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Welcome 2 France Newsletter July 2009
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· Monet's House and Gardens at Giverny
· Monet's Water Lily Paintings at the Orangerie
· New Giverny Pattern at Gien Faienceries
· Berthillon Ice Cream on the Ile Saint-Louis
· Late Night Experiential Art at the Palais de Tokyo
· The Tenniseum and Stade Roland Garros, Site of the French Open
· Calendar of Events for July, 2009
· A Look Ahead at August Events


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Summer In Paris

With long days of sunshine and the parks in their green splendor, Paris will tempt you to spend lots of time outdoors this month. Here are some ideas for enjoying the summer.

Monet's Gardens at Giverny
This is a perfect time to take a day trip up to the house of Impressionist artist Claude Monet at Giverny. Monet planned the garden himself so that he could paint it. "If it had not been for flowers," he once wrote, "I would not have become a painter."

In July, the gardens are exploding with brilliant roses, zinnias, dahlias, verbena, sunflowers, and hollyhocks, and the famous pink and white water lilies are beginning to bloom. You can take pictures from the arched Japanese footbridge Monet painted over and over. But you might have to wait your turn; lots of people are attracted to Giverny.

Don't let the gardens distract you from going into Monet's pink house with dark green shutters. He was fascinated by Japanese prints, and you can see the originals he purchased still hanging on the walls. My favorite room is the kitchen: the walls are yellow, the cabinets are yellow, even the table and chairs have been painted yellow. Too much? No, it just reminds me of morning sunshine. It'll make you want to go home and rethink your kitchen.

You can catch a morning train to Vernon, the town where Giverny is located, from the Gare St. Lazare. While you're there, look up at the iron and glass roof that covers the tracks, and you may already be reminded of Monet; he painted this station eleven times.

Train schedules vary by day, but on weekdays there's usually an early morning train around 8:20am, and a mid-morning train around 10:20am. I suggest taking the first train on a weekday so you can enjoy the gardens before too many other people show up. The trip takes about 45 minutes, and there are late afternoon returns. Round trip second class train tickets run less than €13, and admittance to the house and gardens is €6.

Giverny is about three miles from the Vernon train station. Taxis show up for every train, and there are also shuttle buses (€4). If it's a particularly nice day and you're in the need of exercise, there's a paved foot and bike path all the way. It's easy to find, and there are also detailed directions at You can rent bikes from several cafés right at the station or from bike shops in Vernon. Good news: the path is flat.

Monet's Water Lilies at the Orangerie
If a day trip to Vernon won't fit your plans, immerse yourself in Monet's pictures. The museum housing his enormous water lily paintings was closed for several years, but now has been restored. The Nymphéas, as the paintings are known, are ranged around the walls of an oval room designed expressly for them. Here you can simply lose yourself in the water lilies.

As he aged, Monet had cataracts; they caused him to see the world with distorted colors. He liked the way the world looked with his blurred vision and refused to have corrective surgery, so you can decide for yourself whether you love the deep blues and greens of most of the pictures, or some of his later ones in tones of orange and red.

The Orangerie ( sits in the Tuileries Gardens near the Place de la Concorde. It was built in 1852, in the time of Napoleon III, to house orange trees grown in giant pots. A graceful building of stone and glass, it also houses works by Cézanne, Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and Modigliani, plus special exhibits. Admission is €7.50, and there are currently English language tours on Mondays and Thursdays at 2:30pm. Metro: Concorde.

The Flowers of Giverny to Take Home
Gien Faienceries (, one of France's leading producers of tableware, has created a new pattern of their faience this year; it's called De Paris a Giverny. Each of the dessert plates and serving platters show a scene from Monet's gardens rendered in soft watercolor-like washes. They'd make beautiful gifts for someone special, or just a lovely way to remember your time in Paris.

Faience is a kind of earthenware fired with a porcelain-like white glaze. The Gien works were founded in 1821 by an Englishman, Thomas Hall, who brought English firing methods to France. Gien is now known for their brilliant colors and high quality products. They have two stores in Paris: at 18, rue de l'Arcade near the Madeleine, and at 13, rue Jacob on the Left Bank.

Staying Cool
Seems like everyone has heard of Berthillon, the famous ice cream purveyors on the Ile Saint-Louis, one of the islands in the Seine. Their ice creams and sorbets are luscious and made with all-natural ingredients. You can sit in the café or buy your cones and cups at a walk-up window. Of course, the lines on a warm summer day can be very long. For years Berthillon closed in late July and August, but it looks like they'll be open this whole summer. Don't miss this treat; they're open from 10am - 8pm Wednesday through Sunday. And if you're staying in an apartment, you can even bring home some extra to keep in the fridge.

