Category Archives: concerts

Paris october 2008 : opening of the 104, a major cultural event

Last Saturday, October 12, after two years of work and suspense, a great new artistic center, the Centquatre, was finally opened to public.

Part of the event is that it is located in a somewhat derelicted area in Paris 19ème arrondissement. It is named after its address : 104 rue d’Aubervilliers.

Built in 1873, this beautiful glass and iron structure was closed since 1997 after being Paris Municipal Funeral Service headquarters for a century.

Now it’s dedicated to all forms of living art, and its opening was a great success. During the afternoon, it got so crowded that a huge file had to wait in the street to come in.

Actually, the place is made of two glass halls, and has another entrance on rue Curial # 5.

On the rue Curial side, you can look at a large picture showing “the chaos” during the renovation made by the architects of Novembre workshop

Now, on two levels and 39000 m2, there are 18 artists workshops, two rooms of 200 and 400 hundred seats, besides the glass halls.

There are organized children activities, and on the opening day, many plaid with a scale model.

Among the many works in progress on that day, some will be going on:

Nicolas Simarik offers you to recycle your old keys, or to make a double of the one you carry with you. Then you get in exchange another key, the key of the centquatre . This key opens one of the boxes along the wall, composing an After Calendar, where you’ll find a surprise : an invitation to discover some unusual place in Paris.

Key gathering goes on up to December 31, Wednesday to Sunday from 12 to 20.

On both sides of the halls are long narrow English courtyards, transformed into evoluting gardens by Coloco, a group of three landscape architects. People of the neighborhood have been collecting local plants which now grow in these courts.

Convex mirrors on the wall give distorted reflects of the place.

Composer Gerard Pesson has created for the occasion Pompes/Circonstances, several musical pieces which will played on each new moon.

On Saturday 12, a musical action was performed by  Spat Sonore

They will be part of the first performance of Pompes/Circonstances, on October 28 at 19.

And next performances will take place on each new moon evening up 2010.

There is also restaurant and a bookshop, where of course you can find Pompes Funèbres by Jean Genet.

Le Centquatre is opened everyday, Tuesday to Saturday from 11 to 23, Sunday and Monday from 11 to 20. All information, program, history of the place – also available in english version – on .

104 rue d’Aubervilliers and 5 rue Curial, 75019 Paris. Metro Riquet. Entrance is free, but concerts, exhibitions and some events are 5 or 7 € . Information and reservation at 33(0)153 35 50 00 Monday to Friday  14 to 18, or on You can also buy tickets on the spot.


Enjoy the beach in Paris : Paris Plage

Paris Plage has been going on since 2002 : every summer, Paris river banks are covered with sand, parasols and desk chairs.

If you go for water sports, you’ll find some activities for adults and for children as well around Bassin de la Villette : on Quai de Loire, adults can take a small boat or ride on a pedal boat (from noon to 8 PM), and 10 years old children can go sailing (9 AM to 11.30 and 13.30 to 17). Over 12 can also row (from 9AM to 11.30 and 17 to 20)

And if you feel hungry, why not have a pic nic on the water front?

Care for a dance ? Go to the other bank, to 45 quai de Seine, Balapaname is open everyday 17 to 20.30, up to 22 on week ends.(Metro Stalingrad)

If you want to play golf, go to Paris town hall

In front of it, you’ll find a nine holes mini golf. Metro Hôtel de Ville.

And nearby, at Pont-Marie, children over 7 can take a bath. But to take a swim on the Seine, go to Josephine Baker outdoor swimming pool.

photo Marc Vernhille

It’s just below the Great Library, on quai François Mauriac, Metro Quai de la Gare ou Bibliothèque François Mitterrrand. All informations on :

And if you care for music, up to August 17, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 5 PM up to Midnight, Indétendance offers free concerts on Pont Sully. (Metro Sully-Morland). For program, go to :

And if you’de rather just rest  a while, please do.

Paris Plage is running up to August 21, more information on : –

Paris Parc de la Villette : a place to visit this summer, for art, outdoor films and concerts

This summer, there are a lot of good reasons to go north up to Parc de la Villette, the largest of Paris gardens, offering a wide range of cultural and leisure activities.

