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La Rentrée – 10 Ways to Embrace and Celebrate

La Rentrée – 10 Ways to Embrace and Celebrate

La Rentrée is upon us.  The end of summer is here and it is time for re-entry to the world of work and school – La Rentrée.  Such an apt word to describe getting back into the routine.  Yes, it is foreign to us (no joke).  The French take the month of August off work, so it is really a total mindset adjustment when work and school begin again.  Imagine the hardship!!!!

And, because this summer is over after having been particularly hectic, are a few ideas that may help for La Rentrée.

10 Ways to Embrace La Rentrée

Embracing re-entry after leaving the shores of the Mediterranean sounds impossible. And, I agree. How can anyone be happy to leave the “sud-life” to go back to the grind?

But, to get back down to the Riviera, work must be done to earn the euros required to enjoy the holiday. So, it may not be easy to embrace La Rentrée, but here are a few ideas. It doesn’t have to be a grind! Make La Rentrée a new part of a fun fall.

1. Head to the nearest brasserie and indulge with a plateau de fruits de mer.

What could be more reminiscent of time near the water than huge platters iced seafood? Lobsters, clams, oysters, shrimp, mussels and mignonette sauce. Refreshing and briny to bring you back to the “sud-life.”

2. A pique-nique in a garden.

The weather will be cooler and the leaves will begin to change soon. Spread your blanket under a giant tree and bust out the bread, cheese and foie gras! Bring some red wine, real plates, real cutlery, and real glasses. Make it special. Enjoy life at home just like you did on vacation.

3. Buy some new sheets or new towels. Go shopping.

Think about the little luxury you wanted before vacation and put it in your shopping cart. Fresh, crisp sheets and thick, absorbent towels will put you right as rain.

4. Put exercise back in your routine.

Re-entry can be less stressful if you carve out some time to exercise. Whether it is walking, running, going to the gym, swimming. Make some time to get your body back into physical well being. It will help with the routine of school and work. Plus, you will be keeping that body in shape for next summer’s fun!

5. Get your children a new, fun and useful school bag, lunch box, or outfit.

Just a little something will help the children ease into re-entry as well. Remember, it is just as hard for them to start a new “work” year. A little something special, something they choose, not picked by you, will help everyone’s feelings.

6. At least for a few weeks, try to plan dinner ahead so you can shop effectively at the grocery store.

Looking at recipes for quickly prepared meals and making lists is such a time saver. See what sides, salads, and mains you can make without much time, or all in one sheet pan in the oven, and make them work to your advantage. Lists help so much!!!! One for what to have for dinner and one for the ingredients to make them happen.

7. Speaking of food…. try to recreate a great recipe or meal that you had during the summer.

You may not be surprised to find a recipe or many recipes for that memorable meal online. Many times, restaurants list nearly all of the ingredients in the menu. Other times, if it is really good, others have thought the same thing and posted their own recipes recreating special foods. Or, if you are really creative and have a great food sense and memory, start trying it out on your own. Who knows, you may create something you like even better.

8. Didn’t see all of your friends over the summer? Now is the perfect time to catch up.

Pull out your calendars and compare schedules for the upcoming weeks. Plan a coffee or cocktail date and put it on the calendar in pen. Then, you can discuss your summers and also commiserate over La Rentrée.

9. Do not over-schedule!

The surest way to bomb at re-entry is to over schedule. Before accepting invitations for play dates and dinners, take a deep breath, take your time and look at your calendar. You need some time at home. Downtime with just the family. Or, so the children can study, you can get ready for the next workday, and everyone can have a few minutes without being overwhelmed with things to do.

10. Eat dinner together as a family.

After making your lists for dinner and ingredients, and making sure you aren’t overbooked, have dinner with the family. Find out about the new school schedule, re-hash (quickly) the bad parts of work, and move on to talk about plans for the future. Find out what is happening now that re-entry is in full swing.

What is your best advice to ease the re-entry?

…ease into La Rentrée…

Cultural Highlights – Visual and Performing Arts Coming to Paris Spring 2019

Cultural Highlights – Visual and Performing Arts Coming to Paris Spring 2019

Spring 2019 Cultural Highlights

Visual and performing arts again take center stage when planning a trip to Paris.  Along with organ concerts and musical performance at many churches, take a look at this super short list of exciting events.  They may be enough reason to start planning now.

