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Newsletter #71: June 2006


*** Secrets of Paris Newsletter #71: June 27, 2006 ***


* Practical: Métro Info
* Entertainment: Filming on location in Paris
* Sightseeing: Quai Branly Museum Opens
* Dining: Déli-Cieux at Printemps
* Dining: Frascati closed
* Nightlife: Free Pyrotechnic Show
* News: ZURBAN is finished!
* Practical: How hot is too hot?
* Shopping: Marché d’Aligre
* Sightseeing: Marilyn Monroe Exhibit
* Humor: Guide de la Séduction
* Shopping: Cute Bags!
* Shopping: Timeless Dresses
* Sightseeing: Rome and Paris
* Nightlife: Dancing on the Seine
* Check out the Calendar
* Are you on the list?
* STILL Want to Change Your Subscription Address? Read this…

* From the Home Office *

So it’s summer now in Paris, technically, but aside from two days where I had to use the fan, it sure doesn’t feel like it! But while it might seem odd to be wearing a jacket in June, I can recall at least three of the last four summers where it hasn’t really heated up until mid-July. So pack accordingly if you’re visiting this month! I’ve been more active on the blog and calendar lately, so I thought I might tweak the format of this newsletter (yes, again) so that there are shorter entries with links to the more detailed blog entries (and photos). I see many of you have subscribed to the RSS feed, which is a great way to get the updates to the website and blog without having to worry about your spam blocker deleting the newsletters. Thanks to everyone who has sent in suggestions and tips to add to the growing Resource Guide, it’s all very much appreciated! – Heather

* Practical: Métro Info *

Lots happening this month at RATP headquarters

The bad news is that the prices are going up yet again on July 1 on “carnets” of ten tickets (now €10.90 instead of €10.70) and Carte Orange passes (€16 for a weekly pass, €52.50 for a monthly pass). The annual Navigo card is now €530.20 (or €48.20/month). There are also slightly higher prices for the Roissybus, Orlybus, and Mobilis cards. Individual tickets are still sold at €1.40 each.

Speaking of the Navigo pass, you can now get it online instead of having to go to one of the RATP offices. I highly recommend it, not only because you get to speed through the turnstile with a “ding!” but also because it is immediately replaced for free if you lose it, and you save money. You can even pay in monthly installments if you don’t have the cash up front. Kind of a no-brainer. They allow you to buy them by the month now, too.

If you’re a tourist and want one of the weekly Carte Orange passes, make sure to have the photo (about passport size) ready to show at the window, because it seems some of the cashiers are refusing to sell tickets to those without a ready photos, saying “they’re not for tourists”. You don’t need a professional photo; most metro stations have a cheesy photo booth that does the job fine.

Summer time is construction time in Paris , since most commuting Parisians either go on vacation or don’t mind cycling/walking to work. The line 6 is closed completely between Place d’Italie and Bercy, with a replacement bus (but best to avoid trying to go from Nation towards Etoile) until September 1. See the schedule of other stations closed for renovations here.

* Entertainment: Filming on location in Paris *

I found this cool website that not only lets you know what’s currently being filmed in Paris (I just found out an episode of the Sopranos was filmed here in March!), but also lets you search for locations, ”talent” and other film industry resources in Paris.  Another site lets you search their database by location or by film (including classics). A search under Paris , 1re arrondissement lists 76 films with specific info on exact locations, scenes, director and actors, and links to more info on the film. The Bourne Identity has five locations in Paris listed, Funny Face just one. 

If you’re in Paris right now, check out the free open-air screening of the Triplettes of Belleville at the Hôtel de Ville tonight (27th) from 10pm . You might want to bring a rain coat, too! The event marks the opening of the Paris au Cinéma festival (through July 11). See more info in the Calendar.

I saw a French indie film last week, Changement d’Adresse, and I highly recommend it. I’m not usually a huge fan of French cinema, too “chatty” for me to follow. But this one was great. It’s just a really sweet film about a slightly geeky newcomer in Paris (he’s the director, too) who falls in love with a very “difficult” Parisian. I liked it because it was just so darned funny. Some say it’s very Woody Allen-esque, but I think it’s better! It got a standing O in Cannes last month.

Another film that just came out at the Cannes Film Fest is actually a series of 18 shorts about Paris called “Paris Je t’Aime”. Each segment is by a different director (including Coen Brosthers, Alexander Payne, Gerard Depardieu, Nobuhiro Suwa, Wes Craven) and actors (Juliette Binoche, Fanny Ardant, Natalie Portman, Nick Nolte, Steve Buscemi, Bob Hoskins, Gena Rowlands). All of the segments are about love, of course, each one set in a different arrondissment. Some links:



* Sightseeing: Quai Branly Museum Opens *

The new Musée du Quai Branly (featuring “Primitive Arts” from Asia , Africa , Oceania , and the Americas) opened officially on Friday. It’s open late on Thursday nights until 9pm , closed on Monday. Tickets are €8.50 for thepermanent collection, €13 for access to the temporary exhibits. Personally, I’m more interested in the Jean Nouvel architecture and the vertical garden (I’ve seen it from the street during construction); stay tuned for a full write-up on the blog once I get over there: 

* Dining: Déli-Cieux at Printemps *

Among the latest dining reviews on the Secrets of Paris Resource Guide is a review of the Déli-Cieux café on the top floor of the Printemps Maison department store. Read all about it (and see pics) here.

