Five, four, three, two, one... Take off! Day one of this red hot city solstice (June 21) coincides with the Fête de la Musique, the annual nationwide music fiesta launched by François Mitterrand's flamboyant Minister of Culture Jack Lang. Best places to fête this spaced-out fest? At a mega street party like République's "Ricard Live Music" concert or tout simplement at a sidewalk terrace in a vehicle-free zone piétonne, for instance... place du Marché Ste-Catherine near METRO: St-Paul where over 2,000 neo-parigots gather to dance the night away with Jules Nicoli's musette orchestra.
Hot 'n Spacy
This summer, everything from music to makeup will be spicy and cosmic. If les magazines get their way, many items on your vacation shopping list will be shiny, metallic and feather-light. In a word: "spacy." This applies to "itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny" ergonomic swimwear as well as to futuristic deck chairs (available at Habitat).
The apex of this Sci-Fi-inspired trend? The pen "U" use to scrawl your summer of '99 postcards must be a Sensa... the US-made writing instrument featuring patented space age materials, par exemple: a plasmium-filled grip zone and a Nasa-devised pressurized refill which "lets you write for over 3.5 miles... under water, upside down and even in gravity free space."
Deemed "a miss" by Rock & Folk, but nevertheless on Les Inrockuptibles' list of "favorite releases," a CD called "Installation sonore" met with mixed reactions from Paris' rock mag elite. Yet, Rinôçérôse (a cute male/female techno duo from Montpellier) seems all set for a summer hit with this catchy combo of orbital instrumental improv' and "guitaristic house," sprinkled with herbes de Provence. There's a très French Touch supersonic aircraft on the cover... (V2)
With posters promoting the privatization of Aerospatiale/Matra on display in banks throughout the city and the first commercial flight of European satellite launcher Ariane 5 scheduled in July, spaceships certainly seem to be "in the air" at the onset of the millennium's last summer.
Ever wondered just how big the satellite equipment is which relays our lighthearted mobile phone conversations from earth to orbit, and back? If so, why not go and see Aerospatiale's Les Mureaux site, where a visitors' gallery offers vetted members of the public a bird's-eye view of a launcher "assembly line." (For tour conditions, call the Service des Relations Extérieures: 01.39.06.13.33.)
Equally "transporting," an exhibition at Boulogne-Billancourt's new 1930s museum focuses on another pre-millennium obsession: the fascination for paquebots or cruising ships à la Titanic. Spotlighting ground-breaking designers like Robert Mallet-Stevens, Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand, "Décors de Paquebots" bears witness to the heyday of the legendary French line. (To June 16, Musée des Années 30/Espace Landowski, 28, av André Morizet, Metro Marcel Sembat, tel: 01.55.18.46.42.)
Petit Bateau Craze
The striped sailor shirts turned into branchés classics by Jean-Paul Gaultier have been dethroned by a younger vest. Flagship French kids' clothes chain Petit Bateau (literally, "Little Boat") has produced a colorful range of age 16 and 18 "underwear" aimed at urban sylphs of all ages.
Big Blue Blues
A small child with a bucket and spade nestles inside the most blasé, nightclubbin' fin de siècle citydweller... 'Round about June, you start to hear "the call of the ocean." You get strange urges, like... How about driving to Le Havre to see the "Georges Braque: l'espace" exhibit on view until June 21 at the refurbished Musée Malraux, whose seafront building constitutes a glowing tribute to the style paquebot perfected by Le Corbusier?
Or... you swoon over images like the Bosporus picture on the invitation to the vernissage of "Istanbul, regards croisés," a thematic show highlighting the work of 80 Sipa Press photographers, presented at the Parc de Bagatelle through August 1. (Daily, 11am to 6pm, Galerie Côté Seine, Route de Sèvres, Bois de Boulogne, 16e, Metro Pont de Neuilly & 43 bus or Porte Maillot & 244 bus.)
And... You reserve weeks in advance to dine at a restaurant, just because it's on canal St-Martin and it's named La Marine, (55, quai de Valmy, 10e, tel: 01.42.39.69.81.)
Don't be surprised if you find yourself queuing outside a Champs-Elysées movie theater to see Kevin Costner in "Message in a Bottle," a "swell" transatlantic melodrama premiering in Paris on June 30, as "Une bouteille à la mer." There's nothing amiss mate... You're only pining for the deep blue sea!
Paris' famed epicerie fine, Fauchon, has been revamped. It inaugurates a tea room this month and has already successfully launched Les Caves Fauchon, a wine bar showcasing 2,500 wines and spirits.
On a hot summer afternoon, it might be more enjoyable to perch on a stool in this air-conditionned connoisseur's den, with a plate of Serrano ham and a glass of dry white Domecq La Ina sherry, than to swelter at a dusty sidewalk terrace, struggling through a heavy menu gastronomique! (3, pl de la Madeleine, 8e, Metro Madeleine, tel: 01.47.42.60.11.)
Also on the futuristic Meteor Métro line, Bercy's cour St-Emilion is fast becoming a "global village." Jean-Baptiste Aubertin and Jean-Michel Calvert (of the Viaduc) have opened a wine bar/DJ venue dubbed Le Vinéa Café at number 26, a stone's throw from UGC's Cité Ciné which hosts a Festival du cinéma espagnol starting June 9, (movie hotline: 08.36.68.68.58).
And, of course, beyond "Bercy Village" where Club Med will unveil a vast leisure complex in 2001, there's the Bercy stadium, with Bruce Springsteen (June 3), the Backstreet Boys (June 8), REM (July 5), Metallica (July 7)...