Photo of the Week

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Left to right: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and Ferris Wheel. © 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).

Drawing through the ages

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"Apples" (1944), by Henri Matisse. Eric Coatalem Gallery.

> Salon du Dessin: 39 galleries showing works on paper, from Old Masters to contemporary. Palais Brogniart, Paris, March 22-27.

Contemporary drawing fair
> Drawing Now: 73 galleries, Carreau du Temple, Paris, March 23-26.

More contemporary drawings
>Ddessin: 20 galleries. Atelier Richelieu, Paris, March 24-26.

Art and design fair
> PAD (Paris Art + Design),
67 galleries, Tuileries Garden, Paris, March 22-26.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, March 23-May 28.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Audrey Dana's Si j'Étais un Homme, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, Feb. 24.

Documentary film festival
> Cinéma du Réel showcases documentaries from around the world. Various venues, Paris, March 24-April 2.

Suburban blues
> The Banlieues Bleues festival brings major French and international jazz acts to the Paris suburbs. Various venues, through March 31.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

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Berges de Seine

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TAKE BACK THE SEINE

banks of the seine, paris, floating cinema

Sketch of a proposed floating cinema on the Left Bank of the Seine, where the mayor wants to close a stretch of the highway to traffic.

One of the biggest urban-planning disasters in Paris’s history – along with the Forum des Halles and the Tour Montparnasse – was the building of highways along both the Right and Left Banks of the Seine in the 1960s, a project that destroyed the tranquility and environment of one of the city’s greatest treasures and one of Unesco’s 100 World Heritage Sites. Finally, that crime against Paris is about to be partially rectified. Last week, Mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced a plan to take the Seine back from the noisy, polluting cars that zoom along its banks – or sit in traffic jams there.

On the Right Bank, at least five traffic lights will be installed and the sidewalks widened in some places to slow down the automobiles. A café-on-a-barge will float on the Seine near the Hôtel de Ville.

On the Left Bank, the transformation will be far more spectacular. The Seine-side road will be completely auto-free between the Pont de l’Alma and the Musée d’Orsay (a rather short 2-kilometer stretch, but better than nothing), replaced by walking and cycling lanes, gardens, greenhouses and sports facilities. Artificial island parks will float on the river near the Port des Invalides, while a nightclub on a boat will be located near the Pont Alexandre III. Best of all, a floating cinema screen will be set up near the Musée d’Orsay, with bleachers on the riverbank. How cool is that?

This is part of the mayor’s overall plan to discourage the use of autos in Paris. The beauty of the project is that it is not one of those Pharaonic schemes French politicians love; the idea is to use easy-to-install infrastructure with a relatively low cost (the estimated budget is €40 million) that can be changed or moved if necessary. The city estimates that the work could be completed in two years.

As with all such projects, it remains to be seen how much of this will actually be realized (remember when former Paris Mayor Jean Tiberi promised to ban automobile traffic on the Place de la Concorde?). It’s not enough, but it’s a start.

Click here for more information.