* Call it Street Art, SVP
* Things Grow Here
* Get Off Your Butt
* What Happened in Paris
* What Heather Ate
* Collaborative Economy Gets Trendy
* Secrets of Paris News & Calendar
September is a great month in Paris because so much is going on. Forget January 1st, La Rentrée is the real Parisian New Year. But it also means there’s little time to hang out at my desk writing newsletters. I’ll be in Bordeaux for the 30th annualMarathon du Médoc and then up to Mont Saint-Michel for a tranquil evening on the abbey’s island. In between I’m busy leading tours around Paris and Chantilly. My absolute favorite neighborhood tour is…my own! I love the 13th arrondissement, its variety and surprising mix of adorably old-fashioned streets and impressively modern architecture, the murals by world class artists, the open-air food markets, the riverside guinguettes at the foot of the National Library, and the quirky Chinatown shops. It’s also an excellent district for movie-goers, with the new Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé opening today (particularly interesting if you’re into silent films) after six long years of construction (the architecture combines a historic façade with bas relief sculptures by Rodin and the interior “glass shell” by Renzo Piano, one of the architects of the Centre Pompidou).
If you’re into street art you can go on a self-guided tour of the murals commissioned by the local town hall, or stop by the Galerie Itinerrance which represents some of the world’s most prominent street artists including C215 and El Seed (they were the ones who brought together 108 street artists for the wildly popular La Tour Paris 13, which was demolished in April). And it’s not in the 13th, but nearby in the 5th arrondissement is another excellent gallery and bookshop featuring graffiti artists, Nunc! Their next vernissage is September 13th from 2-7pm with the artist Baubô. The Espace Dali is hosting a new street art exhibition Dali Fait le Mur starting tomorrow (through March 15th), bringing together twenty “urban artists” (including beloved Parisian street artists Jérôme Mesnager and Speedy Graphito) who have created their own interpretations of Dali’s surrealist artworks in painting, stencil, design, light, sound and installation (photo above).
One of my clients asked about the little square of plantings surrounded by a wooden fence, “Is that a community garden?” It’s actually going to be home to a new tree. Many sick old trees around Paris were cut down over the summer, their trunks dug up and fresh soil laid down to prepare for the fall plantings. The fences were to keep people out of the dirt. But in the mean time, with all of the rain and sunshine we had in August they sprouted a ton of weeds, wild flowers and stinging nettles (which actually make a nice tea if you know how to harvest them without getting stung). Despite some whining to the contrary, Paris is getting greener every year, with new gardens opening all of the time. The Jardin des Rosiers just opened this summer on the street of the same name, with a small grassy area for kids, a community garden and even a restored section of the 13th-century city wall. Paris also just planted the Forêt Linéaire, its first “forest” of 3000 trees (and over 12,000 plants) in a green belt along the northeastern edge of the city between Porte de la Villette et la Porte de la Chapelle. It may take a few years for them to really grow in before becoming a destination for “Fall Color” (in the meantime, try the Park Montsouris in the 14th). And if you think a particularly drab part of your neighborhood could use some greening, there’s now an iPhone/Android app DansMaRue where you can tell City Hall (through November). They will then choose the best 200 spots to add some greenery (you can also go to Paris.fr or call 3975 to make your request).
If you’re hoping to keep your summer shape throughout the winter, now is the time to join a local gym. France has finally caught on to the fitness craze so there are more than enough to choose from, in all price and quality ranges, from CrossFit, pole dancing, mixed martial arts, zumba, Pilates, boxing, waterbiking, and the traditional gym with machines, classes and weight room. If you can’t decide, get yourself on the list for a Tryndo Pass, which allows you to try a session in ten different gyms around Paris for just €59 (if you just want to see the variety of places available click on “voir nos studios” in the upper right-hand corner of the home page). And although PariRoller is hardly new (they were already going strong when I was a student 20 years ago), it’s worth reminding you that anyone (who knows how to use their brakes) can participate in their free 3-hour Friday Night Fever Skates from 10pm at the foot of Tour de Montparnasse (Place Raoul Dautry, 14th). If cobblestones and high speeds downhill scare you, opt for the Rollers & Coquillages Sunday afternoon family skate from Place de la Bastille at 2:30pm. Cyclists can join the free Paris by Night tour by Paris Rando Vélo every Friday night at 9:30pm from the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (4th). If my running adventures have inspired you, it’s too late to join us in Médoc, but you can still register for theCourses du Luxembourg, a 6k and 10k around Luxembourg Gardens on September 28th. Most big races fill up quickly in Paris, so if you’re interested in participating in the Paris Half-Marathon on March 8, 2015, registration opens September 16th.
Don’t forget to check out the latest events happening around town on the Secrets of Paris Calendar, or follow me on Twitter to get daily updates and blurry Instagram pics of my dogs. The next newsletter will be sent in October.
Strange for Paris: Pickup trucks. Not strange for Paris: A Yorkie on the lap of a motorcyclist.