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The Urban Rhythms of Paris

Last Wednesday evening at the opening of the annual international contemporary art fair, FIAC (under the magnificent domed iron and glass structure of the Grand Palais), journalist and Paris tour guide author, Linda Hervieux, pointed to a photo of the Eiffel Tower (placed conveniently on a gallery wall) to tell me about the upcoming plans for the “Grande Dame.”

The lighting experts are having a field-day there with auto manufacturer Citroën reaping the rewards along with us spectators. To celebrate 90 years of Citroën and 120 years of the Eiffel Tower, every night until December 31st, a special 12-minute light show will take place on the Tower — one minute for each decade the ‘lady’ has stood proudly as the symbol of Paris — four times per evening: at 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

I haven’t laid eyes on it yet, but will certainly make a point to head cross town to take in the show before the end of the week. A special trip to Paris on your part wouldn’t be out of order either, would it?

For more information, visit: http://www.paris.fr/ or http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/ or for live web cams on the scene, visit http://www.toureiffel.citroen.com/

We then left the Eiffel Tower behind to peruse the assortment of international art galleries and their artists’ works to find some of the usual suspects as well as some of the unusual suspects. Headless creatures took stage, as predicted in last Wednesday’s Parler Paris Nouvellettre® (“How Marie Antoinette Lost Her Head to Halloween [And Other Headless Surprises]“), and a watermelon managed to earn a place on a pedestal in place of a head. (Yes, a real watermelon. I smelled it to make sure.) Even Mona Lisa’s head was there (along with her breasts in full form), crafted from clay and plastered onto a flat surface. She never looked more ‘beautiful,’ although I doubt Leonardo da Vinci would agree.

The FIAC is over, but you may want to put it on next year’s calendar not to miss, headless wonders and all. Visit fiac.com/ for more information.

Saturday evening I taste-tested a new restaurant, also thanks to Linda Hervieux’s recommendation. At one time it was “Aux Zingots,” now turned “La Fidélité” at 12, rue de la Fidélité in an unsuspecting part of Paris — the 10th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from the Gare de l’Est (01.47.70.19.34, Métro 4 Château d’Eau, open Tuesday through Saturday).

I probably shou

ldn’t be telling you about it, since filling it with us Anglophones and non-residents is exactly what might ruin it (no offense to any of you!), but, I can’t deny I loved everything about it and it’s sure to make my restaurant guide (at least the new one about to go into mainstream publication, “Adrian Leeds Top 100 Good-Value Paris Restaurants”).

What I loved most was:

a) They didn’t ruin the beautiful old architecture and atmosphere. The large open ‘lunch room’ kind of space is white washed bright, the original tile floor in the entry left as is (cracks and all), the old-world bar still promoting “Ricard” in big letters on the mirror and the tables and chairs are all in a dark wood on a dark wood parquet. The tables were set with white linens, classic silverware and low lighting. The combination of turn-of-the-last-century with turn-of-this-century is immediately inviting.

b) The menu is inviting, too — limited but well constructed so there is something for everyone. My only complaint is that the type is in all capital letters making it difficult to read (that’s the ‘typographer’ in me being critical), but it didn’t prevent me from ordering three full courses!

c) Prices are no more than any average bistrot, but the quality of the food is light years above.

c) Even the service that evening was perfectly timed and friendly. Service starts at 8 p.m., but by 8:30 p.m. there were only a handful of diners. By 10 p.m. not a single seat in the (estimated) 250 to 300-seat restaurant on two levels was vacant, filled with 30-year old hip French who could afford to spend 50€ or less on a three-course meal with a good bottle of wine.

At midnight I walked home in the unusual balmy October night air to use up some of those calories I had just downed and thought again about how wonderfully safe Paris is, even in the most eclectic and colorful neighborhoods.

Sunday morning took me cross town to fill my eyes with the colored ‘candy’ of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s glass and bronze works at the Musée du Luxembourg, on until January 17th. This is the first exhibition of his work in Europe, the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of the famous house Tiffany & Co. in New York. The exhibition displays about 160 works: stained-glass windows, vases, lamps, items, jewels and mosaics, drawings, watercolors and photos of the time. It was tough to choose which I’d want to take home with me. All, would be the correct answer as it started off fantasies about decorating a Paris apartment in Art Nouveau and the iridescent colors of Tiffany…perhaps the next adventure.

Don’t miss the exhibit. For more information, visit museeduluxembourg.fr

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. To purchase the Insider Paris Guide to Good Value Restaurants, the guide I’ve written since 1996, visit insiderparisguides.com
P.P.S. Don’t miss Michael Honegger’s exhibition of his new photographic project, “Rythmes Urbains,” at the Café d’Avant, 35 rue Claude Bernard, in the 5th arrondisment, with music by the Jeff Suzda trio. Join Michael for the “vernissage” (opening) this Thursday, October 29th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The show runs until January 5th, 2010 in case you miss the opening (but don’t!). For more information, visit michaelhoneggerphotos.com

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