Francophiles’ Guide to Après-Quarantine

Aux Cafés, Citoyens!

June 3, 2020By Heidi EllisonWhat's New Art & Culture
After Paris’s café terraces opened yesterday, Parisians were out in full force to enjoy the sunshine. © Paris Update
After Paris’s café terraces opened yesterday, Parisians were out in full force to enjoy the sunshine. © Paris Update

Paris is on the move again. Yesterday, the terraces of restaurants and cafés reopened, to the collective joy of the Parisians. After all, what is Paris without café terraces, and what Parisian doesn’t rush to the first available table to catch a few rays, enjoy un petit noir (espresso) or a pastis, check out passersby with a critical eye and gossip with friends? 

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo inaugurated the reopening of Paris parks at the Square du Temple on Saturday morning. © Paris Update
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo inaugurated the reopening of Paris parks at the Square du Temple on Saturday morning. © Paris Update

Arguably, Parisians were just as happy about the reopening of the city’s parks on Saturday after spending over two months longing for a green space where they could enjoy the fantastic weather we have been having. 

More good news: movie theaters will reopen on June 22. Film is another sorely missed French passion, and Parisians still go out to see the latest releases in the cinema in spite of the huge availability of movies online.

A still from the 1925 silent film Paris en Cinq Jours, available for free streaming on the site of the Cinémathèque Française.
A still from the 1925 silent film Paris en Cinq Jours, available for free streaming on the site of the Cinémathèque Française.

The Cinémathèque Française, heaven for cinephiles, has announced that it will reopen on July 15, but until then, it will continue to add to the “Henri” section of its website a wide selection of gems from its collection for free streaming at home, ranging from Rock Hudson’s Home Movies by Mark Rappoport to a wonderful silent film, Paris en Cinq Jours (Paris in Five Days), by Nicolas Rimsky and Pière Colombier, about the adventures of a young American couple visiting Paris in 1925, with a tour of the city guaranteed to get those of you who live elsewhere planning their next trip to the city.

Notre Dame won’t open again for several years, following the fire of April 15, 2019, still seared in our memories, but its forecourt, which has since been closed off because of lead contamination (now cleaned up), opened to the public last Sunday, making it possible to take a closer look at the august cathedral, damaged but thankfully not destroyed.

"Composition" (1940-43), by Otto Freundlich. Unfinished composition. Donation Freundlich, Musée de Pontoise
“Composition” (1940-43), by Otto Freundlich. Unfinished composition. Donation Freundlich, Musée de Pontoise

And more and more museums are opening. The Musée de Montmartre opened on Saturday, May 30, and will continue its interesting exhibition featuring an artist who deserves to be better known, “Otto Freundlich: The Revelation of Abstraction” through January 31, 2021.

Christo: "The Arc de Triumph (Project for Paris, Place de l’Etoile – Charles de Gaulle) Wrapped." Photo: André Grossmann © 2018 Christo
Christo: “The Arc de Triumph (Project for Paris, Place de l’Etoile – Charles de Gaulle) Wrapped.” Photo: André Grossmann © 2018 Christo

The sad news that the wrapper extraordinaire Christo (Christo Vladimirov Javacheff) died this week does not spell the end of his plan to wrap the Arc de Triomphe, which will go ahead from September 18 to October 3, 2020. The artist’s fans will find further consolation in the exhibition “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Paris!” which will open on July 1 at the Centre Pompidou and continue through October 19, 2020. It will cover the years he and his collaborator (and wife) Jeanne-Claude lived in Paris (1958-64), the history of the project “The Pont-Neuf Wrapped, Paris, 1975-1985” and a preview of “L’Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped (Project for Paris, Place de l’Étoile – Charles De Gaulle).”

"Détour du Lendemain" (2019), by Massinissa Selmani. © Courtesy the artist and Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou
“Détour du Lendemain” (2019), by Massinissa Selmani. © Courtesy the artist and Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou

In other art news, one of my favorite Paris art fairs, Drawing Now, which features contemporary works on paper, was canceled this year because of Covid-19, but many of the works can now be seen online in Les Cahiers (Notebooks) and purchased by contacting the gallery concerned.

In case you missed previous weeks’ “Francophiles’ Guide to Quarantine” (French brain teasers, free films, audiobooks, art, music, comedy, SOS Help hotline, and more) read them here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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