Well, ten, ’cause I had to do it over once because I clicked on the wrong thing. So here is my slap-dash personal webpage. Weird, because that is really the promise of the web, isn’t it, that publishing should be easy? And Quick? So quick that it all happens before one figures out something worthwhile to say.
The countdown to France begins. I don’t know if I am ready for it. Though I rarely feel ready for anything.
There was an article about Paris in the NY Times Sunday:
October 10, 2004
By ELAINE SCIOLINO
Political autobiography has long been a fine art in France.
But Bertrand Delano?, the mayor of Paris and the country’s
best-known gay politician, has infused his new memoir with
an intimacy rare in French public life.
In “Life, Passionately,” published last month, the
54-year-old Socialist defends his decision to announce his
homosexuality six years ago, and reveals something else as
well: a love affair with Paris that began as a child
growing up in Tunisia.
Since his election three years ago, Mr. Delano? has treated
the city less as a cultural and historical temple that must
be preserved than as a living, breathing organism that
needs constant nurturing and love.
For three summers, he has transformed a swath of the
Seine’s banks into a sandy beach. He is extending M?tro
lines and promoting a tramway that will ring Paris. He is
creating car-free streets and multiplying the number of
bicycle lanes. He has stiffened fines for dog walkers who
don’t clean up after their pets.
Because Paris is so small (41 square miles, slightly
smaller than the Bronx) and so densely populated, some are
terrified by what they see as his threat to create an
architectural upheaval: a daring proposal to lift the ban
on construction of buildings taller than 12 stories.
“Without passion, and even without a dose of utopia, where
do you find the will to make things move?” he writes.
There is passion, and more than a dose of utopia,
in the “Turner-Whistler-Monet” exhibition, Oct. 13 to Jan.
17 at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, down the
Champs-Elys?es in the Eighth Arrondissement; (33-1)
184.108.40.206, online at www.rmn.fr/turner-whistler-monet.
The show highlights affinities among the British landscape
painter J. M. W. Turner, the American expatriate James
McNeill Whistler and the French Impressionist Claude Monet.
It includes about 100 paintings, watercolors and etchings.
Admission: $12.50 to $14 (at $1.25 to the euro).
The Carrousel du Louvre in the First will be host to Paris
Photo, an art-photography fair, Nov. 11 to 14. More than
100 galleries will exhibit the work of masters like Andre
Kertesz and Helmut Newton. Information: (33-1) 220.127.116.11
or www.parisphoto.fr. Admission: $17.50.
The French are fixated on anniversaries, and the 200th
anniversary of the birth of George Sand has triggered a
flurry of interest in the rebellious female novelist who
took a man’s name, dressed in pants and was the lover of
Chopin and Musset. The exhibition “George Sand, Nature of
an Artist” at the Mus?e de la Vie Romantique, 16, rue
Chaptal in the Ninth, (33-1) 18.104.22.168,
www.paris.fr/musees/vie_romantique, will run until Nov 28,
with drawings by her son Maurice Sand and ?tienne Verdot,
and paintings by Eug?ne Delacroix and Jean-Baptiste Corot.
It even includes a collection of her jewelry. Admission:
Through Nov. 14, a second George Sand exhibition at the
Biblioth?que Historique de la Ville de Paris, 24, rue Pav?e
in the Fourth, (33-1) 22.214.171.124,
www.paris-bibliotheques.org, features her manuscripts,
sketches and letters to Chopin and Flaubert. Free
To celebrate the bicentennial of Napoleon’s coronation as
emperor, the jeweler Chaumet has put together an exhibition
of the jewelry of Napoleon and his wives, and other pieces
from that era. The show, “Napoleon in Love,” also features
the work of Marie-?tienne Nitot, the founder of Chaumet and
the emperor’s official jeweler. It offers an opportunity to
visit Chaumet’s gilded private salons; 12, Place Vend?me in
the First; (33-1) 126.96.36.199. It runs through Dec. 2;
admission is free.
