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

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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-a-go-go
> 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.

 

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Take the Test: How Parisian Are You?

If You See This and Say,
“Ah, the Countryside”...

Paris-Update-Luxembourg-Garden-Senate

...you might be a Parisian! (Apologies to Geoffroy Renardigne.)

After scoring in the top 35 percentile on Le Figaro’s index of “100 Things That All Parisians Should Do” two weeks ago, I felt, despite being non-French, very Parisian.

This started me thinking about the definition of the term: what are the characteristics, quirks and qualities that make a Parisian Parisian?

My wife Nancy had a lot of ideas about this as well, and together we came up with a list of 20 traits that we think epitomize the pith of Parisian-ness. You can think of it as a quiz — if the chaussure fits, score one point.

You’re a real Parisian if...

You wear a scarf in the summer (double points if you are a man).

You look both ways more carefully before using an ATM than before crossing the street.

You describe a restaurant you like by saying, “It’s not too bad,” and a restaurant you love by saying, “It’s not too bad” with a little more emphasis on “too.”

You are firmly convinced that everyone has the legally protected right to use any café’s toilets without ordering anything, but you would never, ever dare try it yourself.

You think nothing of using a urinal that is not blocked off from view of the café, restaurant, parade route, etc. (triple points if you are a woman).

You know that the Métro line that goes to Chemin Vert is Balard-Créteil, but you haven’t the dimmest idea what number it is, let alone what color it is on the RATP map.

You have argued with a ticket checker in the Métro (centuple points if you won).

When you hear on CNN that a baseball team "lost in the top of the ninth" you imagine a bunch of athletes getting fleeced in a stripper bar at Pigalle.

You have a favorite bum.

You know Miami better than you know Marseille.

The building you live in is worth more than the GDP of Laos, but still has communal toilets on the stairway landings.

The door to your apartment is made of steel plate with four locks and the walls on either side of it are made of crumbling 200-year-old plaster.

You sleep right through sirens and fistfights outside, but leap out of bed at the faintest sound of a drip from the apartment upstairs.

You work out at a gym that has ashtrays at either side of the entrance, and possibly on some of the older treadmill machines.

When someone asks you to call them “right after lunch” you wait until 4:00 p.m.

When your new love interest proposes “dinner and a movie,” you presume that he/she is asking you out for two separate dates.

You will cheerfully wait in line for 45 minutes to buy one scoop of ice cream, but complain bitterly if you have to wait more than three minutes for a bus.

You curse cyclists when you’re driving, pedestrians when you’re cycling, and drivers and cyclists when you’re walking.

You think nothing of jaywalking in front of oncoming emergency vehicles.

You have been insulted by French people in the provinces — not for being a foreigner, but for being Parisian.

Scoring:

0-4: You must have just cleared customs

5-9: You have been around a bit, albeit by double-decker bus

10-14: You are beginning to accrue some rue smarts

15-19: You can kiss my cheeks — you’re a Parisian!

20: Have you thought about running for mayor?

As a reward for the high scorers, I have made up a “Parisians” joke based on a classic, time-tested (and -worn) formula. Low scorers have to read it twice.

How many Parisians does it take to change a light bulb?

Seven:

One to spend two-and-a-half hours searching through the hardware section of the BHV department store, which is the only place on the planet that sells the special kind of light bulb you need for this particular model of lamp;

One to spend those same two-and-a-half hours on hold trying to call the Ministry of Housing service for Fixtures, Consumables, Thermal Units and Plumbing (FCTUP) to request copies of the forms for deducting the price of the bulb from next year’s taxes;

One to go to the post office to send a registered letter to the condo management office notifying them of the change in the building’s electrical configuration;

One to take the burned-out bulb to the recycling drop-off point;

One to screw in the new bulb;

One to complain that light bulbs were brighter in the old days;

And one to argue that illumination is not the real issue here.

David Jaggard and Nancy Li

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Reader Carol writes: "I've been to Paris 30 times and will be arriving in that fair city again next Thursday, but my score was '1'... for that scarf habit I picked up a couple years ago. A Tourist, with a capital T."

Reader Barney Kirchoff writes: "I have a favorite bum, but she gets mad if I pat it in public. Does this make me a Parisian? Or a Roman?"

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