Passionate About Paris: January 18th 2012

Welcome to a new post in my weekly blog series, Passionate About Paris.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Paris, like me a can’t-get-enough-of-Paris devotee, or perhaps just mildly curious about the City of Light, I hope you’ll find in these posts some ideas to inspire, hints to help and a sense of sharing what’s great about this awesome city.  Here’s my round up of tips, info and what’s new this week.

It may be winter outside (as the song says) but Paris will still delight: fewer visitors, more space in the museums, less crowding in the cafes (although you could still sit outside under a heater) and accommodation costs are generally lower, though do check for major events such as Paris Fashion Week. Remember too that the sales are in full swing, as highlighted in last week’s post.

If you’re planning to travel to Paris between January 19th and March 29th you can get a reduced fare on Eurostar though their sale ends on January 23rd, so you need to move fast. £59.00 return fares are available on selected trains and the website has a user-friendly calendar to help you to find them easily. Routes to Brussels and Lille are on sale too. www.eurostar.com

What’s on                                                                                                               International Circus Festival of Tomorrow: January 26-29                                     The annual International Circus Festival of Tomorrow at Paris’ Pelouse de Reuilly offers the chance to catch the world’s finest circuses under one roof. It’s the place where the cream of the acrobatic crop come together to perform in a spirit of friendly competition.

Young artists from such diverse schools as the Beijing Circus, the Moscow Circus, the Swiss Knie Circus and France’s own Ecole Fratellini compete at the festival in a bid to discover the stars of the future.

Contenders enter categories according to age group, with 16-25 year-olds competing in the Cirque de Demain and 12-16 year-olds compete in the Cirque de l’Avenir category.

The Circus of the Future is open to acrobats 12-18 years old and the Annie Fratellini and Yuri Nikulin awards are for clowns under 30.

The festival takes place at Pelouse de Reuilly, Bois de Vincennes, 12th arrondissement. Métro: Porte Dorée, Liberté or Porte de Charenton.

All details on their website which has links in English: http://www.cirquededemain.com/web/index.php

The Louvre has a new exhibition of American art which opened last Saturday and runs until April 16th.  “American Art Enters The Louvre” aims to correct the perceived under-representation of American art in the galleries and is a collaboration between the Louvre and three US art institutions. Tracing the birth of American landscape painting and its influences, the exhibition focuses on Thomas Cole of the Hudson River School of American painters.

La Java is a 1920 dance hall that hosts English and anglophone comedy and music nights (ideal if you’re French isn’t up to braving the French counterparts). Bill Bailey and Josie Long have appeared there and Rich Hall is scheduled for February 21 and 22. Other evenings tend to be fairly impromptu so check their website. 105 rue du faubourg du Temple, 10th arrondissement. Metro: Goncourt or Belleville. http://www.anythingmatters.com/index1.html

If you’re looking for uber-hip counter culture, try the Nouveau Casino in Oberkampf. Housed in a former cinema adjacent to the Café Charbon, it holds regular live music concerts by some of today’s most off-beat bands. 109 rue Oberkampf, 11th arrondissement. Métro: Parmentier or Ménilmontant.

Here’s one for the children: budding wizards will enjoy a visit to the                    Magic Museum, exploring the history of magic, meeting magic robots and maybe getting lost in the Hall of Mirrors. There’s a live magic show, with entry costing €9 for adults, €7 for children. There’s even a magic school (a piece of Hogwarts in Paris!) costing €20, advance booking necessary. The Magic Museum is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1400-1900 and every day during French school holidays, excluding July and August. Come under the spell at 11 Rue Saint Paul, 4th arrondissement. Métro: Saint-Paul/Bastille, Sully-Morland.

And finally ….Don’t forget the spectacular treat in store if you’ll be in Paris for Chinese New Year. The Year of the Dragon begins on January 23rd and on Saturday 28th there will be a traditional and vibrant procession featuring lions and dragons starting at 2.30 p.m. in front the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) in the 4th arrondissement.

À bientôt!

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