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Tropical attitude

Georgina Oliver

As the Mayor’s office launched the third edition of its popular Paris-Plage extravaganza, to “abracadabra” the banks of the Seine into a “virtual Riviera” from July 20 to August 17 — announcing that it would be equipped with a kids swimming pool... Sleek Parisians sipping exotic cocktails in safari jackets and cool mules set the tone for a spicy summer!

Web Fever

How will Internet’s “instant message” addicts keep in touch while traveling? “Globally,” via MSN Messenger! To kick off the tourist season, the Colette concept store installed a cute ground-floor “corner” at its 213 rue St-Honoré locale where trendy “techies” could choose from a selection of free “I love” metal badges flaunting summery “emoticons” (i.e. “icons” designed to express a variety of “e-emotions”). For instance, “wish you were here” palm trees… A special device “customized” each badge, printing the bearer’s name or some fun statement on it.

Piranha Mania

Wanna see piranha in Paree? Just “surf” across the city to “Piranhas énivrés, des poissons et des hommes en Guyane” – an “awesome” scientific expo to be seen at the Museum national d’histoire naturelle’s tropical aquarium until August 31. (293 av Daumesnil, 12e, M° Porte Dorée, tel: 01 44 74 84 80).

Exotic Flora

To boost that “Indiana Jones” experience, head for the Bois de Vincennes... In addition to its Parc Floral, celebrated for its annual open-air jazz fest, it boasts a tropical garden open to the public during the weekend from 11am to 5:30pm (45bis av de la Belle Grabrielle, RER A/Nogent sur Marne) that’s dotted with pagoda-like constructions dating back to the Colonial Exhibition of 1907. (Daily guided visits, by appointment: 01 40 71 75 60)

Tropical Fiesta

A stone’s throw from the Bois… the Hippodrome de Paris-Vincennes racecourse stages crowd-drawing thematic events. On June 29, it hosts a “Nocturne Tropicale.” Horses (sulkies, to be precise)... world food and matching music — plus reels of prizes, including a trip to the Caribbean for two! (Complimentary invitations from www.cheval-franç

Versailles Extravaganza

Famous for the Zingaro equestrian theater he founded in Aubervilliers two decades ago, star horseman Bartabas now holds the reins of Versailles’ elite riding academy. From August 28 to September 11, the grounds of the castle will be the venue of “Le Chevalier de Saint-George — Un Africain à la cour,” a sizzling horseback saga and firework display unfurling the tale of a swashbuckling courtier, the son of a slave... (Box office: 01 39 02 07 14)

Patio Punch

Xavier de Beauharnais — who shares the Creole roots of Napoleon’s first bride Joséphine de Beauharnais — has the recipe for “the perfect patio punch.” In the “Count’s cocktail shaker”? Rhum agricole du Père Labat (or Bielle rum). Monin syrups (most appropriate flavors, coconut and vanilla & cinnamon). Caraïbos juices (passion fruit, mango & guava).  A “soupçon” of grated nutmeg, and cane sugar... To be swished about “in calypso mode,” before being served with a straw. Ideally, in previously chilled glasses (with pink and green froasting on the rim)... adding fresh lime and decorative pineapple, mango and mini banana kebab sticks — popped in at the last minute, with the aplomb of a true buccaneer!

Hot Rap

Riding on the crest of hip hop’s return to grace, Zoxea — a founding member of the “Sages Poètes de la Rue” rap group — is fast becoming “da” king of the “Asphalt Jungle,” here. Still strong on urban protest, his latest solo album, “Dans la lumière” (“In the light”) remixes “African village” beats with sonic experiments, and includes a très “peace and love” collaboration with Nathalie (“Che Guevara,” “Hasta Siempre”… ) Cardonne. (Catch his concert at L’Olympia, June 22)

Ibiza Vibes

Pounding sounds and sultry scents are essential to tropical attitude. In this spirit, French restaurateur/club owner/Ibiza DJ David Guetta has released a “Blaster” CD to coincide with his current 60-date international “mix” tour, while his wife and associate Cathy has “signed” a hip’n’heady jasmine and candy-scented fragrance dubbed “Ibiza.”  

Natural Women

Environment-friendly cosmetics firm Yves Rocher has teamed up with the Institut de France to award “Terre de Femmes” trophies and grants to women who have spearheaded local or planetary projects connected with the protection of nature. The winner of this year’s First Prize, Isabelle Annonciade Lardeux-Gilloux, lives in Borneo where she has created an association, which acquires land with a view to preserving the region’s ailing natural resources. Now open to candidates from the United States, the scheme crosses the Atlantic in 2005… (Applications from July 1/Yves Rocher North America contact:


“Début d’un nouveau monde” — “The Beginning of a New World” — is the title of a “must-see” exhibition highlighting Surrealist pioneer Roberto Matta’s “biomorphic jungle” compositions — from the period, which inspired this Chilean-born painter’s New York counterparts to explore fresh ground (1936-44). (To July 16, Tue-Fri 10:30 am to 12:30pm & 2:20-6:30pm, Mon & Sat 2:20-6:30pm, 26 av Matignon, 8e, tel: 01 42 66 60 33, M° Miromesnil)

Lush Hotel

Game for an “out of this world” hotel, in a forest on the western outskirts of the city? How about Les Etangs de Corot? Steeped in a lush pond-filled setting favored by the landscape artist it’s named after, this 4-star, 49-room “inn” features an “artists café” and “gallery,” as well as a picturesque “safari hut” restaurant named Les payottes. (53 rue de Versailles, 92410 Ville d’Avray/www.hotel-étangs-corot-ville-avray)


In the kiosks next November — a glossy quarterly magazine “with a bridge-building approach to arts and lifestyle topics,” called... Tropic’ Attitude (  

Xavier de Beauharnais

“Nocturne Tropicale” poster

David Guetta releases his “Blaster” his wife and associate Cathy launches her “Ibiza” fragrance