
65, boulevard du Montparnasse. 15th Arr. Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue

Champerret: Indoor pool.
36, boulevard-de-Reims. 17th Arr. Metro: Porte-de-Champerret.

Didot: Indoor pool, diving board and aqua gym.
22, avenue Georges-Lafenestre. 14th Arr. Metro: Porte-de-Vanves.

Drigny: Indoor pool.
18, rue Bochard-de-Saron. 9th Arr. Metro: Anvers.

Georges Rigal: Indoor pool.
115-119, boulevard de Charonne. 11th Arr. Metro: Alexandre-Dumas.

Hippodrome d'Auteuil: Two pools, huge bay windows and glass roof.
Route des Lacs. 16th Arr. Metro: La Muette.

Keller: Indoor and outdoor pool with sauna.
14, rue de l'Ingenieur Keller. 15th Arr. Metro: Charles-Michels.

Pontoise: Pool open late on Monday and Friday nights.
18, rue de Pontoise. 5th Arr. Metro: Maubert-Mutualite.

Saint-Germain: Public pool.
12, rue Lobineau. 6th Arr. Metro: Mabillon.

Saint-Merri: Indoor pool, sunbathing areas and showers.
16, rue Renard. 4th Arr. Metro: Chatelet.

Suzanne Berlioux inside Forum-les-Halles mall: Indoor pool.
10, place de al Rotonde - Level 3. 1st Arr. Metro: Les-Halles.

Valeyre: Indoor pool.
24, rue de Rochechouart. 9th Arr. Metro: Cadet.


Cooling off in the evening could easily be accomplished by renting a VELIB Bicycle. This is the greatest idea yet for any city! "Velo" for bicycle and "Lib" for liberty! You can rent a bike, use it as long as you like, return it just about anywhere in Paris and it's all self-service.

The Velib rental points are never more than 900' apart. Each point has a terminal and bike stands where you fasten the bike to return it, or release it to ride. The bikes are new, comfortable, adjustable and have a large front basket.

Terminals have card readers for your bank card. The first 30 minutes are free, then € 1,00. You can buy a week's use for € 5,00. Bikes are accessible 24/7. Riders have to be 14+ years old. Helmets are not required.

This new program (July, 2007) has taken off like crazy. Originally, there were 11,000 bikes and now the number is at 20,600.

And, best of all, there are new, off-street, bike routes dedicated to the two-wheelers all over Paris now. On these, you don't have to compete with autos, buses or trucks on the streets of Paris. Imagine coasting down from the top of Montmartre on a Velib bike..oh, the joy!

We were in Paris for two months in 2007 and experienced two weeks of a transportation strike. 4 days in October and 10 days in November. The Velibs got Parisians to work and back. The large boulevards, usually stalled with traffic, were so quiet you could hear people chatting in the cafes across them. It was a bright moment during an uncertain few days.

Velib info is available in English at

Air-conditioning is welcome in July heat anywhere. And several museums are free the entire month of July, as part of the experiment by the government to test if eliminating the entry fees would increase museum visits.

Of the 30 national museums in Paris, only 11 charge entry fees.

Among the largest that are free this month are:
Musee Guimet (Asiatic Arts)
Musee National du Moyen Age - Thermes et Hotel-de-Cluny (Medieval Paris and Roman baths)
Musee National des Arts-et-Metiers (Science, Foucault's Pendulum, mechanisms, first computer, transportation, and much more)


BOIS de BOULOGNE - west of Paris, with its endless variety of trees provide cool respite from the July sun. Rent a boat on Lac Inferieur or see the Zoo (Jardin d'Acclimatation) installed by Napoleon III in 1860.

BOIS de VINCENNES - east of Paris, features a 65-meter high "rock" within its Zoo (Parc de Vincennes). Ride horses or rent a boat here. And, don't miss visiting the Chateau de Vincennes for a real feel of Medieval times. A bird sanctuary (Bois des Oiseaux) is near the Dauphine roundabout. The Theatre de Guignol (puppets) is near Lac de Saint-Mande. Other features include an Arboretum, the Parc Floral. And, don't forget your rollerblades.