Visual Arts

Love Oceania?

Musee du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac hosts a comprehensive exhibition on Oceania from March 12, 2019 until July 7, 2019. On the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific region, encompassing the 25,000 islands of Oceania, he introduced the Western world to Oceanic peoples and their art. From the museum’s website, “Across this vast, scattered territory in which each archipelago island and land has managed to preserve its own unique characteristics, artists nonetheless share universal questions, issues, and reflections. Featuring painstakingly sculpted canoes, jade ornaments, ritual figures, and contemporary videos and installations, Oceania reveals how tradition and ancestral memory coexist with the visionary and sometimes critical perspective that these artists have of their society and the rest of the world.”

Palais de Tokyo

Palais de Tokyo

Various exhibitions and site-specific installations fill the huge spaces here. From Julien Creuzet, Theaster Gates, Julius von Bismark, to Louis-Cyprien Rials and more. These young artists are exploring world societies norms and histories and putting it right in front through cutting edge art.  Open from noon to midnight every day except Tuesdays. Buckle up and take a look at the exhibits filling the Palais de Tokyo.

Calder-Picasso

Calder-Picasso

“Calder-Picasso” is on view from February 19, 2019, until August 25, 2019, at the National Picasso Museum Paris (Musée National Picasso-Paris).  This exhibition will be a rare chance to see together approximately 150 works by these two 20th century masters. Negative space or the void is the focus of the show. Should be an interesting mash-up.

The Orient of the Painters, from Dream to Light

Orient of the Painters

From March 7, 2019, until July 21, 2019, the Musée Marmottan Monet mounts “The Orient of the Painters, from Dream to Light.” This show presents Orientalist paintings along with the theory that abstraction had its birth in these Orientalism paintings. (During the 19th century, the “Orient” to the painters in Europe was generally the Middle East and North African countries. The distant exotic lands had only been revealed through Napoleon’s conquests and the return of stories and trophies.) The paintings are alive with vivid color and fantastical scenes. May have to make a return trip to see this show or at least hope for a catalog.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Closed for rehanging and installation.  Reopens March 15, 2019.

Performing Arts

Opéra National de Paris – Bastille

Opera Bastille

Over at the Opéra Bastille, enjoy timeless favorites by recognized masters of opera. Or, see the experimental, Tree of Codes. What about the not too often performed, Prince Igor by Borodine? Or, Rameau’s opera-ballet, Les Indes galantes?

Palais Garnier

Opera Garnier Interior

Celebrate the 350th anniversary of Opera in Paris at the Palais Garnier on 08 May 2019. The incredible diva, Anna Netrebko, will perform along with Yusif Eyvazov. Throughout the remainder of the spring season, Mozart, Verdi, and Donizetti are on the stage, as well as many ballet performances. All are in the sumptuous red velvet and gilded surrounds of the famous opera house.

Philharmonie de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris

photo © William Beaucardet

Find a variety of concerts, chamber music, choral works and solo singing performances in the spring.  Berlioz’s Requiem, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers and even Benjamin Brittan’s War Requiem.  Where else can you hear these?

Modern Dance

Theatre National de Chaillot

Theatre National de Chaillot

Théâtre National de Chaillot offers a selection of interesting and arresting dance performances.  Just reading the titles of the works is enticing:  Some Hope for the Bastards by Canadian, Frédérick Gravel; Nederlands Dans Theater’s, Subtle Dust; Catherine Diverrès’, Blow The Bloody Doors Off!

 

Tricentennial of New Orleans

Tricentennial of New Orleans

The year 2018 has been a year-long celebration of the Tricentennial of New Orleans, obviously a French city from its beginning.  Through its 300 years, it abounds with history from war, malaria, floods, fires, the birth of the cocktail and much of Mardi Gras.
 

The Founding of New Orleans

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville (photo) of the French Mississippi Company.  The outpost at a curve in the river was named for the Philippe II, Duke of Orléans.  And, the colony of La Louisiane was named for King Louis XIV when René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle claimed all the waters drained by the Mississippi for France in 1682.
 

