Christian Tortu vase
courtesy of Mariette Lando & Associés
2001 L.O.V.E
A virtual odyssey?
by Georgina Oliver

All set to send that e-Valentine? Beware, the course of virtual love doesn't necessarily run smoothly! It may be a small planet. Yet, nothing comes easy. On February 14, zillions of siècle nouveau romantics will zero in on easyEverything, the Brit Internet café network, with mega cyber outlets in Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland, New York, and... Paris. Wherefore? To check their messages. "Just in case." The ultimate heartbreaker? An empty mailbox. (Brand-new 24hr/365 day Les Halles branch: 37 bd de Sebastopol, 1 er)

He@rt Promos
Hot on the heels of Halloween à la française, Valentine's Day has become a huge marketing phenomenon here. Unabashedly kitsch heart symbols are "all around, everywhere." For 149F, Printemps proposes "la mascotte Eurobe@r." A cuddly teddy bear twosome. One red. The other shocking pink. (Feb 3-14)
The “seriously” in love will log on There's a joint FNAC/Printemps wedding trousseau. And the boulevard Haussmann store's bridal department has scheduled a “reservations only” late night opening on February 14. The pitch: “Getting married? Let the moon be your witness!” (tel: 01 42 85 86 87)

During the holiday season, BHV Rivoli launched a whole range of PACS (official "significant other") customer services. A joint credit card. A gifts list. So, stand by for further Saint Valentin promos.

Alternative Flowers
Ultra creative florist/designer Christian Tortu has devised a series of Valentine's arrangements on display at his carrefour de l'Odéon shop from early February. Nearby (at 12 rue des Quatre-Vents, 6e, tel: 01 56 81 00 24), a second boutique proffers all manner of cadeaux with a floral connection. For instance, ethereal "Nebul' and "Diabolo" glass vases that convey the impression of intertwined flowers embracing (350F/225F). Equally subtle: the "brown bag" packaging of Tortu's plant-based fragrances and toiletries. Par exemple, pebble-like soaps.

Queen of Hearts
With a "studio boutique" of her own (9 rue Guénégaud, 6e, tel: 01 43 25 86 88), Agatha Ruiz de la Prada is beyond contest the Left Bank's "Queen of Hearts." Bright colors are her signature. And crimson hearts are ubiquitous in her designs. Clothes and accessories, plus... Fun tables and chairs. Funky crockery. Kids togs. And, a perfume line called "Corazon," presented in heart-shaped rose or verde receptacles (90-250F).

Paris sur la Terre
Now available in the kiosks, an “urban, chic and contemporary” trimonthly city magazine named Paris sur la Terre tells its readers virtually all over the planet “ce qu’il faut désirer” (what they should desire). There are "sur la Terre" publications worldwide. Miami sur la Terre, Milano sur la Terre, etc.

Virtual Sex
A prime time show on French television's Canal+, part of the global media market, since its merger with Vivendi and Universal Pictures... recently probed the possibilities of virtual sex. Among the topics discussed: an intelligent jacket enabling "long distance lovers" to click on each other’s erogenous zones.

Lingerie Link-up
The sexiest Valentine’s offer? Lingerie leader Boléro's link-up with tights specialists Le Bourget. Buy a bra and pantie ensemble from the Venezia underwear range (549F) and you get a free pair of hold-up stockings with matching lace motif. (Feb 1-28)

Carnival Time
New millennium paramours will don masks to meet incognito at the Carnaval de Nice (Feb 8-27) whose program was announced at a cocktail party orchestrated by provençal restaurant Version Sud (8 rue Berryer, 8e, tel: 01 42 25 10 10). Carnival info:
From February 1 to March 31, and particularly during dinner on February 22 and 27, avenue George V establishment Findi will recreate the atmosphere of Venice's grand carnival. Gourmet specialties. Mandolin serenades. Flamethrowers. Magicians. Acrobats on stilts. Casanova-style masks de rigueur... February 14 will be a romantic occasion, featuring an exceptionally refined Venitian menu. (250F/bookings: 01 47 20 14 78)

Lovers Rock
Jaded music critics pretend to think love songs are "rubbish." But, after a candlelit champagne supper, who could resist "the power of...” Nigerian-born smooth operator Sade's first album in eight years, "Lovers Rock"?
Prefer to electro-pop the night away? La guinguette Pirate, a three-masted oriental vessel, moored at 11 quai de la Gare, near the BNF public library, has the answer. On February 14, Irish outfit “F&W” (The Frank & Walters) is in town to introduce its latest CD, “Glass.” (8pm, 40F, reservations: 01 45 84 41 71)

Z'érotiques Asimut
Glass fertilty symbols and suggestive statuettes are among the items included in “Z'érotiques Asimut,” an Eros-inspired show opening at gallery/concept store PM Style co, on February 14. Curated by scenographer Pierre-Marie Couturier, this event surfs from Eastern objects and ethnic furnishings to the work of ten young artists. Painters, photographers, jewelers, interior designers... Hardly virtual! (To Mar 24, 3 passage du Grand Cerf, 2e, tel: 01 55 80 71 06)

What is the future of experimental musical composition in an era dominated by electro/techno/mondo sounds? Check that out at the 11th edition of the Maison de Radio France's Présences festival. All concerts free. Feb 2-18. Info: 01 56 40 15 16

Her Excellency
Lady Sylvia Jay ain't just British Ambassador Sir Michael Jay's other half. On January 1, she became a “Eurostar” in her own right... Appointed Director General of the UK's Food and Drink Federation, she will be commuting between London and Paris, shuttling back to her rue du faubourg Saint-Honoré residence at the weekend. An enterprising hostess, Lady Jay is famous here for her version of “French fries.” Cocktail-sized “fish and chips” with pureed peas, wrapped in a miniature photocopy of the newspaper of the day.

Tana Hoban
A stone’s throw from Opéra-Bastille, the l'Art à la Page gallery only exhibits book illustrators. Not to be missed: a selection of pictures by Paris-based American photographer Tana Hoban, celebrated for the "simple is beautiful" vision vehicled via her children's albums. (To Feb 9, 8 rue Amelot, 11e)

Printemps Eurobe@ars
courtesy of Printemps

Bie Peeters / courtesy of Studio A Ruiz de la Prada

Boléro / Le Bourget Valentine's offer
courtesy of Bolero / Le Bourget

Nice Carnaval Program
courtesy of Nice Carnaval 2001

Findi's Venice Carnival menu
courtesy of Bureaux de Laurent

courtesy os Sony / Epic