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The Magritte exhibition and my poor, poor feet

I was really looking forward to the Magritte exhibition ‘La Trahison des Images‘ at the Centre Pompidou. 5 differently themed rooms (flames, shadows, curtains, words and the body in pieces) bulging with paintings from this amazing Surrealist painter who was deeply interested in Philosophy. The art bit is at the bottom 😉 A friend bought tickets and asked me what time I would like to go as they were valid for the whole day.  The whole day being anywhere between 11am and 9pm or 11pm on Mondays and Thursdays.  I was rather happy about this because in a lot of exhibitions you are given a slot, rarely more than 30 minutes, and immediately I become terrified of not being on time ….. We agreed on 3pm.  You will understand how this was a supremely bad idea further on….  So the great day arrives and I plan to be out of the house by 2.30pm. The Centre Pompidou is not far, plenty of buses would have dropped me off practically outside and this was last week, so it was a bright, clear, sunny day to be above ground.  I had even considered walking and would have arrived on time but the […]

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Not to be missed – On Achève Bien Les Anges ( We Shoot Angels )

“Horses are wonderful partners with whom one can create poetry.” Bartabas On achève bien les Anges (we shoot Angels) is a spectacular theatrical event, perfect for the run-up to Christmas but don’t miss it as it closes on 31st December.    I have tickets for the end of November and I am so excited I want to keep crossing and uncrossing my fingers and toes and am having trouble even thinking about writing this! This type of show has been named Equestrian Theatre, for those who love horses and don’t speak French it is perfect because there are no spoken words and there are several songs by Tom Waits. It is a unique mixture of man, horse, music, dance, humour and of course, angels, unique to Bartabas, the creator.  It is absolutely not a circus. “The marquee, caravans, music & horses give it the appearance of a circus but this show is a ritual, the music a vocation and the love of horses a religion. It is the work of a group who are artists through to the tips of their fingers or their hooves.” Oh I can’t wait, I can’t wait.   Here is the YouTube teaser video – click the […]

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Find the best guided tour of Paris for you

How do you choose the best guided tour of Paris for you? There are hundreds of ways of finding out all about Paris, some free and some not so free.  You can take a tour whilst walking, running, riding a bike, motorbike or a segway, taking a bus, a tuk tuk, a boat or whilst sitting down in a comfy seat watching a theatre performance to name but a few. But if you only have an hour or three, here are my Top Choices for having fun and finding your best guided tour of Paris : I love walking so for me this is the best : A great, and (technically) FREE choice is  www.discoverwalks.com  Take one of 5 trips round the Marais, Montmartre, ‘Parisian Landmarks’ The Left Bank (the South side) or the Islands with a young, bilingual Frenchman or woman, vividly – dressed in pink waistcoats or shirts so you can’t lose them.  These are not history lessons, they are full of facts, very funny anecdotes and stories about current events.  Great fun. Your guides exist on tips. If you are a lot more energetic you could sign up as for the FREE running tours on Wednesday mornings at 10am. […]

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Gene Kelly at the Paris Opera

Did you know Gene Kelly created a ballet for the Paris Opéra ?  Did you know he spoke excellent French ? Nope, neither did I until I booked to go on one of the several morning or afternoon English-speaking guided tour groups around the Palais Garnier for my Mother and I (highly recommended).  Apart from the 2 hour long tour of the building including the real explanation of where the Phantom of the Opera story came from (and yes there is a lake but no you cannot go there) we walked through the free, Special exhibition of “American Choreographers at the Paris Opera”. In that exhibition more than 70 years of American involvement at the Paris ballet is chronologically arranged – starting in 1947 with George Balanchine who created the New York City Ballet. Until 1970 the only other person to create a ballet was Gene Kelly in 1960 and in the exhibition is a video of him giving an interview in excellent French describing his ballet “Pas de Dieux”, a play on words meaning No Gods to the ballet term “Pas de Deux” meaning 2 people dancing together. This is the drawing of the costumes drawn by Gene Kelly and below is my bad […]

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Teens will love Will.i.am at the Louvre

I’m a fan of the Black Eyed Peas so when I heard last month that Will.i.am (founding member of the Black Eyed Peas for those over 30) was re-interpreting his “Mona Lisa Smile” video in association with the Louvre, my interest was piqued. I love the new video which was entirely set in the Louvre.  Throughout the song Will.i.am super-imposes himself on numerous of the Louvre’s most famous paintings, half of which I should know but don’t. Nicole Scherzinger plays La Joconde / Mona Lisa – but as I am over 30 I haven’t heard of her ;-( I think it would be a great wheeze to wander round the Louvre trying to spot the paintings used in the song !  One way to interest the teens, I think. I might have to find them in the correct order sequence though just because I am waaayy too complicated for my own good… Click on the photo to see the video. How many can you name off the top of your head ?   If you need help this link shows the original painting, the video version and a bio ! Not content with this collaboration, Will.i.am has also produced a 12 […]

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All change at the Catacombs – no 2hr wait !

For years I have wanted to visit the Catacombs as it is a huge tourist attraction. It is the ossuary of Paris which, from 1786, has held the uprooted skeletons of 6 million Parisians, some up to 900 years old, moved from over-flowing cemeteries into a small part of the 186 miles of tunnels created by limestone mining for the stone to build Paris. Descend the 19 metre spiral staircase (130 steps) walking for about 45 minutes / 1½ miles with 200 other people, 12 at a time, through the cavernous chambers displaying the carefully arranged bones.  What has stopped me going ? Lovely guests queued for an hour last week and in Summer it is more like 2-3 hrs with no cloakroom / toilet facilities.     But that has all changed! There is now a Catacombs ‘jump the queue’ ticket costing €27 including an audioguide which you book online. It is not part of the Paris Museum Pass package. Book early, or ask me to do it for you.  I tried to book in 10 days time at 5pm and there were only 17 places left. If not, you have 2 other choices : Queue for an ordinary ticket for €15 including […]

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The very best view of Paris

I think the very best view of Paris is from the Arc de Triomphe and it is even better in Winter than in Summer because Paris is so beautiful when it is lit against the night sky.  Climb these 284 metal steps to get a view of the Paris rooftops and the red, white and blue side of the Eiffel Tower (the other 3 sides are white).  If you are there when it is dark stay until, on the hour, it sparkles for 5 minutes.  Also giggle at the madness which is the sight of buses, cars and scooters on 8 unmarked lanes of cobblestones swerving and screeching below. On the way down you go through the obligatory shop, but it is one of the best museum shops and don’t miss the small but poignant exhibition on WWI to the right by the stairs. Your Paris Museum Pass works here. The perfect way to start this evening view is to queue for one of my favourite restaurants, the Relais de Venise, at 6.45pm ready for doors to open at 7pm – the restaurant will fill up completely! There is a fixed menu of green salad with walnuts then a plate of Steak and Chips twice.  The […]

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