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Welcome 2 France Newsletter March 2009
Hello !


*Flaneurs or Tourists?
*The Architecture of Paris
*Calendar of Events - March, 2009
*Preview of April Events

Exciting new feature for Welcome2France!

Welcome 2 France is pleased to present its new and exclusive apartment video tours, now available throughout the site! Only a few so far, but many more to come, some explanations and easy viewing just waiting for your visit under the following link:

W2F Video Tours

Seeing your Parisian home before arrival gives you a wonderful insight to your future visit. Enjoy!

Flaneurs or Tourists?

Peter and I are beginning our second month's vacation in Paris. We spend two months a year here, usually in the Winter. We always stay in a different Arrondissement (district) and always rent an apartment. Never a hotel.

We enjoy the freedom of having our own kitchen (always fully equipped), our own washer and dryer (makes for a much lighter suitcase) and the vast space one gets in an apartment as compared to tiny Parisian hotel rooms. It amazes us that so many tourists will still opt for tiny hotel rooms, instead of an apartment. Perhaps they simply don't realize that apartments can be rented for any length of time - a few days or months.

This trip has exposed to us the depth of the economic crisis worldwide. The airline we flew over on was most verbal about how they appreciated our business. The sales in the stores are showing 60-70% off prices, where in past years it had been 30-50% off at most. Paris, right now, is virtually tourist-free, compared to other winter trips we've made. It is a prime time to come here.

On our first trip to Paris we were definitely "tourists". We arrived for a five-week stay, visiting our youngest daughter and husband who was working in Paris for a year.

We had our list of "must sees" and "must do's" prepared long before we arrived. Each day, we were up early and out the door to methodically check off each item on that day's agenda. It was a whirlwind of delights and, frankly, quite exhausting to say the least. In five weeks, we were able to not only cover the major museums and monuments, but also the minor ones. Upon leaving, we felt satisfied that we'd properly "done" Paris.

But, only for the briefest of moments.

Suddenly, our hearts sank as we realized that we'd only scratched the surface of the most captivating city in the world. Even before reaching the airport on departure day, we decided to go back the following year and to stay a minimum of two months. This is a pattern we've repeated since 2001. And, now after having spent a total of nine months here, we still haven't satisfied ourselves that we've completely "done" Paris.

Since our kids had rented an apartment, we learned early on in our Parisian travels that an apartment was far superior to a hotel room.

I believe, that it simply isn't possible to ever really see and do it all here in Paris. We have, therefore, become "Flaneurs". A flaneur, as described by Edmund White in his book by that name, is a person who is able to wander aimlessly, and happily, through the streets of Paris- without an agenda.

The flaneur is one who has plenty of leisure time for undirected ambling with no specific goal - just purposeless wandering. When I read his definition, I knew we'd become just that - people with no concern about seeing it all, or doing it all, without agenda, purpose, schedule, or methodology.

This is why we return to the same place in Europe each year and stay for 60+ days each trip - over and over again. Even though most of our friends and family think we are crazy for not spending our time and money seeing more of the world. We are simply, and happily, "hooked" on Paris. We love getting "lost" on purpose, having the time to admire details like the ornate doorknobs on thousands of entryways, talking to little old ladies at bus stops about their tiny dogs, and absorbing Paris with nothing but time to do so.

Since we rent apartments, we feel we can become temporary locals. We shop where they shop and use the bus system, as most of them do, and we find the Parisians extremely willing to let us join their daily parade of life. This sort of connection would never happen if we stayed in a hotel. And, it is virtually impossible to truly get lost in Paris. Not with a Metro stop about every 500 meters away which will connect you to your Parisian apartment in minutes.

For those lucky enough to visit Paris more than once, it is understandable that one must visit the tourist highlights listed in any guidebook on the first trip. But, do consider making a second trip for the purpose of becoming a flaneur. We highly recommend it. And, whether you are in tourist mode, or flaneur mode, you must absolutely consider renting an apartment over the tiny hotel room. Even as a tourist staying in an apartment, you will experience more of Paris than you would in a hotel room.