Celebrate the Tricentennial of New Orleans

Cabildo
 
As a fitting end to the Tricentennial celebrations, a final grand costume ball will be held in New Orleans on Saturday, December 1, 2018, at the Cabildo.  The invitations specify the attire as “period costume reminiscent of Don Almonester’s era (late 18th century), or the era of the Baroness (early 19th century through 1850s).”
 
The Cabildo is a fitting venue for the grand costume ball.  In its antique rooms, the Louisiana Purchase was finalized and the Louisiana Territory became part of the United States of America in 1803.  Out of its windows you can see Jackson Square and the two flanking red brick buildings from the 1840s that were built by the Baroness Pontalba.
 

Baroness Pontalba

Baroness Pontalba
 
If you do not remember much about her, here is a short version of famous Baroness.
 
Micaela Leonarda Antonia de Almonester Rojas y de la Ronde, Baroness de Pontalba was born in 1795 in New Orleans and died in Paris in 1874.  Her father was from Spain, Don Andrés Almonester y Rojas.  Don Almonester created a fortune from his political dealings from the Cabildo.
 
Besides being the richest woman in New Orleans, she probably had one of the most interesting lives of anyone from New Orleans.  She designed and constructed the twin buildings.  The Baroness wore pants and climbed ladders while overseeing every detail of the work.  Even the iron work bears her initials, “AP” for Almonaster Pontalba.  The buildings are so important to the United States, they were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
 
Pontalba Building
 

Deep and Long-Lasting Connections

While in New Orleans, the Baroness was also shot repeatedly by her father-in-law before he killed himself.  For years, he and her husband had been trying unsuccessfully to wrest control of her fortune from her.  She survived the gunshots suffering mangled fingers that blocked the bullets from killing her.  Eventually she moved permanently to Paris to a grand house she commissioned.
 
And, by grand, it is really grand.  Baroness Pontabla’s former mansion, the Hôtel de Pontalba, is now the United States Embassy.  It is right off the Place de la Concorde on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.  Look for American armed service members patrolling outside.  Needless to say, nothing shabby about the Baroness.
 
Hotel de Pontalba Paris
 
If you want to know more about her, read the fascinating and engrossing story of the real Baroness in the late Dr. Christine Vella’s Pulitzer-Prize nominated book, Intimate Enemies. You can find it here on Amazon:

History Comes Alive

 
Back to the Tricentennial celebration of the French city, New Orleans.  Along with the costume ball, you can join in a lunch celebrating the Tricentennial on Friday, November 30, 2018.  At the lunch, attendees will have a chance to meet Charles-Edouard and Isabelle, Baron and Baroness de Pontalba of Château Mont-l’Évêque.  Charles-Edouard is a direct descendant of Micaela Almonester, Baroness de Pontalba.
 
 
Also at the lunch, Pontalba family historian Pierre de Pontalba will talk about his family’s legacy.  And, Louisiana State Museum guest exhibition curator, Randolph Delehanty, PhD, will give remarks and be available for questions for the new exhibit, The Baroness de Pontalba and the Rise of Jackson Square.
 
 
Want to attend any of these festive events?  Get more information here.  Or, check out the Louisiana Museum Foundation site.
 
 
This is one example of finding Paris everywhere and anywhere!  Paris exerts her influence far and wide.  What part of your local history has connections to Paris?
 
Cultural Highlights of Fall and Winter 2019 in Paris

Cultural Highlights of Fall and Winter 2019 in Paris

Here Are Some Cultural Highlights Coming to Paris Soon

The upcoming fall and winter Parisian cultural season is the prime time for visitors who love visual and performing arts.  Paris is one of the cultural capitals of the world and each year it puts on a show for locals and visitors.  There is no need to understand French to enjoy paintings and listen to music.  However, drama can be a little daunting.  But, if you love to attend plays, by all means, enjoy the scenery and the acting.

Along with the art being exhibited and performed, the buildings housing these shows and performances are worth exploring and admiring in their own right.  The cultural opportunities in Paris are pretty much endless.  But, here are a few highlights from the upcoming fall and winter Parisian cultural season.