* Dining: Frascati closed *

So sad to see the windows painted over at Frascati, the adorable Italian deli in the Marais. If anyone knows whether the owners opened in a new location, let me know! Such great tortellini’s and salads…

* Nightlife: Free Pyrotechnic Show *

Every Saturday night, from about 9pm , a group of amateur pyrotechnic artists put on a show on the lower terrace of the Palais de Tokyo (Avenue du Président Wilson , 16th, M° Alma-Marceau – M°Iéna is closed for renovations). Expect to see a colorful assembly of fire breathers and flaming baton jugglers. Free. Wear your Kevlar jackets or keep a good distance! If you understand French, see the website of the organizers (the forum has info on the Saturday shows).

* News: ZURBAN is finished! *

I’m soooo totally bummed that the weekly Zurban Guide finally bit the dust. The last issue came out on June 7, without much fanfare (there was even an ”in next week’s issue” type of message. Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be anything else that competes with this guide. Not only did it have great listings for free events, concerts, flea markets, festivals, vernissages, soirées, and films, it also had restaurant reviews, shopping and nightlife info, and some genuinely “grass-roots involvement” messages that are hard to find in mainstream press. The closest thing might be the free “A Nous Paris” magazine distributed Mondays in the Métro. In the letter I received in the post (I was a subscriber), Zurban recommended we switch to Pariscope. Pah! Horrible. Nothing but paid restaurant reviews and porn listings in the back. I can go online if I need the cinema times. What a sad loss. *sniff*

* Practical: How hot is too hot? *

It got pretty hot last week. Hot enough that even with the fan on and the windows open, I thought I’d melt. Hot enough that air conditioning was pretty much a necessity. It’s rare, but it does get that hot! So when you’re looking at the forecast, anything above 28°C will be uncomfortable for most people (and I’m from AZ, don’t forget). Anything above 32°C is stifling. Get thee to the Louvre’s A/C’s halls, and forget the Eiffel Tower (“Gross”, according to someone else who dared go up in the squashed elevator with 20 other sweating bodies). Most summer days will be about 25°C, which is just about perfect (cool enough in the morning to wear a sweater, hot enough at lunch to enjoy a sunny terrace café).

* Shopping: Marché d’Aligre *

They’re almost done re-surfacing the streets (and adding lovely new cobblestones) to the Marché d’Aligre (12th, M° Ledru-Rollin). It’s one of my favorite markets to visit for fun (rather than grocery shopping…it’s a bit far to haul things home). I found this great website with photos of the market, and funny little surprises hidden by the webmaster (click on the floating pig on the Charcuterie page). 

* Sightseeing: Marilyn Monroe Exhibit *

The Musée Maillol (Fondation Dina Vierny, 61 rue de Grenelle, 7th) is hosting a temporary exhibition opening June 29 featuring the 59 photos taken of the actress by Bert Stern for Vogue in 1962, called “The Last Sitting” (she died the day the magazine was published).  Through October 2006.

* Humor: Guide de la Séduction *

They had to learn somewhere, eh? This men’s clothing chain has, right on the home page, a link to a page full of links that teach men how to be seductive. Funnily enough, if you go to the English version of the site, the link disappears. Best brush up on your French, then, boys!

* Shopping: Cute Bags! *

I found the most adorable website selling tote bags (made from recycled plastics) for €17. The best is “Marie & Son Loup” (Marie and her Wolf), with a little Eiffel Tower in the background. Perfect for carrying home groceries from the market! 

* Shopping: Timeless Dresses *

Marc Jacobs’ new boutique at the Palais Royal may be getting all of the press, but across the gardens the dress-maker Jerome L’Huillier has been making classic, well-cut dresses that flatter every shape at affordable prices (the most expensive one I saw was about €450,most are around €250). He has a typically Parisian style, and used to design for Balmain and Givenchy until opening his own store in 1990. His own website is almost up.

If you read French you can read about him here.

Better yet, stop by and have a look! He’s at 27 Rue de Valois (under the eastern arcade of the Palais Royal gardens), 1st. Tel 01 49 26 91 61.

* Sightseeing: Rome and Paris *

Hey Paris residents! Did you know that if you go to Rome your proof of Paris residency (ID card) will get you into all of the municipal museums for free? It’s a reciprocal agreement between the sister cities. Read about it here.

* Nightlife: Dancing on the Seine *

With the warm(ish) weather comes the dancing! Every night (barring rain) at about 9pm an informal group of regulars set up speakers in the amphitheatres along the Seine at the Square Tino Rossi (5th) for dancing under the stars. There’s a die-hard tango group, but also salsa and swing dancing when the crowd is big enough. Last night they were still there at midnight . For some extra info (in French),click here.

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