The Architecture of Paris

One of the single-most striking aspects of Paris is its architecture. No one can dispute this. One can wander the rues and see examples of many styles in a single journey.

The architectural styles most represented in Paris are the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Classic/Rococo and then that of the 19th and 20th century.

Without a doubt, the best look at the Romanesque style would have to be the church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres. This style was blocky, massive and huge with dimly lit interiors. The builders had to build walls very thick to hold up the weight of the roof. They would often omit windows for fear of weakening the walls. Light was brought in by skylights, or by very narrow slits in the walls, which were virtually useless for emitting light, since the slits were in very thick walls. This was their only choice in the years between 800-1100.

You won't find many examples of Romanesque architecture in Paris so take the Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Pres, for an interesting visit.

Between 1100-1500, Gothic style came into being. Finally, architects could build thinner walls with as many windows as they wanted without fear of collapse. The flying buttresses were introduced during this time period and made huge changes in construction from then on. The buttresses leaned against the walls providing support that was once only achieved by those thick Romanesque walls.

Stained glass windows told the stories of the Bible to the congregants who, for the most part, never had the chance to learn to read.

Graceful, beautiful spires were added to the roofs. The eyes were drawn toward heaven by means of very high ceilings, bright windows, and those spires.

See the best example of Gothic architecture in the whole world right in the center of Paris - the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Closest Metro is Cite.

Then, came the Renaissance all the way from Italy. Between 1500-1650, this style prevailed. Lovely symmetrical buildings, very precise, and very ornate cropped up all over Europe. In Paris, the only remaining Renaissance mansion is the Hotel Carnavalet at 23, rue de Sevigne. It was built in 1544, an amazing 16th century home.

Today, it houses the Musee Carnavalet which tells the history of the city of Paris. We spent this morning there and even though we've been there many times before, we always learn something new. It is one of my favorite of all Paris museums. Either Metro: Saint-Paul, or Metro: Chemin-Vert will get you there.

Next came the Classic / Rococo era from 1650-1800. During Louis XIV's reign, everything was built to mimic Versailles. Rococo interiors meant curvy, ornate details in furniture and wall decor. Exteriors remained a boxy version of the Renaissance style, only a bit more detailed. Chandeliers and furnishings couldn't be frilly enough.

In contrast, during the same years, Classic styles as seen in the Pantheon were also popular. To see the Pantheon, built in 1758, one would think you are looking at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Classic style was more severe and orderly in appearance.

By the 19th century, architecture in Paris became eclectic. We saw Art Nouveau with its swirling plant-like features, the Industrial Age Eiffel Tower, and the almost foreign-looking Sacre-Coeur arise.

Baron Haussmann came along and unified Parisian construction in what must have been the most prolific urban renewal of all time. He tore down acres of Medieval houses, built huge public parks, and designed wide boulevards to connect major Squares, called Places, in Paris.

Napoleon III hired Haussmann to turn Paris into the world capital it is today. Haussmann's urban planning set the mold for cities all over the world to conform themselves into workable hubs for mankind. He made sure his plans included street lighting, sewer systems, and sidewalks.

The Haussmann construction is visible all along the Grands Boulevards which converge at Place de la Opera. The Opera House, built by architect Garnier, was the focal point of Haussmann's new Paris. To begin a tour of Haussmann's apartment blocks, start at Metro: Opera, where you will also see the Opera Garnier. You must see the interior of the Opera.

In the 20th century, the more outrageous the architecture, the better. Case in point, the Glass Pyramid at the Louvre entrance. Very controversial since it is set in such palatial splendor, yet it works. At first it seems too modern and odd for such a setting. But, it lets in light to the Louvre below and it isn't obstructing the vistas on the ground above.