For dancing, the go-to event is Monday nights at Disco
Queen, 102, avenue des Champs-Elys?es in the Eighth, (33-1)
53.89.08.90, www.queen.fr. The club is for night owls with
a craving for 70’s music. The entrance fee of $19 includes
a drink; a cool style of dress facilitates entry.
If opera lovers missed it when it opened last year, there
is a reprise of Richard Strauss’ “Ariane in Naxos” at the
Op?ra Bastille, Place de la Bastille in the 11th, with the
soprano Natalie Dessay, Oct. 18 to Nov. 14. Tickets, $6.25
to $163, at the box office or www.opera-de-paris.fr.
The Michelin and Eyewitness guides are
pillars for any visitor to Paris. But there are also
wonderful guidebooks that reveal secrets of the city in a
different way. “Little-Known Museums in and Around Paris,”
by Rachel Kaplan, leads museum-goers with a map and color
photographs to 30 niche museums, including the two rooms at
2, boulevard de Strasbourg in the 10th that hold a
collection of 800 fans; open Tuesday only, (33-1)
At 47, rue Raynouard in the 16th, (33-1) 188.8.131.52,
online at www.paris.fr/musees/Balzac, visitors see the
modest house where Honor? de Balzac lived and wrote between
1840 and 1847 under the pseudonym Lord R’hoone. The study
is preserved much as it was when he worked there, with
velvet-covered walls, colored glass windows and a wooden
work table. Admission: $4.
Bicycle lanes cover 160 miles in the city and are
spreading. A delightful tour goes from the P?re Lachaise
cemetery to the trendy Canal St.-Martin, with a stop in the
Parc de Belleville, which offers a beautiful view of Paris
from its belvedere. A map of all the lanes is on Paris’s
official site, www.paris.fr. Roue Libre, at 1, Passage
Montd?tour in the First and 210, quai de Bercy in the 12th,
rents bikes for $19 a day weekends and $9 weekdays; (33-8)
10.44.15.34 or www.rouelibre.fr.
Every Friday at 10 p.m., skaters gather at the Gare
Montparnasse in the 14th for a three-hour tour through
designated streets. Traffic is banned; even pedestrians
have to yield for the skaters, who are shepherded by the
police. Information: www.pari-roller.com. A good place to
rent skates is Nomades, 37, boulevard Bourdon in the
Fourth, starting at $6.25 for a half day; (33-1)
Where to Stay
The H?tel Best Western Lorette Opera, 36, rue Notre Dame de
Lorette, (33-1) 184.108.40.206, fax (33-1) 220.127.116.11,
www.astotel.com/fr/web site/Hotels/Lorette, off the Place
St. George in the Ninth, was renovated this year and is now
swathed in shades of beige, gray and white. Some of the 84
rooms overlook the gardens of the Foundation Thiers.
Breakfast ($17.50) is in vaulted cellars with exposed stone
walls. Through December, doubles are $255 to $331. Two
floors are nonsmoking.
Near the Musee d’Orsay on the Left Bank, the H?tel d’Orsay,
93, rue de Lille, (33-1) 47.05.85.54, fax (33-1)
18.104.22.168, or www.esprit-de-france.com, has an airy feel
with some rooms much larger than usual for the price. The
lobby opens onto a tiny patio. The 41 rooms and two suites
are $148 for a single to $194 for a double with twin beds.
Budget: The H?tel Utrillo, 7, rue Aristide Bruant in the
18th, (33-1) 22.214.171.124, fax (33-1) 126.96.36.199,
www.hotel-paris-utrillo.com, is just off the lively Rue des
Abbesses and the Rue Lepic, a market street close to
Montmartre. The 30 simple, clean rooms overlook a little
courtyard on the quiet street. Doubles are $92 to $99.