Visual Arts

National Picasso Museum Paris (Musée National Picasso-Paris)

Picasso Masterpieces! is a new exhibit in the newly re-opened museum.  Out of his extraordinarily prolific career, the museum investigates what it means to be a masterpiece.  Some of the pieces are exhibited for the first time in Paris.

Musée d’Orsay

 

Picasso. Blue and Rose.  In collaboration with the Picasso Museum, the Musée d’Orsay is exhibiting paintings, sculptures and drawings in a show of his work from 1900-1906.  The works are arranged showing the artist’s development into the blue and rose periods.  Extraordinary works from when Pablo Picasso was very young.

Orsay through the Eyes of Julian Schnabel.  For its first show of contemporary art, the Musée d’Orsay chose Julian Schnabel to interpret the collection.  The filmmaker and painter includes works from the museum’s collection and also presents some of his own paintings.

Grand Palais

Photo by Ron Clausen

Magnificent Venice!, Miró and Michael Jackson.  The Grand Palais is staging exhibitions this fall and winter season that should entice people with a variety of tastes.  Magnificent Venice! explores Europe and the arts in the 18th century.  While, Miró displays nearly 150 works by the surrealist Spanish master, Joan Miró.  Also, an exhibition on Michael Jackson subtitled, “On the Wall”. It explores the cultural impact of Michael Jackson.  Who is in for some MJ?

Paris Photo.  The annual international photography exhibition in the great hall of the Grand Palais.  Most noteworthy works from well-known masters as well as up and coming stars are shown by galleries from all over the world.  Get ready to be overwhelmed by photographs and see the magnificent glass ceiling.

Petit Palais

Jean Jacque Lequeu

The City of Paris’ fine art museum has a few exhibitions that may attract a more focused group of admirers.  Jean Jacques Lequeu (1757-1826) Builder of Fantasy, shows the complete collection of several hundred drawings by the artist, for the first time.  Another show features the work of the Belgian artist, Fernad Khnopff (1858-1921) The Master of Enigma.  Surprises await those who venture into the Petit Palais.

Louvre Museum

Kohei Nawa Throne

Under the pyramid in the Louvre, a contemporary art installation sure to blow you away.  Kohei Nawa’s Throne, is a monumental gilded work combing modern technology and ancient symbols.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Along with its permanent collection, visit this museum for the amazing building and shows on Zao Wou-Ki and Ron Amir.  The huge rooms are just the place for these artists who produce over-size work.  Zao Wou-Ki paints and draws huge images.  And, this collection of Amir’s large format color photos provide insight into the living conditions of refugees from Sudan and Eritrea.

Performing Arts

Opéra National de Paris

Opera Bastille

Mid-September begins the opera season in Paris.  Productions are being staged at the Opéra Basitlle and the Palais Garnier that include repertory works of Tristan und Isolde, La Traviata, and l’Elisir d’Amore.  And, new productions this fall and winter include Les Huguenots, Bérénice, Il Primo Omicidio and Les Troyens.  And, on December 30 and 31st, the Paris Opera will begin a celebration of its 350th year.  Yes, 350th!  The Paris Opera was begun by Louis XIV in 1669.

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

Verdi’s La Traviata is the main opera production this fall.  And, the beautiful theater which opened in with the performance of Nijinsky’s Rite of Spring.  Imagine being there then!  Chamber Orchestra of Paris also performs in this space with a variety of scheduled appearances.  The theater also schedules vocal recitals, concert productions of operas, classic and contemporary dance and even Sunday Morning concerts!

Orchestre de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris

photo © william beaucardet

The Paris Orchestra (Orchestra de Paris) performs symphonic works in its new home, the organic and innovative Philharmonie de Paris in the Parc de la Villette.   Works by Beethoven, Britten, Berlioz and the rest of the alphabet of composers of grand music.