The Centre Pompidou is another example of audacity in architecture. The building was built "inside out". All the engineering aspects (water, electricity, heating) are on the exterior of the building visible to all, instead of hidden inside construction as they've been in the past. Each of the technical aspects are color coded in bright red, green and blue. Very unique.

While these new architectural monstrosities, as some call them, might seem unseemly - please, let's remember that the Eiffel Tower was once vilified as a horror to behold in Paris when it was brand new!

While you are enjoying the foods and splendors of Paris, do stop to consider its architecture. There is a wealth of it right before your eyes.

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



Until - March 2
Delacroix et La Photographie - His photographs
Musee Eugene-Delacroix
6, rue de Ferstenberg - 6th Arrondissement
€6,00 - 9,00

March 5 - 19
Ice et Demain - Today and Tomorrow Students Arts Festival
Theatre du Chatelet and Various Venues all over Paris
Place du Chatelet - 1st Arrondissement

March 10 - 17
Paris Tout Court - Short Film Festival
Cinema L'Arlequin
76, rue de Rennes - 6th Arrondissement
€4,00 - 30,00

March 11 - June 21
De Sienne a Florence - Italian pre-Renaissance art
Musee Jacquemart-Andre
158, bd Haussmann - 8th Arrondissement
€7,50 -10,00; Under 7: Free

March 19 - 23
Art Paris - Modern and Contemporary Art Fair
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
Avenue Winston-Churchill - 8th Arrondissement
€10,00 - 15,00

All of March - 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

All of March - April 13
Petit Dessein - Cartoon Exhibition
Musee du Louvre
99, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement
€6,00 - 9,00; Free with entry ticket to museum

All of March - May 11
David LaChapelle Retrospective - American surrealist photographer
Hotel de la Monnaie
11, quai de Conti - 6th Arrondissement
Please see website for more information

March - 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

All of March - 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


March 13 - 15
Salon Baby - Latest in baby products, health care & toys
Porte de Versailles
Porte de Versailles - 15th Arrondissement
€7,00; 7-12 yrs: €1,00; Under 7 & Seniors: Free

March 14 - 24
Les Mots de la Rencontre - French Language Week
Cite des Sciences
30, av Corentin Celtou - 19th Arrondissement
Please see website for cost

Until 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

Until 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

March 17 - June 29
Jazz Century - 1000 objects relating to Jazz
Musee du Quai Branly
37, quai Branly - 7th Arrondissement
€6,00 - 8,50

March 19 - May 17
Name or Number - Works by German artist, Ulla von Brandenburg
Le Plateau
Place Hannah Arendt - 19th Arrondissement

All of March - 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

All of March - August 16
Epidemik - History of epidemics
Cite des Sciences
30, avenue Corentin-Celtou - 19th Arrondissement
€6,00 - 8,00


Paint House - Hip Hop Festival
La Comedia
2, Impasse Lamier - 11th Arrondissemen
€3,00 - 6,00
Phone: +33 (0) 1 43 48 94 68

March 6
Gospel pour 100 Voix - Gospel choir
Palais Omnisports de Paris - Bercy
8, bd de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€40,00 - 62,00

March 7
Rai-N-B Fever - in concert
Palais Omnisports de Paris - Bercy
8, bd de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€32,00 - 58,00

March 9
Pink - in concert
Palais Omnisports de Paris - Bercy
8, bd de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€46,00 - 57,00

March 16 - 17
Tina Turner - in concert
Palais Omnisports de Paris - Bercy
8, bd de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€60,00 - 136,00

March 20 - 28
Africa Jazz - Top musicians
Musee du Quai Branly
37, quai Branly - 7th Arrondissement
€6,00 - 8,50

March 25
David Byrne - in concert
28, bd des Capucines - 9th Arrondissement
€56,50 - 84,00

March 27
Eagles of Death Metal - in concert
50, bd Voltaire - 11th Arrondissement