My favorite Berthillon ice cream flavor is caramel au buerre salé (salted butter caramel), a combination of savory and sweet that's addictive. And please give me another sorbet pamplemousse rose (pink grapefruit) on any sunny day. The entire list of flavors is at

One option for enjoying Berthillon ice cream without standing in line is to eat lunch on the Ile Saint-Louis and have ice cream for dessert. One of my favorite places is Auberge de la Reine Blanche. It's small and cozy, with tables close together in typical Parisian bistro style. The walls are studded with maquettes, antique miniature models of furniture created by woodworkers to show their customers. Last time I was there I had a goat cheese salad and navarin, a spring stew of lamb and vegetables. The restaurant is located on the main street of the island at 30, rue St-Louis en L'ile.

A Different Kind of Cool
If you've got teenagers with you (and even if you don't), definitely put the Palais de Tokyo on your list of places to go. The name comes from the building, which was constructed for the 1938 Paris Exposition. But today it houses Paris's most avant-garde art. There's no permanent collection. Instead, the exhibitions change constantly; they're almost always experiential, where you interact with the art in some way, or the art reacts to your presence when you walk into the room. (The show for July, called Spy Numbers, is all about secret codes.) The museum is small, only a few galleries, but it certainly will get you talking.

The Palais de Tokyo ( also has one of the most fun gift shops in the city, with outrageous posters, books and toys for the people on your list with out-there tastes.

Best of all, the museum is open till midnight Tuesday through Sunday, so it's a great evening's entertainment. Their restaurant, Tokyo Eat, has excellent food; entrées run €14 - €26.

The Palais de Tokyo is at 13, avenue du Président Wilson in the 16th, not far from the Trocadéro. Metro: either Alma-Marceau or Iéna. Entrance fee is €6.

You Can't Play at the French Open, But You Can Visit the Tenniseum
If your family are tennis fans, you'll want to visit the Stade Roland Garros where the French Open is played. Yes, the Open is already past, but there's still plenty to enjoy at the Tenniseum, a museum which features exhibits and memorabilia about the history of tennis. You enter the Tenniseum through the old-fashioned former groundskeeper's hut, and there you can visit, among other things, an exhibition on the career of 1920's and `30s tennis great René Lacoste, featuring photographs, film and personal objects he set aside for his grandchildren.

Best of all, you can take a guided tour of the entire Roland Garros complex, including what many believe are the finest clay courts in the world, and the players-only areas like the locker rooms and media center. (You just might get "interviewed" on video.)

Tickets for the guided tour must be reserved in advance by calling (+33) 1 47 43 48 or emailing (website info at Combined tickets for the museum and tour are €15 for adults and €10 under 18. English language tours are given at 11am and 3pm on Wednesdays and Friday through Sunday. Address: 2, avenue Gordon-Bennett. Metro: Porte d'Auteil.

Summer Fun

Bastille Day Celebrations, July 13-14
On the evening of the 13th, people gather at the Place de la Bastille for a huge outdoor dance party. The morning of July 14 sees a military parade, beginning at the Arc de Triomphe and continuing down the Champs Elysées. After dark, around 10:30pm, the fireworks begin near the Eiffel Tower. On both July 13 and 14, Paris firehouses host Bals des Pompiers - firemen's balls - all over the city.

Paris Plage, last week of July to mid-August
The city hauls tons of sand onto a two-mile stretch of the right bank of the Seine, near Pont Neuf, and Parisians head to the "beach."

Tour de France Finish, July 26
The final stage of the Tour de France bicycle race ends on the Champs Elysées.

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     - -

Calendar of Events - July, 2009


Until July 12
Bijoux Art Déco et Avant-Garde: Jean Després et Les Bijoutiers Modernes
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 rue de Rivoli, Métro Palais-Royal, Pyramides or Tuileries

Until July 12
Zadkine on Paper: 50 of his preparatory drawings
Musée Zadkine
100 bis, rue d'Assas - 6th Arrondissement
€3,00 - 4,00

Until July 13
Le Grand Monde d'Andy Warhol: Pop artist
Grand Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill - 8th Arrondissement
€8,00 - 11,00

Until July 19
See Italy and Die: Photography & painting in 19th century Italy
Musée d'Orsay
2, rue Bellechasse - 7th Arrondissement
€5,50 - 8,00

Until July 20
Alexander Calder, The Paris Years: 1926 - 1933
Centre Pompidou
Rue Saint-Martin, Place Georges Pompidou, 4th Arrondissement
€9,00 - 12,00

