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Newsletter #52: October 2004

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Secrets of Paris Newsletter #52: October 11, 2004

* From the Editor *
Some of you may have noticed that the SecretsofParis.com site and calendar haven’t been updated lately…that’s because my web host has had a meltdown and haven’t quite got their act together (it’s name2host.com, in case you were wondering). So after dealing with spotty e-mail service and the ongoing inability to update my site, I’m moving to a new host tonight. I’m going to attempt to combine this site with my other one, RivieraWriter.com. Cross fingers! Everything may be down again for a few days (the support call center folks are very nice, but sometimes this techie stuff is way over my head). Luckily this newsletter isn’t hosted by completely incompetent people, so I’ll fill you in on what’s going on this month (please pass it on to those who aren’t subscribed; who knows when it will make it on the website), and try to do a second newsletter later this month. Paris was gorgeous for a few blissful days last week, but alas now it really is fall. If you’re incoming, be sure to pack a scarf and hat! – Heather

* Democratic Action in Paris! *
I sent in my absentee ballot today (for Minnesota), sealed and given extra postage just in case…let’s hope it doesn’t sink in the Atlantic somewhere! Lots going on in Paris for the election build-up:

– October 12: Absentee ballots need to be sent TODAY! If you don’t have yours yet, contact AARO for a temporary one.

– October 13 at midnight (Wednesday night): Live Broadcast of the Kerry-Bush debate by the Young Democrats of Paris at Carr’s Irish Restaurant (1, Rue du Mont Thabor, 1st), including a screening of “UNPRECEDENTED”, a documentary on the 2000 Florida Election debacle. No RSVP, cash bar.

– October 14 at 5:30pm: See a re-broadcast of the Kerry-Bush debate at Joe Allen’s restaurant (30 rue Pierre Lescot, 1st), first come, first serve, no RSVP needed (limited space).

– October 16 at 2pm: Town Meeting for AARO (Association of Americans Resident Overseas – http://www.aaro.org), a non-partisan group that represents the interests of Americans living overseas. At the American Church (65 Quai d’Orsay, 7th), call to reserve a free seat by the 14th at 01 47 20 24 15.

– October 16 at 3pm: Democrats Rally/March at the Eiffel Tower (avenue Gustave Eiffel). Bring your signs. See www.fr.democratsabroad.org for more info (the time has already changed once…)

* HR Giger Expo *
got to see the opening of HR Giger’s exhibition at the Halle St-Pierre, “The World According to HR Giger”, with the fuzzy-haired Swiss artist himself on the scene and some excellent music by Vox Regina. Catch the expo until February 6th (2 Rue Rosnard, 18th, below Sacré-Coeur, entrance €7). You can also see some of his work for sale at the new Galerie Arludik (dedicated to the cinema, comic book and video game arts) through October 30 at 12 Rue St-Louis-en-Ile, 4th.

* Garden Tours *
Okay, so the weather has turned for the worse, but what better place to be than in a garden with all of the changing leaves and fall flowers? Yours truly is hosting a few more walks in the coming two weeks. The 90-minute tours are just €10, and you can join Robin (the Paris Gardens director) and me afterwards for tea or lunch. Be sure to reserve a spot so we know you’re coming (three people need to sign up or the tour gets cancelled): parisgardens@free.fr or 01 47 41 21 59.

– October 14 at 10:30am: Tour of the Parc de Montsouris

– October 17 at 2:30pm: Tour of the Gardens of the Marais

– October 18 at 2:30pm: Tour of the Shakespeare Garden and Pré Catalan at the Bois de Boulogne

– October 22 at 2:30pm: Gardens of the 7th (Rodin Musée and Les Invalides)

* WICE Events *
– Open House on October 13: Come check out WICE on Wednesday, from 2pm-8pm, and meet the members, volunteers and teachers who make up this international educational center for English-speaking expats and French locals who want to learn English. There will be prize drawings, and all new members will get €10 off the price of a year’s rate. Members get all sorts of benefits besides being able to take the classes, such as guided walks, wine tasting, English book library and expat resource center. The address is 20 Blvd du Montparnasse, 15th, Metro Duroc (in the courtyard). Tel: 01 45 66 75 50. Check out the new fall program of classes and volunteer training hours at the website, www.wice-paris.org.

