I love a good theatre performance and have had the pleasure of enjoying quite a few during my years in New York. But in Paris? Preferring the ease of my native tongue, I had only seen one show since moving to Paris. That is, until I discovered Theatre in Paris. What is it exactly? French plays with English subtitles. Brilliant!
Paris is famous for its theatre, and now fellow Anglophones can join in the local culture. Theatre in English seeks out the best performances in the city of lights, set within a number of theatres throughout Paris. “From the spectacular architecture of a listed historical monument commissioned by Queen Marie-Antoinette to the glamour of an old Parisian ‘café théâtre’, to the charm of a small oak-panelled neighborhood theatre.” What’s more, they offer over 100 performances to choose from every month. Without compromising the show, English subtitles are viewed on a screen only for those who need them. And seats will always offer a prime view.
One of France’s greatest stars is cabaret singer, songwriter and actress Édith Piaf, often referred to as “The Little Sparrow”. Being a fan of her music, when I discovered the performance “I Love Piaf”, I booked tickets for my Italian and I and we made a French night of it. The play took place in a late 19th century Théâtre Trévise in the 9th district, nearby to the famed Folies Bergère. The performers were impressive as they told the story of the singer’s life. Award-winning accordionist Aurélien Noël was once the best in the world, and singer Caroline Rose captivated us all with her voice. The screenwriter was both engaging and humorous. It was certainly an experience in living la vie en rose!
I’m already looking forward to the next performance and might soon become a regular Parisian theatre-goer.
This year I finally made it to the annual Dîner en Blanc. This invite-only secret dinner party began 25 years ago by a man named François Pasquier. He invited a few friends to the Bois de Boulogne on an evening in June, and asked that everyone bring another friend. All the attendees wore white in order to find one another more easily. (My friend Delphine’s parents were among the first dinner guests!) The event was a grand success and each successive year friends invited friends and it grew into a 10,000+ dinner party. I’ve always loved the idea of it, even given all the preparation ahead of time. Everyone attending must provide their own food, drink, even tables and chairs, and all must be white! Considering it’s not exactly legal, the prestigious location is disclosed just before the dinner actually begins. This year the grand event took place along 6 bridges. Our designated spot was close to Pont Alexandre III, with gorgeous views of the Grand Palais and Eiffel Tower.
It was one of those magical nights spent with friends both old and new, wrapped in warm summer air and the setting sun, surrounded by the grandeur of Paris, that remains with you forever.
Could there have been a more perfect setting? We’ll see where next year finds us.
What better place to sample French wines than in a boat on the Seine?
On a recent overcast afternoon I experienced Wine Tasting in Paris, started by wine connoisseur Thierry Givone. Admittedly, I didn’t know too much about the many wine regions of Paris, other than which regions produce my favorite wines, namely Bourgogne and Bordeaux. And the Champagne region of course! This was the perfect occasion, not to mention setting, in which to educate myself.
I was joined by friend Amy Feezer. Following a glass of bubbly we all became better acquainted.
One glass of wine followed another, from the Loire to Bourgogne to the Côtes du Rhône. And with each glass a thorough description of the grapes, the notes, the tastes… even a lesson in the way wine should be savoured. Thierry has a particular affinity towards Bourgogne, that region being his home, but he is an expert on all regions of France and certainly has developed a nose for wine! I was pleased to taste wines I would otherwise not have thought to try, and was impressed with Thierry’s expertise and attention to detail when it came to French wines.
After over 3 hours of tastings and conversation, with a view of the sun setting over the Seine in the distance, Amy and I left the boat a little bit tipsy and a lot more knowledgeable. Santé!
When the sun comes out, so do the Parisians. On a recent spring-like day, moods were high and there was a lightness evident in the air. Now this is what spring is meant to feel like! My Italian and I joined a group of friends at the gardens of the Palais Royal for my favorite summer pastime, le pique-nique. It was here too that I played my first game of pétanque, the famous French sport so often played in and around Paris. Immediately I took a liking to this game of ball throwing, even winning a few times.Perhaps the champagne helped!
It was beneath these blue skies that once again, I felt lucky to live within such immense beauty.
On the way home, a little surprise in the form of fashion to end a well-spent day, la vie parisienne.
Most recently another friend and fellow expat has spoken, this time through film. An actress and film-maker from NYC, Jennifer Geraghty arrived to Paris no more than 2 year ago, and now, she has a few stories to tell. Namely, all about the romantic tales between expats and the French. All true stories, not all her own. Certainly enough to entice any mademoiselle or monsieur out there who wonders about dating in the French capital! Have a look, listen, and share the love! Jennifer and her collaborator Alexis are in the midst of raising funds via kickstarter to turn these tales into a series of short stories, 12 of which are already written. To learn more, here’s their website.
To add a little incentive in the form of Kasia Dietz handbags, I’ve designed a custom hand-painted tote for those able to donate a generous sum. More info on their kickstarter page…
May these tales of L‘Amour (or less) come to life!
Every Fall I look forward to the wine harvest in Montmartre, the Fête des Vendanges. An annual event during which I don’t mind braving the crowds surrounding the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, eager to sample the various regional wines, paired with plentiful samples of cheese and fois gras, bien sûr!
This year my friend Sarah was in town from Rome, a wine aficionado as luck would have it, and she too was eager to indulge her palate in the tastes of France.