Tag Archives: paris

Les Spectacles

Mid-year Piano Recital

I finally got around to uploading the videos from Jack and Daphne’s mid-year piano recital. They took piano lessons after school every Tuesday with Rhea.  We bought a nice clavier portable for them to practice on during the year and it really was a good idea because their piano progressed considerably. Rhea was patient and demanding, which was excellent. Our favorite part was that they learned a duet, which is the sweetest thing ever.

Without further ado…

Jack Solo

Daphné Solo

Duet: Le Phantome

Jack’s Marionette Spectacle

Coming later….

Daphné’s Dance Spectacle

Coming later…


Rainbow in Paris

The cold snap has ended and the rain has brought an “arc-en-ciel”

L’Exception Culturelle Française

Being in Paris has been a reminder of how great it is to be in a very active theatre town, or perhaps I should say performance town. “Theatre town” is probably too limited a term, perhaps too American a term, for capturing the sense of enthusiasm and experimentation that someone like me feels upon encountering an artworld with public resources. In France, an ethic of support has propelled l’exception culturelle française, a domain of public financial support that has kept French cultural life (along with baguettes, fromage, and wine) relatively accessible and relatively innovative. Compared to the United States (where corn is the closest thing we have to a subsidized national product, though banks and automobiles periodically join that list), the artistic variety seems absolutely incredible.

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Well, we’re way behind on blogging. Rather than making excuses or trying to catch up in one fell swoop I thought I’d start where we left off, more or less….

On September 21 we went to the Orangerie in Les Tuileries. The museum there was recently (a few years back) renovated to accommodate Monet’s Les Nymphéas (the famous Water Lilies) in specially-designed oval shaped rooms. There is also and excellent, small collection on the lower floor with many impressionist and a few cubist paintings.

The impressive Water Lilies and the small overall size of the museum makes it a great place to take the kids. You can see everything without exhausting the kids, which is great. To top it off, admission was free that day (I forget why).

One of the highlights for Jack were some tables outside the gift shop where they had models of the building itself. If you looked at one of the models you can see the tables on which the models stand. Jack thought that was really cool (check the gallery). After the museum we wandered in the Tuileries and had a snack at the Italian brasserie which was actually passable. The kids loved the panna cotta.

We split up after that, Shannon taking Daphne to swimming while I started looking for a swim suit for Jack (swimming itself is another blog post).  They had blocked off part of the street for roller blading and there were literally thousands of them. It was shocking, actually, and the photo doesn’t do it justice. You’d need a video camera to give a sense of the volume or, perhaps, a shot from a helicopter might do it.

There is one photo I took that I’m especially proud of. You can see a larger version of it on Flickr.

MC93 Bobigny

MC93 Bobigny

MC93 Bobigny

Bobigny is at the end of a Paris Métro line in what a few parents at my children’s school said was a potentially dangerous banlieu. I went there in order to find MC93 Bobigny, a beautiful theatre with a season that pulls its artists and its productions from a variety of European stages. The theatre is proud of its reputation transgressif, in the internationalism of its artistry and the diversity of its audiences. That reputation also seems to test the limits of l’exception culturelle française precisely because of the instability of what qualifies as française. MC93 is européen to some and, to others, a reminder of la vie banlieue that has a more equivocal relationship to the français label.

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As part of Pia Myrvold’s art opening on Friday (see related post) we were treated to an excellent dinner atAlacazar, a very contemporary restaurant nearby. Unlike anything we’ve yet been to in Paris, walking into Alcazar gives you the feeling you’re in London or New York (or even San Francisco). It’s a big space, with the main restaurant on the ground floor and a loud and too hip bar on the mezzanine.  We ate in le salon privé which is also on the mezzanine, happily separated from the bar by glass doors that controlled the sound. As Shannon said, this is the kind of place that caused restaurant reviewers to add sound ratings to their rating schemes–Alcazar would get 4 bells or a bomb from the SF Chronicle.

Still, if you’re craving that hip, urban, bar-restaurant scene we would recommend Alcazar. We had a fixed menu (there was a group of around 40 people) which is difficult to make interesting and tasty but Alcazar pulled off both. The first course was smoked salmon with creme fraiche and caviar, served on a blini. It was really delicious and (we think) not just because it was 10pm (our usual bedtime!) and we were really hungry. The main course was chicken in a morel mushroom cream sauce served with asparagus. It was perfectly cooked, an accomplishment given that 40 people were served nearly simultaneously, but it did need a little bit of additional salt and pepper to brighten up the flavors of the gravy.

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Au Gourmand

Au Gourmand Logo

Au Gourmand

This past Friday I took the day off from work to deal with administrative issues here. We went to St. Denis to meet with the Paris 8 staff who are going to help us get our cartes de sejour. We wrote about the struggles with the carte de sejours in a previous post and it turns out we don’t deal with the government ourselves–Shannon’s researcher status means that the folks at Paris 8 deal with it for us. More to come when we finally succeed because, after all, this is a restaurant post.

Between the trip to St. Denis and some other errands, we stopped in the 1st arrondissement. I had scoped out a few possible restaurants and we walked by them one by one. The first restaurant I had previously visited in July with my old friend Reid Hoffman. If it hadn’t been the first we stumbled across we probably would have eaten there. After wandering past a few more and deciding they weren’t right for the moment, we decided on Au Dauphin. When we got to the address we couldn’t find it–it appears to have changed hands. Thrown for a loop, we struck out for Au Gourmand on the nearby Rue Molière. This seemed appropriate since Shannon had just seen Tartuffe two nights previously.

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