– Used Book Sale on October 16 and 17: Come to the biggest English book sale in town, with thousands of books starting at €0.50, including first-editions, signed books, rare books, DVDs, kid’s books, CDs, etc. Saturday from 2-9pm, auction at 6pm, and on Sunday from 11am-5pm. If you have books to donate WICE will pick them up (call John Baxter at 01 43 54 25 74).

* Halloween at Disneyland *
Y’all know how much I love Disneyland and Halloween (what’s there not to like about free chocolate and cool costumes?). This year Disneyland Paris is having an Halloween party on October 31, admission is just €26 for the evening (free for kids under 3) from 8:30pm until 1am. You can book your tickets online up until the 22nd: www.disneylandparis.com. Also, for all of you locals, there’s a special annual Passport for unlimited visits for anyone residing in Ile-de-France for just €89 (it’s €115 for everyone else). Now all I need is a costume…

* Historic Bank Opens its Doors *
The Société Général on Boulevard Haussmann (across from the Galeries Lafayette department store) was built during the Second Empire in 1864, with an amazing Art Nouveau interior of mosaic tiled floors and a soaring stained-glass dome ceiling. It’s usually closed to the general public, but visitors are welcomed to pop in through November 15, 2004 for a temporary exhibition which highlights the construction of the historic monument (only in French). You’re pretty much constrained to stay at the main entrance, which is a fabulous view (you’ll have to memorize it – no photos allowed). Address: 29 Blvd Haussmann, 9th.

* A Week of Foodiness *
The 15th Semaine du Goût takes place October 11-17 throughout France, with participating restaurants offering special gourmet menus and food-worshipping activities at open markets and food boutiques. For more info check out the website: www.legout.com

* Cinema Festival *
The 5th annual “Paris, Capitale du Cinéma Art & Essai” film festival takes place October 13-19. There are 30 participating cinemas around town, with 16 dedicated entirely to this year’s theme: “Love and Hate”. Screenings are just €4, including the Premier of the film "A tout de suite" by Benoît Jacquot (which was shown at the Cannes Film Fest). For the schedule and list of films visit this huge link.

* Chocolate à Go Go! *
Woo hoo! It’s almost time for the tenth annual chocaholic fest known as the Salon du Chocolat, October 28-November 1 at the Porte du Versailles exposition hall #5. Entrance is €10, €5 for kids 3-12 years old. You’ll be able to eat more than that in samples, trust me.

* International Music (That Doesn’t Suck) *
Check out French alternative pop singer Laetitia Shériff with opening act by the excellent Franco-Italian-American group headed by Piers Faccini October 14 at the Bouffes du Nord (37 bis, Bld de la Chapelle, 10th), 8pm. Tickets are €20.

La Fontaine (20 rue de la Grange-aux-Belles, 10th, metro Colonel-Fabien, tel 01 42 45 36 27) has free jazz concerts Monday through Saturday nights. Don’t miss Rick Margitza on Monday nights (from 9:30pm), one of New York’s jazz legends who played with Miles Davis for 20 years, playing on the 18th and 25th.

* An American Pastry Chef in Paris *
Dessert cookbook author and full-time Parisian expat David Lebovitz will be hosting a discussion, tasting and signing for his latest book, “The Great Book of Chocolate” at WH Smith on October 26. Address: 248 rue de Rivoli, 1st (call for reservations: 01 44 77 88 99).

* Artisans Open Workshop Festival *
Visit the workshops of artisans throughout the country from October 15-17 for the Journées des Métiers d’Art. The website lists which workshops will be open for all types of artistic activities such as floral art, woodworking, iron smithing, jewelry-making, stained glass restoration and painting.

PS: Thanks to everyone who said hello to me while signing books at the Bloom Where You’re Planted seminar. It was the first time I actually got to see my book (on sale at Brentano’s now), and I can’t believe how HUGE it is! For all of you who want a guidebook with large type…mine doubles as a doorstop! 😉


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