Autumn in Paris is just as sweet

The entrance of the Fondation. Ticket sales are limited every hour, so one does not feel crowded inside the museum.

Some leaves have fallen and those that remain on the trees have turned pale yellow. The Seine's water level has risen. Christmas is in the chilly air and in the shop windows. While there are fewer tourists, it is amazing that there are still so many things going on in this exciting city.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

A steady flow of visitors walk past the trees of the Bois de Bologne and go directly to the edge of the Jardin d'Acclimatation to see the latest architectural wonder in Paris: the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Inaugurated last Oct. 27, Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, commissioned famous American architect Frank Gehry to design a museum dedicated to contemporary art.

The building itself is a work of art. Made of steel and glass, it seems set to sail over the rooftops of Paris.  Twelve gigantic glass sails reflect the surrounding trees. Five stories include exhibition halls, a restaurant, a bookshop, and multilevel open decks, through which one can enjoy views of both the gardens and the city beyond.

The Fondation hosts a series of events featuring temporary exhibits by national and international artists with pieces from Arnault's permanent art collection. Musical events, and poetry readings complete this "creative journey." Langlang performed works of Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, and Tchaikovsky.

These words by Frank Gehry are printed on one of the walls of the museum: "I dream of designing a magnificent vessel for Paris that symbolizes France's profound cultural vocation."

Frank Gehry's building plans and challenges are displayed on one whole floor, presenting sketches, prototypes and models. One can appreciate the different stages of its construction. No doubt, architects can learn something from him.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

 

 

 

 

The Illumination of the Champs Élysées at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 signals the  Christmas season. Since 1987, the Association Petits Princes lets children with cancer or leukemia participate in this exciting event and realize their dream to pull the switch and make the City of Lights shine even brighter.

White wooden stalls line both sides of the grand boulevard, displaying food, scents and crafts from different regions in France. Pedestrians are treated to the delicious smells of huge roasted chestnuts, chocolates, caramel peanuts, nougat, barbes à Papa (literal translation: Papa's beard) a.k.a. cotton candy. One can also fend off the cold air with a glass of vin chaud or hot wine. For the children, there are mini trains and carousels.

Galleries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché - even Monoprix, our go-to supermarket - are already decked out with décor and have started to display their Christmas  offerings. Karl Lagerfeld's store in the Marais features a whole line of products dedicated to his beloved cat, Choupette.

The Church of Saint German de Pres is 1,000 years old! This Benedictine Abbey,  a most important church and the resting place of the Merovingian kings, celebrates the dawn of a thousand Christmases this December. Its bell tower is one of the oldest in all of France.

Lastly, our dear friend, Carolyn Hoffman (she's Filipina married to a French) insisted we watch Olivier Giraud's How to Be Parisian in One Hour at the Theatre des Nouveautés. It is a funny, funny show in English, which goes on until mid 2015. Highly recommended!

Autumn in Paris is quiet and still quite beautiful. It is possible to eat in popular restaurants without needing to reserve for weeks in advance. It was a bit difficult, though, to eat Berthillon ice cream in an overcoat and in 6-degree weather, but the warm crépe oozing with salted butter caramel was worth all the calories!

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Please tell me where to walk the talk, email cecilialicauco2@gmail.com.

 

 

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