Santa's year 2001 electronic toys (Palmpilots, digital cameras...), all come with fancy buzzwords. Quick and cryptic like a mini-message on a smart cell phone. Sweet and short as the riddles that pop out of English Christmas crackers.
Mac's familiar "Think different" slogan is back, in holiday season TV ads. While Nokia's catch phrase is "connecting people." And Siemens says "be inspired," echoing Sony's "go create." Anyway, this century, "you have a msg." And that's "Celebrate different!".
In tune with the nouvelle économie and its new lifestyles, Paris' department stores have adopted a brand-new approach to revelry. Le Bon Marchés Grande Epicerie presents a "gourmet globe-trotter" array of food and drink, titled "Enter the century of taste...les fêtes nouvelle!". Meanwhile, in the Marais, BHV Rivoli is promoting special PACS (official "significant other") customer services, including a joint credit card and gifts list. And, Printemps, whose festive theme is "glam'rock," sells a universal, unisex millennial medallion created by next generation jewelers, Olivier and Bruno Roure. (395F/250F)
XXL Xmas Concept
New-style familles recomposées (tykes, teens, parents and stepparents) will throng to the latest kiddies animation blockbuster, Dinosaure, showing at Disney Villages Gaumont theater. Before scooting on to Disneyland's Marché de Noël which hawks Christmassy treats and decorations from all over the world, in an Alpine chalet ambience. Dec 8 to Jan 1. Info: 01 60 30 20 20
As it happens Marne-la-Vallée (RER Chessy) ain't just Mickey Mouse and Buffalo Bill territory. After the concept store, the concept hypermarché. Trailblazing gift-hunters and party planners will head for the 16,000 square meter Auchan hypermarket in Val d'Europes freshly-inaugurated commercial center, (exit 14, highway A4, 14 Cour du Danube - Serris, 77708 Marne-la-Vallée, tel: 01 60 42 50 50). Totally, in the "Shop different!" spirit, with its four user-friendly XXL consumer theme spaces, offering everything from baby changing facilities to Internet connections.
The new millennium festal look? A savvy cocktail of high tech and tinseltown glitz, with a splash of jeans attitude. The Tark'1 label revels in faux python. While avenue Montaigne shoemaker Harel favors the genuine article: ultra-feminine, stiletto-heeled "Western" crocodile mules.
Vive la différence! Even techie mavens dream of fairy tale evening gowns. Like the froufrou frocks made to measure by Marie Laporte who just quit her avenue Montaigne showroom to open a rambling workshop in Orgeval, a 15-minute RER ride from Paris' madding crowd. Tel: 01 46 40 07 52
The heights of portable technological elegance? Danish design supremo Bang & Olufsen's 8,000F BeoSound 1 "plug and play" hi-fi system. Bastille outlet: 44 bd Henri IV, 4e, tel: 01 42 77 97 77
Or, Nokia's "fashion hall." (Of fame...). Several global designers have brought their savoir faire to Finland's flagship mobile communication brand. If not for the cool logo, Paris-based American Jeremy Scott's 8210 nightclubbers case, could pass for a classic rhinestone opera purse.
Recently plugged by Nova magazine... Levi's current joint venture with Philips is "ICD+," a $600-900 "intelligent" denim jacket integrating streetwise telephone and MP3 functions. (Website: www.foxnews.com/vtech/092100/levis.sml)
Looking for inexpensive alternative gifts? Japanese mail order firm Evans & Wong concentrates on conceptual products. Named "[the new] generic," its present selection features a "cosmopolitan, tolerant, anti-racist, anti-ignorance" jigsaw devised by French trends bureau Bass Pression: a set of three interchangeable puzzles, each representing the face of a man "1 Asian, 1 African and 1 European," (300F). Orders: http://evansandwong.com or 34 rue du Sentier, 2e, tel: 01 44 88 51 30
"Tolerance/acceptance" is the repeat electro-rap message behind "Super harmony, give u a new life...," a Pills CD that's been inescapable since the band's dazzling performance at the "Who's Next?" streetwear expo.
Pristine boutiques that showcase a combo of mondo novelties and modern objects are the New Year shopping vogue. The Conran Shop's nouvelles sensations catalog reflects this post-minimal mood. Left Bank branch: 117 rue du Bac, 7e, tel: 01 42 84 10 01
In the same line of business, a former Publicis marketing buff, Elizabeth Pastore-Reiss, has opened Human Inside, a "responsible" general store dedicated to goods whose manufacturers "respect" the environment and their employees across the planet. Togs and trinkets. Tableware. Holistic cosmetics. Notebooks... 90 rue de Rennes, 6e, tel: 01 42 84 83 33
A trendy celebratory tipple? Famosa. "La Cerveza Maya." A latino beer brewed in Guatemala since 1896, launched here at an "Ethnologic" soirée, hosted by the Batofar lightboat/nightspot.
Otherwise, order a case of Sofia, the Nappa Valley blanc de blancs that metteur en scène/ winegrower Francis Ford Coppola named after his daughter whose "Virgin Suicides" filmmaking debut entranced Tout-Paris: www.wine.com
Exoticism is in the eye of the beholder. To plugged-in Frenchies, a Provençal reveillon with its 13 deserts and crib filled with santons figurines is the epitome of yummy yuletide traditions. To an Anglo expat, it's kinda "different." To Jan 7, Fauchon proffers a Noël provençal: 24-26-28-30 pl de la Madeleine, 8e, tel: 01 47 42 60 11
Or Noëls Nomades?
Moored at 11 quai de la Gare, near the BNF public library, the Guinguette Pirate club/bistro has conjured up a colorful program of multicultural, pluri-disciplinary festivities. From December 16 to 23, this distinctly "different" 3-masted oriental vessel is the venue of a "noëls nomades" bivouac cum camp fire merrymaking, ranging from concerts and circus acts to a "Universal Love" weekend Christmas present market (Dec 16 & 17). Infoline: 01 56 29 10 20, three days before.
The way to make a holiday getaway without actually leaving the city? During advent, Bercy's 5,000 square meter Club Med World travel/fitness/leisure complex (tel: 0 810 810 410) takes care of zee kids (Santa Claus, storytelling, fun and munchies...), while their "kid'dult" parents "celebrate different." Highlights include a Christmas Eve buffet de gala 650F (children, 200F) and Christmas day's "Gospel et cirque" theme brunch (170F/60F). Then, "more for grown-ups," there's a New Year "'50s to 2001" DJ fiesta (990F). Pas de menu spécial enfants...
Same goes for alternative tour operator Voyages 4A (tel: 03 83 37 99 66) whose Nouvel An offerings include "Klimt in Vienna." Or, the "Morocco 2001" trance bash. Hip yet homesick Brits will pick their "Swinging London" gathering: a 5 day/5 night bus + hotel round-trip (1190F). Enjoy!