Palais Opera Ballet

Opera Garnier Interior

Over at the Palais Garnier, dance lovers can visit the fabled opera house which is a venue for the Paris Opera Ballet.  See Decadance, Tribute to Jerome Robbins, Cinderella and even an interesting succession of Goecke/Lidberg/Cherkaoui.  This last is a work that displays dance and theater by three very different choreographers.  No French language skills needed to enjoy the ballet.

Picasso Circus

Coinciding with Picasso. Blue and Rose and Picasso Masterpiece!, the Théâtre du Châtelet will present Picasso Circus in the Musée d’Orsay for people to learn about circus acts, meet performers and see demonstrations.

Théâtre de la Ville

Sambasô, Divine Dance is a riveting “ritual dance … performed by three generations of the Nomura family of actors who glorify and revolutionize the “kyôgen” tradition.”  Stage design by the renown photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto.  The Théâtre de la Ville is closed for renovations, but its events are being staged around town, and this one is in the Espace Cardin.

Comédie-Française

This acting troupe was formed by Louis XIV in 1680.  They perform in several venues, but the luxe Salle Richelieu theater in the Palais Royal complex provides regal seating to watch dramatic performances.  Tune your ear to French while watching the dramas of The Mistress of the Inn by Carlo Goldoni, Lucrezia Borgia by Victor Hugo, or Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Others Worth Investigating

Of course – organ concerts in magnificent churches!

And, for even more performing art events, take a look at these:

Odéon Théâtre de l’Europe

Théâtre National de Chaillot which is the National Theater of Dance

Get Inspired for the Paris Marathon 2019

Get Inspired for the Paris Marathon 2019

It is time to start training if you want to participate in the Paris Marathon 2019!

On April 14, 2019, the 43rd Paris Marathon (Marathon de Paris) will wind through Paris.  The Paris Marathon is one of the most popular in Europe with nearly 60,000 participants.  What runner doesn’t want to take advantage of a generally flat course zig-zagging through the most beautiful city in the world?  Need a reason to run?  Here are five good ones.

1.  Experience Paris by Foot Race

Want to see the monuments of Paris by foot? The Paris Marathon winds its way through the streets of Paris and its green spaces.  With a distance of 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometres), this race is an opportunity to cover lots of ground that many people never see.  The race is on vehicle-free streets.  While the exact route changes somewhat each year, be sure that the route will pass the major monuments, track parts of the Seine and take runners to areas they have never seen. You can register here.

2.  Get in Fantastic Shape

Is it time for you to get in shape?  Need a goal?  The Paris Marathon would be a great one!  Flowers blooming, friends from all over the world running alongside, Parisians lining the streets cheering you on.  On the official website, download training guides, a practical guide to a first marathon and everything else you may need for the marathon, available in English and French.  It is meters rather than yards, miles or feet, so get out your calculator if you need to.  Of course there are many other training methods to get you ready for the Parish Marathon.  But, start now.

3.  Support Green Paris

paris marathon sustainable

Image from the official site: http://www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com/en

In keeping with the Parisian emphasis on being green and sustainable, the Paris Marathon encourages everyone to be green! The Paris Marathon’s aim is to be a carbon-neutral marathon by 2019. The official website features a tab entitled, Eco Friendly.  This section explains the Paris Marathon’s efforts to get teens (“Marateeners”) involved in sports and exercise.

The Paris Marathon encourages, “An Integrated Approach” for finding sustainable accommodation, sharing good practices, innovating for future generations and many other positive ideas for sustainability. Want to know if your Parisian hotel is green? Find out here.

And, what about those 560,000 Vittel water bottles?  Waste Management is a section within  the Eco Friendly tab that explains how the Paris Marathon manages trash.  500 waste sorting bins will line the route to collect water bottles, discarded food packaging, and anything else recyclable as well as trash.  These are not only for the participants, but also for the fans!  Besides recycling waste, runners are also encouraged to wear clothes made from cotton or recycled and recyclable materials.

4.  Not a Runner?  Volunteer or Be a Spectator!

Don’t want to run, but want to volunteer?  The official response is:  “With pleasure! We’d be mad to refuse enthusiastic helpers – maybe you can encourage others to help too? Bring your good humour and generous nature and join our hundreds of volunteers to help make this event run smoothly.”  If you want to volunteer, contact Lucas Prado and Arthur Thévenot or email: [email protected].