PARC de BAGATELLE - Marie Antoinette bet the Count of Artois, who had bought the land in 1775, that he couldn't turn it into a park in 64 days. The Count won. The Roseraie de Bagatelle (rose bed) is internationally famous.

PARC MONCEAU - 19th century gem surrounded by lavish buildings and townhouses opened in 1861. Marcel Proust's favorite spot. Don't miss the huge gold-topped wrought-iron fence, the Rotonde de Chartres, the Naumachia, statues of Chopin and Guy de Maupassant.

PARC des BUTTES CHAUMONT - The largest and steepest public garden in Paris. 1867. See the Sybille shrine, cliff, cave, lake and bridges. A former quarry. The cave features artificial stalactites. Look for waterfalls and brooks. Butte (mound) and Chaumont (from 'chauve'= bald).

PARC MONTSOURIS - Once a quarry, then a cemetery with 6 million bodies, the sight of a mill before becoming a park in 1875. Called the "mount of mice" (souris) due to the rodents who thrived on the grains surrounding the mill. Note the many statues, the observatory and the 5-meter high dark marble obelisk with its large circular opening at the top.

PARC de BERCY - Once the site of the world's largest wine market/storehouse. Look for the railway tracks that carried wine tanker cars through the cobble stoned alleys. Don't miss the Maison du Lac, Maison du Jaridinage and the Chai de Bercy (wine storeroom).

PARC de la VILLETTE - Huge prototype of a 21st century park built on the former grounds of the city's abattoirs. Museums, cinemas, theaters, cabarets, musical festivals and much more.

PARC FLORAL - Must sees include the Jardin des Quatre Saisons, Vallee des Fleurs, Jardin des Papillons and much more. Train rides around the park make it easy to view. Golf, ping pong, plays, puppet shows, Jazz Festival - too much to do to name it all.


PROMENADE PLANTEE - Possibly the longest, most narrow garden in the world? Built on top of a former train track viaduct, it runs for 2 miles. Most of it is elevated, and shops are installed below. Fascinating use of a discontinued item.

JARDIN des HALLES - On the grounds of the original food market of Paris built in 1135, later the world's first indoor market in 1183. Food vendors were moved out in 1972 and this gem of a garden was installed. Eleven fountains, several ponds, tropical greenhouse, and more, right in the center of Paris.

JARDIN d'ACCLIMATATION - A journey back into childhood. Opened in 1860. Magical river, road train, farm animals, grassroots museum, attractions - allow plenty of time to visit this shrine to zoology and botany.

PALAIS ROYAL - 1633. Peaceful and nostalgic. Magnificent 17th century buildings all around. Don't miss Buren's controversial gray/white columns sculpture. Fountains in the middle of the lake cool the area. Relax in the shade of the fabulous arcades of Richelieu's home.

JARDIN des PLANTES - 1635. One of France's original science labs. Was built by Louis XIII's doctor to cultivate medicinal plants. Be sure to see greenhouses, museum of evolution, alpine garden and the world's oldest much more.

LUXEMBOURG - An virtual open-air sculpture museum. 1612. Site of the famous Medicis fountain. Float your toy boat in the large pond, or rent one. Vast green spaces and absolute millions of flowers.

TUILERIES - No one can visit Paris and not stroll through the largest and oldest garden - it is a classical 1664 masterpiece. Home of the Jeu de Paume and Orangerie museums. This first public park was commissioned by Louis XIV and none other than Le Notre, himself, was its designer.

In reading a recent website posting from Rick Steves, the European travel expert, I found great interest in these price comparisons. (Prices collected in 2007).

Big Mac: Paris= $4.00. More expensive in Munich, Zurich, Rome, Vienna, London, Athens, Oslo and Copenhagen.

