Starting over. Turning a fresh leaf... That's what New Years about. As it happens, thats how changing century felt. Yet, at 2002s onset as the champagne corks pop Parisian revelers will be proposing a toast to second chances, echoing the Lennon lyrics All were saying is give peace a chance.
A double changing of the guard, on rue du Faubourg St-Honoré... For this citys Anglo-Americans, New Year 2002 heralds two newly-appointed ambassadors. Presently at the helm of Londons Foreign Office, former British Ambassador Sir Michael Jay will be amicably recalled by Tout-Paris along with Lady Sylvia, a brilliant hostess and a keen promoter of Brit Art. Herself now Director General of the UKs Food and Drink Federation, Sylvia Jay had a culinary claim to fame miniature fishnchips served to the embassys bowtied guests, on silver platters... Sir Michaels successor? Sir John Eaton Holmes whose previous diplomatic assignments have included New York, Moscow, India and North Africa. Sir Johns official biography ends on a personal note In 1976, he married Penelope Morris. John and Penny have three daughters: Sarah, Lucy and Emilie (who was born in Paris).
On the day John Holmes presented his credentials to President Chirac, his American counterpart, Howard H. Leach had lunch with members of the Anglo-American Press Association, at La Maison France-Amériques, on avenue Franklin Roosevelt. Convinced that The United States wants less war, not more war," Ambassador Leach placed the accent on multifaceted problem-solving.
Following news of its cross-shareholdings with Nissan, Renault is revving up for a hyper-innovative era. Riding on the crest of successes like the Laguna, an upper-mid sedan with executive-class navigation systems, electronic stability and real-time tyre pressure monitoring that also comes in a keyless, smart card-operated version... the French carmaker is out to explore untrodden territory. The crème de la crème Vel Satis is billed as its latest Ambassador, while the Avantime a Renault-Matra coupé treats affluent nonconformists to a whole new experience: Cinerama-style landscapes, streaming past its total vista pillar-free side windows...
New twists on traditional luxuries are in vogue. Sipped at with a straw... the mini bottles of champagne ubiquitous at brand-sponsored DJ soirées, since the turn of the millennium, are sold in packs at major supermarkets. Piper-Heidsiecks red-labeled teeny tot is the Baby Piper. Sayonara! to Pipers newborn, kimono-clad 20cl brut, available in Japan from early December.
How to transport chilled bubbly in a car, in style? Thats easy... In a bright red portable refrigerator on sale at the department store where everythings to be found... Facing the Seines oldest bridge the Pont-Neuf La Samaritaine has asked newfangled, Spanish Movida designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada to be its honorary Santa Claus, conceiving its theme windows, billboards and Christmas tree packaging.
Ephemeral events are hot... Cooked up to promote Italian sparkling water Ferrarelle, a glamorous ephemeral resto proposes three contemporary cuisine options at the Hôtel de Bondeville (4 rue des Haudriettes, 3e, reservations: 01 53 70 72 71), till December 15. First, La Play Room. Unabashedly regressive. No tables as such, just round, plastic cushions... On the menu? Purées and smoothie desserts, served with straws and teaspoons. Second, La Cuisine. A camp trattoria, concocted by Sigolène Préboist and Catherine Lévy of Tsé & Tsé Associés. The diet, here? Organic Antipasti, pasta e tutti fruti. Third, La Salle à manger, a surrealistic gastronomic mise-en-scène devised by Bertrand Burgalat (the musician behind the trendy Tricatel label), along with Olivier Kuntzel and Florence Deygas.
Paris most bang-on high-tech emporium? Bang & Olufsens futuristic outlet at the Maison du Danemark (142 av des Champs-Elysées). A showcase for the Danish manufacturers state-of-the-art products, this extra-terrestial sales environment featuring special audiovisual effects orchestrated by electro-maestro Jean-Michel Jarre is to be updated, on a yearly basis.
Part of luxury goods group LVMH, TAG Heuer is relaunching its Monaco watch via an exhibition of hitherto unpublished portraits of Steve McQueen, taken by celebrated American photographer William Claxton (To Dec 29, Galerie Dutko, 13 rue Bonaparte, 6e, tel: 01 43 26 96 13). During filming of Le Mans, the legendary Hollywood actor reportedly fell for this classic timepiece.
Court-Circuit organizes weekend art marts plugging young fashion and deco talent. On view at La Villettes Cité des Sciences et de lIndustrie (10am to 9pm, Dec 1&2, Espace Condorcet, Niveau 0, 20F, kids free), 120 participants including SENSIboot, artisans who make wacky leather footwear to order. Fabrice Poutrieux explains Our customers are clubbers, or circus people... You select a style, then choose your own colors and textures. (13 rue du Milieu, 09210 Saint Ybars, tel: 06 10 37 28 45).
With a state-run young and experimental arts, style and multimedia center scheduled to open at the end of January in the Palais de Tokyo, next door to the Musée dArt Moderne de la Ville, on avenue du Président Wilson... alternative museography is in the air. So, dont miss a unique opportunity to attend a pros-only trade expo focusing on cultural gifts and museum objects, at the Palais des Congrès from January10 to 12! (Museum Expressions will send free invitations to the first 100 Internautes to sign up on its website: www.museum expressions.tm.fr)
Youve heard that its pointless to hang on to your last francs. From 2002, theyll be history, old currency... well be in Euroland! Nonetheless, as of January 15, a trio of prominent French charities is organizing La collecte des derniers francs. In aid of LAssociation des Paralysés de France, Le comité Catholique contre la Faim et pour le Développement and the Ligue contre le Cancer, youll be asked to slip your Last Francs into bright collection boxes on display in various public places.