March 7
Les Before Youth Night - Open mic, photographic workshops & dance-offs
Musee du Quai Branly
37, quai Branly - 7th Arrondissement
18-25 years: Free

March 25 - April 4
Paris Fait Sa Comedie - Paris Does Comedy
Presented at 6 venues
In 2nd and 9th Arrondissements

March 28 - April 12
Off Limits -
Several venues
St-Ouen, Point Ephemere
€5,00 and up


March 8
Paris Half-Marathon
Parc Floral de Paris
Route de la Pyramide in Bois de Vincennes - 12th Arrondissement
€2,50 - 5,00

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

March 13 - 18
Salon du Livre Paris - Book Festival
Porte de Versailles Expo - Pavillon 1
Porte de Versailles - 15th Arrondissement
€7,00 - 10,00; Under 6: Free

March 19 - 22
Salon International du Tourisme - French Holiday Fair, about vacationing in France
Porte de Versailles Expo -Pavillon 4
Porte de Versailles - 15th Arrondissement

March -Various Dates
Antiques Fair - 250 vendors
Hippodrome de Longchamp
Routes des Tribunes in Bois de Boulogne - 16th Arrondissement

March 20 - 23
Salon Vivre Autrement: Ethic, Chic et Bio - Save the Planet
Parc Floral de Paris
Route de la Pyramide in Bois de Vincennes - 12th Arrondissement
€5,00 - 7,00

March 28
Le Festival des Art Martiaux - Martial Arts
Palais Omnisports de Paris - Bercy
8, bd de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€38,00 - 49,00

March 29
RTL FUTSAL - Football (Soccer)
Palais Omnisports de Paris - Bercy
8, bd de Bercy - 12th Arrondissement
€10,00 - 40,00

Jo'burg - Photographer Guy Tillim
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
2, impasse Lebouis - 14th Arrondissement
€3,00 - 6,00

All of March - May 3
Warhol TV - His Film Archives
La Maison Rouge - Fondation Antoine de Galbert
10, bd de la Bastille - 12th Arrondissement
€4,50 - 6,50

All of March - June 30
Chroniques Parisiennes Photo Exhibition - 70 photos of Parisian Life
Eiffel Tower
Champs-de-Mars - 7th Arrondissement
Free with entry ticket to Tower

All of March - December 29
Grande Ecurie - Grand Stables of Versailles
Chateau de Versailles
Avenue Rockfeller - Versailles, France

For full details, consult the April, 2009, edition of this newsletter available on April 1st

"Grande Chase aux Oeufs" - Big Easter Egg Hunt for 5 - 12 year-olds

"Nuits des Planetes" - Star gazing at the Observatory

April 1 - 2
"Metallica" - in concert

April 1 - 5
"Pavillon des Antiquaires" - Antique fair, 90 dealers

April 1 - 5
"Pavillon des Arts et du Design" - Modern art & design fair

April 3 - 5
"Salon Mondial du Cirque" - World Circus Trade Show

April 3 - 5
"Scrapbook Expo" - Europe's largest scrapbooking convention

April 4 - 9
"Salon des Artistes Independants" - Independent Artists Fair

April 5
"Paris Marathon" - Run along the most famous Parisian landmarks

April 7 - July 5
"Kreyol Factory" - Contemporary Creole artists, the first exhibition of its kind in Paris

April 10 - 13
"Easter Services" - Notre Dame Sunday Mass and Vendredi Saint (Good Friday)

Apri1 11 - 19
"Salon des Realites Nouvelles" - Contemporary and abstract art

April 12
"Paris-Roubaix Race" - Cycling race

April 17 - 19
"Paris Bike Days" - Latest innovations, accessories for bikes

April 23 - 26
"Jules Verne Film Festival"

April 26 - 30
"Salon du Dessin Contemporain" - 40 world-wide galleries display the latest in contemporary design

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

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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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