Through August 2
Filippo and Filippino Lippi: Renaissance Painting in Prato, Italy
Musée du Luxembourg
19 rue de Vaugirard, Metro Saint Sulpice, Odéon or Rennes

Through August 10
Kandinsky - 20th century abstract artist
Centre Pompidou
Rue Saint-Martin, Place Georges Pompidou - 4th Arrondissement
€9,00 - 12,00

Through August 29
Gustave Eiffel: Genius of Iron
Hotel de Ville
5, rue de Lobau, Metro Hotel de Ville
No website

Through August 30
Henri Cartier Bresson: A Vue d'Oeil
Maison Européenne de la Photographie
5/7 rue de Fourcy, Metro Saint Paul or Pont Marie

Through September 7
Philippe Parreno - "Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait"
Place Georges Pompidou - Galerie Sud
Rue Saint-Martin - 4th Arrondissement
€9,00 - 12,00

Through September 13
Forty Years of Photography: recreation of a 1975 Cartier Bresson photography show
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11, avenue du Président Wilson, Metro Alma-Marceau or Iéna

Through September 15
Suzanne Valadon et Maurice Utrillo - Mother and son's art
La Pinacotheque
28, place de la Madeleine, Metro Madeleine
€7,00 - 9,00

Through December 31
Tales of the Eiffel Tower
First floor and stairs of the Eiffel Tower, Metro Trocadéro or École Militaire
€4.50 - 13.00


July 2 - 5
Japan Expo
Parc des Exposition Paris-Nord Villepinte (near CDG Airport)
€9.00; 3-day ticket €30

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

Through November 22
Le Grand Pari(s): Ten Visions for the Future of Paris
Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine
Palais de Chaillot, 1 place du Trocadéro, Metro Trocadéro

Music, Theater and Film

Until July 7
Saint-Denis Festival - Music
16, rue de la Legion d'Honneur
Saint Denis, France
For prices, please see website

July 8 - 25
Paris Dance Festival: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
Théâtre du Châtelet
1, place du Châtelet, Metro Châtelet

Until July 15
Paris Chopin Festival - "Chopin recoit Szymanowski"
Orangerie de Bagatelle
Parc de Bagatelle in Bois de Boulogne - 16th Arrondissement
Various prices, see website

Until July 26
Paris Jazz Festival - Saturdays and Sundays
Parc Floral de Paris - Route de la Pyramide
Bois de Vincennes, Metro Chateau de Vincennes
€2,50 - 5,00; Under 7: Free

Until August 10
100 Dessuss Dessous Festival - Performing Arts
Parc de la Villette
211, avenue Jean Jaures, Metro Porte de la Villette, Corentin Cariou or Porte de Pantin
€12,00 - 15,00

Through October 5
Le Jardin Shakespeare's Open-Air Theatre
Bois de Boulogne - Chapiteau Alexis Gruss
Allee de la Reine Marguerite, Metro Porte Dauphine, Les Sablons, Porte Maillot, Porte d'Auteuil, Porte de Passy
Prices vary by event.


Until July 5
Foire Saint-Germain - Street fair since Medieval times
Place Saint-Sulpice, Metro Mabillon or Saint-Sulpice

Until July 28
Summer Sales at Printemps and Galeries Lafayette
Major department stores' semi-annual mark-downs
Metro Chaussée d'Antin La Fayette

Through September 20
Barbie - Exhibition of her first 50 years
Musée de la Poupée
Impasse Berthaud, near 22, rue Beaubourg, Metro Rambuteau
€5,00 - 7,00

Through October 12
Jardin des Papillons - Butterfly Garden
Bois de Vincennes -Parc Floral
Route de la Pyramide, Metro Chateau de Vincennes

Though December 29
Grande Ecurie - Grand Stables of Versailles
Chateau de Versailles
Avenue Rockefeller - Versailles, France

Through January 3, 2010
Crimexpo - Interactive display of crime scene investigation
Cite des Sciences
30, avenue Corentin Celtou - 19th Arrondissement
€7,00 - 10,00; Under 7: Free

Through January 31, 2010
Madeleine Vionnet - French fashion designer of the interwar years
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
107 -111, rue de Rivoli - 1st Arrondissement
€6,50 - 8,00

A Look Ahead for August, 2009

August 1 - September 20: Classique au Vert (

August - September: Arenes de Montmartre Festival (

August 30: Fete de Ganesh Procession (

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Thank you for your interest and best regards,

The Welcome 2 France team
Tel. 1 (650) 267-4328
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