The art event takes place in the beautiful glass Grande Halle :

Up to August 17, come in and discover a giant installation by Yayoï Kusama, who has been working on dots for forty years.

This artist, who was closed to Pop Art and Andy Warhol in the sixties, takes this pattern both light and seriously, declaring “My life is a dot lost among other dots”.

Tuesday to Sunday 14 to 22, free entrance.

And it goes with a workshop on dots for kids (from 2 years old). July Sunday 20, Wednesday 23 and Saturday 26 at 16.30. It’s one hour long, with a drink at the end, and costs € 7.  But you have to make a reservation, dialing 33(0)1 40 03 75 75.

Up to August 17,  you also have the opportunity to watch a film (in original version) sitting on a lawn, at Prairie du Triangle, Tuesday to Sunday at nightfall. Price € 2  . For € 5 you can book a deck chair and a blanket. Program on : –

World musics every Sunday up to August 24 at Folie Belvédere : it’s scènes d’été (Summer Stages), July 20 and 27, August 3,10,17 and 24, one concert at 17.30 and one at 19.30. Free. Program and information on 33(0)1 40 03 75 75.

For all information on these events and detailed programs go to :

Parc de la Villette, 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris, Metro Porte de Pantin or Porte de la Villette

Saturday June 21 : Fête de la Musique in Paris

It is the shortest night of the year, and as in most of the cities, it’s Fête de la Musique in Paris, where it was created in the eighties.

Pieces for chorus by French composers in Cour d’honneur du Sénat (Luxembourg garden) at 4 PM, chamber music in Parc de Bagatelle Orangerie (Bois de Boulogne) at 2PM : afternoon concerts in beautiful gardens for classical music amateurs. And in the evening, you may go on with Psyche by César Franck in Musée d’Orsay or Gounod’s Requiem at Eglise de la Madeleine (both at 20.30)

If you’re travelling with kids, head north up to Cité de la Musique : from 2 PM up to 22, all kind of concerts and activities for very young ones and for their parents.

If you’re a jazz fan, you’ll hang around rue des Lombards, starting at 9 PM, the three clubs in the street pay a tribute to Stéphane Grapelli. You pay for one show and attend the other free.

If you don’t fear the crowd, you’ll be Place de la Bastille : world music, rap and videos, beginning at 20.

You may also wander at random. Public transports run all night long (for 2.50 euros), but some stations will be closed at usual time. Maps and information in RER, train and metro stations.

For 0.35 euros, buy this week’s Officiel des Spectacles (tiny bible for all Paris shows issued every Wednesday) and have major Paris programs (filed by arrondissements) in your pocket.

Otherwise, for all information on all events around and in Paris go to :

Summer coming in Paris : enjoy opera outdoor

June in Paris, season of outdoor opera in gorgeous settings.

This year, it’s Jacques Offenbach‘s les contes d’Hoffmann (Hoffmann’s Tales)

This week it takes place in Paris Jardin du Luxembourg, and the scene is set in front the Senat Palace.

If the weather is fine (and it’s definitely better to go on a warm evening) you can take a walk in the garden and buy a ticket on the spot, close to the Senat and the rue de Vaugirard in front of Odeon theater entrance. It starts at 21.15 and runs on June 12,13 and 14. Price : 89 euros (“Carré d’or”), 67, 57 and 39 euros.

Then it will take place in Parc de Sceaux, in front of the castle on June 26, 27 and 28, and it’s a beautiful location too. I was there last year for die Zauberflöte and it was delightful. But this year, weather is a bit hectic theses days, so you’d better check weather forecast before booking in advance, calling 0892 707 920 (from France only).

From July 12 to September 14 takes place in Parc de Sceaux the Orangerie Festival, indoor classical music concerts, every Saturday and Sunday evenings, interesting to combine with a walk in this beautiful garden. Informations on :

Reservation : FNAC and

After Sceaux, les contes d’Hoffmann will travel in other places in France, up to September

All information and reservation on :

Jardin du Luxembourg 75006 Paris, RER Luxembourg, main entrance Boulevard Saint-Michel, south entrance rue Auguste Comte, east entrance rue Guynemer, north entrances on rue de Vaugirard. Open everyday sunrise to sunset.

Parc de Sceaux RER B station Parc de Sceaux. Open everyday from sunrise to sunset. All information on