Ride on subway or city bus: Paris= $2.10. More expensive in Amsterdam, Zurich, Copenhagen, Oslo, London, Munich and Vienna.

One hour train ride to nearby town: Paris= $19.00. More expensive in Amsterdam, Vienna, Copenhagen, Oslo, London, Munich & Zurich.

Entry fee at top museum: Paris= $15.00. More expensive in Copenhagen, Oslo, London and Rome.

Mark Twain said, "Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the things you did".

Don't let fear of the weak dollar in Paris stop you from enjoying the most beautiful, surprising and accessible city in the world. Go! You'll never regret the adventure.

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



Until July 13:
"Narrative Figuration" - An Artistic Movement Born in the 1960's
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3, avenue du General Eisenhower - 8th arrondissement
€ 9,00 - 11,00

Until July 20:
"Camille Claudel" - A Retrospective
Musee Rodin
79, rue de Varenne - 7th Arrondissement
€ 5,00 - 7,00

Until July 20:
"Un Instinct Fauve" - Maurice de Vlaminck, Artist
Musee du Luxembourg
19, rue de Vaugirard - 14th Arrondissement
€ 11,00

All of July - August 4:
"Katsushika Hokusai" - Painter
Musee des Arts Asiatiques
69, place d'Iena - 16th arrondissement
€ 5,50 - 8,00

All of July - August 24
"African & Oceanian Art" - Masterpieces of the Barbier-Muller Collection
Musee Jacquemart-Andre
158, boulevard Haussmann - 8th Arrondissement
€ 7,00 - 9,50. Under 7: Free

All of July - September 7
"Peter Doig" - Edinburgh Artist and "Bridget Riley" - British Artist
Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11, avenue du President-Wilson - 16th arrondissement
€ 2,50 - 5,00


July 10 - August 16:
"Grace Kelly" - Exhibition
Hotel-de-Ville, Salle Saint-Jean
5, rue Lobau - 4th arrondissement

All of July - September 21:
"Valentino" - 200 haute couture gowns
Musee des Arts Decoratifs
107-111, rue de Rivoli - 1st arrondissement
€ 6,50 - 8,00

All of July - September 28:
"L'Eveil des Cinq Sens" - How dolls and toys help children learn
Musee de la Poupee
Impasse Berthaud, near 22, rue Beaubourg - 3rd arrondissement
€ 5,00 - 7,00

All of July - September 14:
"Armee Eternelle" - China's Terracotta Army
La Pinacotheque Musee
28, place de la Madeleine - 8th arrondissment
€ 7,00 - 9,00

All of July - October 5:
"Napoleon" - Symbols of Power Under the Empire
Musee des Arts Decoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement
€ 6,00 - 8,00

All of July - November 1
"Aussi Rouge Que Possible" - As Red As Can Be - Objects d'art, fashions, textiles, art
Musee des Arts Decoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement
€ 6,50 - 8,00

All of July - November 16:
"Gerard Deschamps" - French Nouveau Realisme movement
Musee des Arts Decoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement
€ 6,50 - 8,00

All of July - January 5, 2009:
"Zizi sexuel, l'Expo" - Love & Sexuality for the 9 - 14 year-old crowd
Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie - La Villette
Parc de la Villette
30, avenue Corentin Cariou - 19th Arrondissement
€ 7,00 - 9,00

All of July - February, 2009:
"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


July 1-2:
"Iron Maiden" - Heavy Metal Music Concert
Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy
8, boulevard de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€ 45,30 - 50,80

July 1 - September 2:
"Festival Musique en l'Ile" - Church music in two churches
Eglise St-Germain-des-Pres
3, place St-Germain-des-Pres - 6th arrondissement
Eglise St-Louis-en-l'Ile
19 bis, rue St-Louis-en-l'Ile - 4th arrondissement
Prices vary

July 2, 5, 8, 10 & 12:
"Louise" - Opera
Opera Bastille
Place de la Bastille - 12th Arrondissement
€ 5,00 - 130,00