Even if you are not a runner or cannot commit a day to volunteer, this mass event can be fun to watch!  And, you can walk along the streets that are closed to traffic.  Keep in mind that with 60,000 runners, available rooms and restaurants may be hard to find during the Paris Marathon.  So, if you are planning a trip to Paris around April 14, 2019, take the Paris Marathon into account, book early and expect throngs of people.

5.  Reward for Crossing the Finish Line?

Bragging rights – of course.  But, reward yourself with a magnificent meal in a celebrated Parisian restaurant.  Research and reserve now.  Nearly 60,000 participants plus families, friends and spectators will be celebrating after the race.  Following your recovery, what better reward than a terrific meal with fellow racers, family and friends.

Bonus.  Photos Forever!

Enjoy the photos of you and your friends competing in the famous Paris Marathon for the rest of your life – Priceless!

Ready to Commit to the Paris Marathon?

On September 4, the Paris Marathon will begin accepting registrations.  You can register here: http://www.schneiderelectricparismarathon.com/en/registration/participate

If you love sports and want to plan ahead, read up on the Olympics coming to Paris.

Bastille Day Weekend 2018

Bastille Day Weekend 2018

Bastille Day and the World Cup final collide on the weekend of July 14, 2018!  On Saturday, France will celebrate Bastille Day.  Then on Sunday, France battles Croatia for the World Cup.

What is Bastille Day?

For those of us celebrating Bastille Day, and for those who want to know more about it, here is a short description.  Bastille Day, in French “la Fête Nationale ” or “le 14 juillet,” is an annual national public holiday.  It celebrates the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789.  Because there were only a few prisoners there at the time, the storming was mostly symbolic.  However, this was the start of the overthrow of Louis XVI’s regime and the beginning of the Republic of France.  That means it is a big event for all the non-royalists in France.

During the years of the revolution, the prison was completely torn apart and never rebuilt.  The site of the Bastille prison is now the Place de la Bastille.  At its center is the July Column (“Colonne de Juillet”).  Rather than commemorating the storming of the Bastille, this column recognizes those who fought in the revolution of July, 1830.

July Column in Place de la Bastille

A little confusing, but taken together, the square and the column honor and remember commoners who fought for freedom from oppression.  Atop the July Column is Auguste Dumont’s gilded statue, “Génie de la Liberté,” or Spirit of Freedom.  Appropriate, don’t you think?  Another place to see and feel some of the intensity of the emotions of the people is in the Louvre.  Take a look at Delacroix’s moving painting, “Liberty Leading the People.”  Delacroix used the July Revolution for his inspiration.

Bastille Day Celebrations

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe with Tricolore

Along with the landmarks commemorating the revolutions, Bastille Day is a celebration of freedom.  It is much like our Independence Day.  In Paris, a gigantic French flag, or “tricolore,” is flown within the grand arch of the Arc de Triomphe.  The French military parades down the avenue des Champs- Élysées.  Mounted cavalry, foot soldiers, regimental bands and officers in vehicles follow each other in one of the oldest annual military parades.  French air force planes will fly overhead.  And, people will generally make merry and enjoy the show put on for them.

Celebrate Freedom

Like our own July 4 celebrations, Bastille Day in France features fireworks lighting up the night sky, neighborhoods having street parties and families and friends gathering for traditional French meals.  On the Champs-de-Mars, a concert will entertain thousands.  And across the whole country, the Marseillaise, or the French National Anthem, will play over the radio waves and bands will perform it repeatedly.

As a visitor, the festivities can be a lot of fun.  But do not expect many shops, museums or restaurants to be open.  This includes the Eiffel Tower which was built as a landmark celebrating the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.  It will be closed in preparation of a grand fireworks display.

Around the World

Many places around the globe celebrate French heritage on Bastille Day.  Among other more significant events, restaurants have special dinners and wine-pairings, people fly French flags, and, in New Orleans, waiters participate in races in the French Quarter.  All in good fun celebrating Bastille Day!

World Cup

For the World Cup, we hope there will be even more celebration in the French capital!

What does your community do to celebrate Bastille Day?