Renovations were completed in June at the C?cil H?tel, 47,
rue Beaunier in the 14th, (33-1) 188.8.131.52, fax (33-1)
184.108.40.206, www.cecilhotel.net. Not far from Orly Airport,
the hotel has 25 rooms, each with its own style, like the
Shanghai room with a silky red bedspread and Chinese lamps.
Rare for Paris, the hotel is entirely non-smoking. Doubles
are $78 to $93.
Luxury: The Hilton Arc de Triomphe, 51-57, rue de
Courcelles in the Eighth, phone (33-1) 58.36.67.00, fax
(33-1) 220.127.116.11, www.hilton.com, opened in May off the
Parc Monceau and the Avenue Hoche. It is decorated in Art
Deco, with a lovely patio with palm trees and flowers. The
508 rooms have green marble bathrooms. Through Dec. 31,
rates are $339 for a standard double without breakfast
($38). The spa and fitness center are free for guests in
executive rooms ($439 to $464) or suites.
Where to Eat
L’Ami Marcel, 33, rue Georges Pitard, (33-1) 48.56.62.06 –
small, unpretentious, with inventive cuisine at good prices
– is hidden on an unremarkable street in an unremarkable
section of the 15th. There is a simple 70’s feel, with
chocolate and caramel colors and cerise-colored hanging
cylinder lamps. The menu likewise is simple: four
appetizers, eight main courses and four desserts.
Appetizers include rare tuna in ginger and seaweed; for
main courses, lamb shoulder with an onion confit and
roasted fruits, and herb-crusted cod with polenta. Dinner
for two with wine costs about $110. Lunch served Monday
through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday.
If there’s craving for a serious steak (and perhaps
something un-French), head for Anah?, 49, rue Volta in the
Third, (33-1) 18.104.22.168, fax (33-1) 22.214.171.124, an
Argentine restaurant in the Marais next to the classic
L’Ami Louis. Anah? offers grilled steaks like the bife
angosto, an Argentine beef filet, and a two-pound beef
entrec?te for two people; both are served unadorned on
wooden carving boards. Other fare includes giant shrimp
with okra and peanuts, and Cuban-style pork ribs. Dinner
for two with wine: $125. Open nightly except Sunday.
Another addition is the month-old Chiberta, 3, rue
Ars?ne-Houssaye, (33-1) 53.53.42.00, the fourth Paris
restaurant by the three-star master chef Guy Savoy.
Chiberta, just off the Champs-Elyse?s in the Eighth, is a
lower-priced alternative to his namesake restaurant; dinner
for two with wine is about $275.
A better bet still is the new Table de Jo?l Robuchon, 16,
avenue Bugeaud in the 16th; (33-1) 126.96.36.199, fax (33-1)
188.8.131.52, with exceptional food and good value.
Offerings include frog’s legs with chanterelles and garlic
pur?e, and carmelized quail with white truffle. Dinner for
two with wine: $140. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Sunday brunches do exist in Paris. With its wood paneling
and leather armchairs, Sir Winston, 5, rue de Presbourg
near the Arc de Triomphe in the 16th, (33-1) 184.108.40.206,
fax (33-1) 45.00.88.12, feels like a British club. It
serves American staples like eggs Benedict, bagels and lox,
and even coleslaw, as well as a lovely French toast pain
perdu. Jazz, blues or gospel is performed live from 2 to 5
p.m.; a multicourse brunch ($29) stretches from noon to 4
For serious collectors of vintage clothes, Didier Ludot,
20, galerie Montpensier in the Second, (33-1) 42.96.06.56,
sells breathtakingly expensive but exquisite vintage
couture at the Jardins du Palais Royal, near the Louvre.
As more Parisians do their food shopping on workdays, the
city has opened a market on the Place de la Bourse in the
Second. Open Tuesday and Friday from 12:30 to 8 p.m., it’s
one of the few markets open in late afternoon.
ELAINE SCIOLINO is chief of the Paris bureau of The Times.
Ariane Bernard and H?l?ne Fouquet contributed reporting for