Photo of the Week


The upside-down innards of the Conciergerie shown on a tarp on the facade and reflected in the Seine. © Paris Update


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).

Monster contemporary art fair
> FIAC: 189 galleries show their wares in the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Art on the Champs
> Art Élysées: 75 modern and contemporary art and design galleries in tents on the world's most famous boulevard. Champs Elysées, Paris, Oct. 20-24.

Asian art
> Asia Now: 30 contemporary galleries showing work by Asian artists. 9, av. Hoche, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Art brut
> Another kind of art at the Outsider Art Fair. Hotel du Duc, Paris, Oct. 22–25.

Art in a townhouse
> Paris Internationale: contemporary art fair in a Parisian townhouse. 51, avenue d'Iéna, Paris, Oct. 19-23.

Young international artists
> YIA Art Fair: Youth takes precedence at this art fair. Carreau du Temple, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Digital art
> Variation: Contemporary digital art fair. Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, Oct. 18-23.

“Music for old people”
> Le Classique C'est pour les Vieux: The ironically titled music festival holds classical concerts in skateparks, cafés, artists' studios and other unusual venues and incorporates street art, 3D performances and more. Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Film festival for kiddies
> Mon 1er Festival: some 400 screenings, premiers and more for kids aged two and up. Various locations, Paris, Oct. 19-25.


For Brassens fans
> The annual 22V'laGeorges Festival celebrates what would have been the great singer’s 95th birthday this year in his hometown of Sète. Oct. 22-29.

Refugee children speak through art


> From Syria with Love, an exhibition of drawings by Syrian refugee children. Galerie CInq, 5 rue du Cloitre St Merri, 75004 Paris, through Oct. 21.

Classic Danish films
> Festival of movies by Carl Theodor Dreyer. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Nov. 6.

Jazz galore
> Paris's leading jazz clubs cooperate for the festival Jazz sur Seine, with special prices for concerts, showcases and master classes. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 22.

Cultures of the world onstage
> Music, dance, theater and ritual performances from around the world at the Festival de l'Imaginaire. Various locations, Paris, through Dec. 20.

Strange Happenings in St. Germain
> 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.

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.

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.

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.


Restaurants - Non french


Madame Shawn Thai Cuisine

Key Learning: God Is in
The Thai Royal Basil

I was so furious with myself. What kind of a food critic turns up for a return visit to a restaurant he wants to review without booking? And, what’s more, right before his deadline? Downright unprofessional, that’s what I’d say. But, as the human resources pundits would have it, it was a key learning” (ugh!). I promise it won’t happen again if I can help it. Luckily, I managed to nip back for another try at lunchtime the next day.

Madame Shawn’s owner, Jittini Wangsin, is something of a serial entrepreneur, with three branches of her Thai restaurant, plus a stylish boutique selling Southeast Asian homewares. She must be a formidable businesswoman to run a small empire in this business-unfriendly country of ours. Her place near République offers a very fine sampling of Thai recipes that combine all the right flavors, uncompromising heat from the chilies and fetching presentation.

The decor is cozy, understated ethnic, with lots of wood and rattan, a dark slate floor, bas-reliefs of blissful Buddhas on the walls and an orchid on each table. It seats around 40 and probably does a couple of hundred covers a day, judging by the crowds I saw at my second (unsuccessful) and third (successful) visits. Reservations are obviously essential.

My lovely pho pia starter – a cross between Chinese spring rolls and Vietnamese nem, with a peanut/fish dipping sauce, fresh mint and carrot – ignited a warm glow, while my companion and I were both ecstatic about her marinated raw shrimp with garlic and mint.

We chose an organic wine from Domaine du Petit Roubié, a Vin de Pays de l’Hérault, at a very reasonable €25. Petit Roubié’s cheap, pleasant, entry-level tipple is one I buy from Nysa on Rue Montorgueil for everyday quaffing, but this one, L’Arbre Blanc, was definitely a cut above. Madame Shawn also sells it by the glass. It has all the character it needs to give great pleasure in its own right and act as a foil to the assertive Thai cuisine.

A red chicken curry in coconut sauce was more than I could hope for, and a dish of stir-fried spaghetti (not noodles) with plump shrimp had enough distinctive Thai royal basil and lime leaves in it to prove the existence of God (a much more convincing argument than the “prime mover” one I was fed at school).

I could go on, because the only time I’m happier than when writing about food is when I’m sampling it, but I do have to get on the phone to book my next table. No more screwups...

Richard Hesse

Madame Shawn Thai Cuisine: 34, rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris. Tel.: 01 42 08 05 07. Metro: République or Jacques Bonsergeant. Nearest Vélib stations: 14, rue de Marseille; 8 Place Jacques Bonsergeant. Open daily for lunch and dinner (closed May 1). Fixed price lunch menus: from €12.50. A la carte: around €25*.See Web site for other locations:

*three courses, not including wine

© 2008 Paris Update

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