Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Strange Happenings in St. Germain


The “Cyclops” helmet.

> The exhibition Bizarro, with works by a number of artists, fills seven Left Bank galleries with “Bêtes de Scènes et Sacrés Monstres.” Don’t miss the Meta-perceptual Helmets by the Irish duo Cleary/Connolly at the Librairie Alain Brieux, which allow the viewer to see forward and backward, for example, or the way a cyclops or horse would see. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 30.

Car-free Paris!
> On the Journée sans Voiture, motor traffic will be banned in a large part of Paris and discouraged in the rest of the city from 11am to 6pm. Sept. 25.

Top of the tower
> The 16th-century Tour St. Jacques in the heart of Paris is temporarily open for guided tours and splendid views of the city. Reservation required. Paris, through Sept. 25.

Nationwide food festival 
> Tastings, special menus in restaurants and more during the Fête de la Gastronomie. Various locations, Sept. 23-25.

Two meals for the price of one
> Restaurants participating in Tous au Restaurant offer a second fixed-price menu for free. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 2.

> Whisky tastings, food pairings, cocktails and more at the Festival Whisky Live Paris. Les Docks-Cité de la Mode et du Design, Paris, Sept. 24-25.

Feel-good films
> Classic movies starring the Marx Brothers, Peter Sellers, Cary Grant and more are sure to raise a smile at the festival Qu’est-ce qu’on Attend pour Être Heureux!, Forum des Images, Paris, through Oct. 2.

Hitchcock’s silent films
> The festival Les Neufs Films Muets d’Alfred Hitchcock presents all the silent movies by the master of suspense. Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, through Sept. 27.

Indian films
> Indian film festival. Musée Guimet, Paris, through Sept. 30.

Chanson française
> L’Estival features singers performing in French. Various locations, Saint Germain-en-Laye, Sept. 23-Oct. 8.

Antique fair in a bucolic setting
> A visit to the Foire de Chatou antique market and regional products fair makes a great weekend outing. Chatou, Sept. 23-Oct. 2.

Contemporary arts festival
> The Festival d’Automne presents leading talents in art, dance, film, theater and more from around the world. Various venues, Paris, through Dec. 31.

Free outdoor opera
> Opéra Côté Cour puts on live performances at 3:30pm and 5pm. Bercy Village, Paris, Sept. 25.

Classical, world, jazz & electronic
> The Festival d’Ile de France holds concerts in various locations in Paris and elsewhere, through Oct. 9.

Music & more in park bandstands
Kiosques en Fête brings life to the bandstands in Paris’s parks with concerts, writing workshops, club meetings and even a square dance. Various locations, Paris, through Dec. 31.

Music on the beach
> Sandy beach and nightly concerts or DJs at La Plage de Glaz’Art. Paris, through Oct. 1.

Garden festival
> Meet the gardeners and landscape architects, take a gardening class, listen to music, etc. at the Fête des Jardins. Various locations, Paris, Sept. 24-25.

Amazing gardens
> The popular Festival International des Jardins de Chaumont-sur-Loireis held annually in the park of the Château de Chaumont in Chaumont-sur-Loire, through Nov. 2.

Especially for kids
> The Festival les Pestacles offers concerts and other activities for kiddies age five and up. Parc Floral, Paris, through Sept. 28.


Hot Topics - C'est ironique !


The Decline of French Civilization


It looked like just a bunch of kids having some good innocent fun. Little did I know… © Dwphotos /

I fear for the future of France. I say this because of a disturbing event that took place in my building last weekend. A neighbor’s teenage daughter gave a party on Saturday night. This in itself ...


It looked like just a bunch of kids having some good innocent fun. Little did I know… © Dwphotos /

I fear for the future of France. I say this because of a disturbing event that took place in my building last weekend. A neighbor’s teenage daughter gave a party on Saturday night. This in itself was not disturbing: everyone had been warned and it didn’t go on too late and it was not too loud and I am wholeheartedly in favor of teenagers getting together to hang, make or chill out. Or freak, wig or come out, for that matter.

The party was going on across the courtyard from me, and the kids had left all the curtains open and lights on. At about midnight, as I was closing my own curtains, I saw that the festivities were in plein swingue and everyone was dancing with wild, or at least unkempt, abandon. I could just barely hear the music through the double glazing and started wondering what was making them shake their collective tail feather with such enthusiasm. So I opened my window for a second. And I heard enough of the song to tell what it was.

This was the disturbing part. I am not only old enough to be those kids’ father, I’m old enough to be, well, maybe not their grandfather but their father’s much older cousin. I have always believed that for each generation to shock and outrage the previous generation is the very definition of progress. And, for most people, this phenomenon first manifests itself in musical tastes between the ages of 13 and 20. So if I can recognize teenagers’ music, I consider it a bad sign.

But I didn’t just recognize this particular song. It was… It was… I can barely bring myself to type the words. It was: “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease. Yes, a Seventies musical. Yes, a Seventies musical based on music from the Fifties. They seemed to love it and, worse, to know it well — most of them were pumping pointed index fingers into the air in time with the “ooh-ooh-ooh” parts.

This is just not right. Seventeen-year-olds should be listening to something that makes people my age cringe — out of bafflement, not embarrassment. And under no circumstances should they be listening to songs that were widely considered to be weenie music when they were released a full third of a century ago, with the express intention of imitating the popular music of a full quarter-century before that. Think of it: given a teenage pregnancy or two, some of those youngsters’ grandparents could have been as yet unborn when pop singers were oohing and dooing and wopping like that.

Shocking, isn’t it? Outrageous.

David Jaggard

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The preserved façade of this former wine shop on Rue Pierre Semard is old enough to list absinthe as one of its wares.