July 4:
"Mika" - In Concert
Parc des Princes
24, rue Claude Farrere - 16th arrondissement
From € 45,00

July 9:
"Jack Johnson" - In Concert
Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy
8, boulevard de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€ 41,00

July 12:
"Alicia Keys" - In Concert
Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy
8, boulevard de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€ 39,80 - 53,00

Until July 14:
"Chopin a Paris" - Festival
Orangerie de Bagatelle
Bois de Boulogne - 16th arrondissement
€ 17,00 - 34,00


July 1 - 12:
"Lady of the Camellias" - Ballet
Palais Garnier
1, place de la Opera - 9th arrondissement
€ 6,00 - 80,00

July 1-13:
"Paris Film Festival" - 450 films
Various venues in Paris
€ 5,00 or €25,00 for Pass

July 14 - August 15:
"Quartier d'Ete" - Music, dance and theater festival
Many venues in Paris
Prices vary

July 15 - August 17:
"Open-Air Cinema" - Outdoor screenings
Le Parc de la Villete
211, avenue Jean Jaures - 19th arrondissement

July 21 - August 9:
"Les Etes de la Danse" - Paris Dance Festival
Grand Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill - 8th arrondissement
€24,00 - 65,00

During All of July - August 3:
"Lion King" - Broadway Musical
Theatre Mogador
25, rue de Mogador - 9th Arrondissement
€ 25,00 - 99,00

All of July - October 5:
"Festival du Theatre de Verdure du Jardin Shakespeare" - Four Outdoor Plays
Jardin du Pre Catelan
Bois de Boulogne - 16th Arrondissement
€ 15,00


July 3 - 8:
"Japan Expo" - 100 exhibitors from traditional to high-tech
Parc des Expositions
Paris-Nord Villepinte (near CDG airport)
€ 12,00 - 28,00. Under 6: free

Until July 6:
"Foire Saint-Germain" - Street fair
Place Saint-Sulpice
Rue Bonaparte - 6th arrondissement

July 13 - 14:
"Bastille Day" - France's most important national holiday
8th Arrondissement
Check in local papers for further details

July 18:
"Golden League Athletics" - World's best athletes compete in track & field
Stade de France
One mile from Paris
€ 15,00 - 70,00

July 18 - August 17:
"Paris Plage"+A71 - Actual sandy beach
Right Bank of Seine
Between Pont Neuf and Hotel-de-Ville - 1st & 4th arrondissements

July 25 - August 3:
"Beach" - Sand sports, rugby, baseball, petanque, swimming
Stade de France
One mile from Paris
€ 10,00 - 36,00

July 27:
"Tour de France" - Final stage
8th Arrondissement

All of July - October 12:
"Butterfly Garden" - Especially great for children
Parc Floral de Paris
Route de la Pyramide, Bois de Vincennes - 12th arrondissement
€ 2,50 - 5,00

All of July - October 25:
Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione - Circus
Cirque d'Hiver
110, rue Amelot - 11th Arrondissement
€ 10,00 - 45,00; Under 3= Free

All of July - October 26:
"Les Grandes Eaux Musicales" - Musical Fountain Shows
Parc du Chateau de Versailles
In Versailles, France
€ 6,00 - 8,00

All of July - November 30:
"2 CV Expo" -Citroen's 60th Anniversary Car Show
Parc de la Villette
30, avenue Corentin Cariou - 19th arrondissement
€ 6,00 - 8,00

During All of July - December 31:
"Circus - Diana Moreno Bormann" - Wonderful for kids
Place Skanderbeg
112, rue de la Haie Coq - Porte d'Auberviliers - 19th Arrondissement
€ 10,00 - 35,00; Under 3 = Free

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

We highly appreciate our readers help in making this newsletter as interesting and helpful as possible.
If you have any comments or suggestions, they are quite welcome on our

Comments and Suggestions Page

Thank you for your interest and best regards,

The Welcome 2 France team
Tel. 1 (650) 267-4328
(free local call number in U.S. or Canada)

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