Photo of the Week


The upside-down innards of the Conciergerie shown on a tarp on the facade and reflected in the Seine. © Paris Update


Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Monster contemporary art fair
> FIAC: 189 galleries show their wares in the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Art on the Champs
> Art Élysées: 75 modern and contemporary art and design galleries in tents on the world's most famous boulevard. Champs Elysées, Paris, Oct. 20-24.

Asian art
> Asia Now: 30 contemporary galleries showing work by Asian artists. 9, av. Hoche, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Art brut
> Another kind of art at the Outsider Art Fair. Hotel du Duc, Paris, Oct. 22–25.

Art in a townhouse
> Paris Internationale: contemporary art fair in a Parisian townhouse. 51, avenue d'Iéna, Paris, Oct. 19-23.

Young international artists
> YIA Art Fair: Youth takes precedence at this art fair. Carreau du Temple, Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Digital art
> Variation: Contemporary digital art fair. Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, Oct. 18-23.

“Music for old people”
> Le Classique C'est pour les Vieux: The ironically titled music festival holds classical concerts in skateparks, cafés, artists' studios and other unusual venues and incorporates street art, 3D performances and more. Paris, Oct. 20-23.

Film festival for kiddies
> Mon 1er Festival: some 400 screenings, premiers and more for kids aged two and up. Various locations, Paris, Oct. 19-25.


For Brassens fans
> The annual 22V'laGeorges Festival celebrates what would have been the great singer’s 95th birthday this year in his hometown of Sète. Oct. 22-29.

Refugee children speak through art


> From Syria with Love, an exhibition of drawings by Syrian refugee children. Galerie CInq, 5 rue du Cloitre St Merri, 75004 Paris, through Oct. 21.

Classic Danish films
> Festival of movies by Carl Theodor Dreyer. Cinémathèque Française, Paris, through Nov. 6.

Jazz galore
> Paris's leading jazz clubs cooperate for the festival Jazz sur Seine, with special prices for concerts, showcases and master classes. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 22.

Cultures of the world onstage
> Music, dance, theater and ritual performances from around the world at the Festival de l'Imaginaire. Various locations, Paris, through Dec. 20.

Strange Happenings in St. Germain
> The exhibition Bizarro, with works by a number of artists, fills seven Left Bank galleries with “Bêtes de Scènes et Sacrés Monstres.” Don’t miss the Meta-perceptual Helmets by the Irish duo Cleary/Connolly
at the Librairie Alain Brieux, which allow the viewer to see forward and backward, for example, or the way a cyclops or horse would see. Various locations, Paris, through Oct. 30.

Contemporary arts festival
> The Festival d’Automne presents leading talents in art, dance, film, theater and more from around the world. Various venues, Paris, through Dec. 31.

Amazing gardens
> The popular Festival International des Jardins de Chaumont-sur-Loireis held annually in the park of the Château de Chaumont in Chaumont-sur-Loire, through Nov. 2.

Music & more in park bandstands
> Kiosques en Fête brings life to the bandstands in Paris’s parks with concerts, writing workshops, club meetings and even a square dance. Various locations, Paris, through Dec. 31.


Books - New Books Roundups


La Rentrée Littéraire, Sept. 2006

Seasonal Literature

Christine Angot's new novel is being tipped as a possible winner of the Prix Goncourt.

It’s that time of year again. The biannual frenzy of book publishing in France known as the rentrée littéraire is upon us. Pull up an armchair and choose from a stack of over 680 freshly printed novels, around 475 of them French.

Paris-based Belgian novelist Amélie Nothomb, famous for wearing big hats and writing between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. every day, has whipped out a new novel every year since 1999, when she made a hit with Stupeur et Tremblements (Fear and Trembling). The critics are not being kind about this year’s offering, Journal d’Hirondelle (Albin Michel), the story of a contract killer who falls hopelessly in love with a woman he has just assassinated, calling it slight, cliché-ridden, boring and forgettable. That hasn’t stopped it from topping the best-seller lists, however.

Sensationalism is also the stock in trade of Christine Angot, who made her name in 1999 with L’Inceste, in which the main character (called Christine Angot) has an incestuous relationship with her father. Now everyone is talking about her latest work of autofiction (fictionalized autobiography), Rendez-vous (Flammarion), which is being tipped as the probable winner of the Prix Goncourt, France’s top literary prize, to be awarded in November. Tamer than her sexually explicit earlier efforts, Rendez-vous describes a woman’s affairs with two men, a banker and a young actor. The latter, a fan of her books, asks her to write the story of their affair as they live it.

From the Paris suburbs comes the fresh voice of a young woman of Algerian descent, Faïza Guène. Her first novel, Kiffe Kiffe Demain, sold 200,000 copies and was translated into 26 languages. Just out is Du Rêve pour les Oufs (Hachette), about a young woman living in the suburbs who has lost her mother to violence in Algeria and must care for her disabled father and delinquent younger brother.

Nancy Huston, a Canadian who has long lived in France and even writes many of her books in French (translating herself those that she writes in English), has published Lignes de Faille (Actes Sud), which explores the lives of different generations of an American family of German origin.

In case it seems that women are grabbing all the attention, let’s mention a few works by men. Laurent Gaudé, winner of the Prix Goncourt in 2004 for Soleil des Scorta, takes on the currently hot topic of illegal immigration in Eldorado (Actes Sud), while TV news presenter Patrick Poivre d'Arvor and his brother Olivier, a diplomat, have written a novel, Disparaître (Gallimard), that purports to transcribe the thoughts of Lawrence of Arabia as he lay dying after a motorcycle accident. Another big name from across the Channel, the artist Francis Bacon, has inspired Alain Absire’s Deux Personnages sur un Lit avec Témoins (Fayard), the story of a painter’s twisted relationship with his lover and favorite model.

That’s just the top of the stack. For the rest, visit your friendly neighborhood bookstore.

Heidi Ellison

© 2006 Paris Update

Reader Reaction

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).