The Paris streets are eerily empty. The cafés and restaurants are locked down, with stacked chairs and tables visible through the windows. We in The City of Light are now living the meaning of words like confinement, self-isolation, and sheltering in place—the stay-at-home order that is being heard around the world to mitigate the coronavirus spread.
We still have access to boulangeries for the daily baguette and the right to visit a neighborhood grocery store for staples (although the iconic Paris open markets were recently closed due to the difficulty of regulating social distance). We can go out once a day for “essential” activities, as listed by the government. And we are all finding ways to make quarantine time pass in a rewarding way.
The theaters, museums, and concert halls are closed, but the artistic organizations and artists are rising to the challenge. Paris has always been one of the great culture centers of the world. Whether you live in Paris or are waiting patiently for your next visit, you don’t have to miss your dose of Paris culture.
In the wonderful world of the internet and social media, the arts are now coming chez vous. (We can only hope that self-isolation does not break the internet, since our screen time is increasing exponentially.)
Here are some of the arts brought to you in the comfort and safety of your home.
The Paris Opera is offering performances of operas and concerts online. Each has a limited streaming window. Mozart’s Don Giovanni is featured now (through March 29). Coming attractions: Swan Lake, The Barber of Seville, A Tribute to Jerome Robbins, Tales of Hoffman, and Carmen. Also offered is a cycle of Tchaikovsky symphonies by the Orchestra of the Opera of Paris, conducted by Philippe Jordan. Find the schedule here.
The Paris Opera is also offering a glimpse into 3e Scène, its digital stage founded in 2015 to showcase the original works of new artists. Take a look.
Theatre de Chaillot
The Theatre de Chaillot is offering free dance films (through Nurmeridanse) from choreographers who work has been featured in Paris, such as Trisha Brown and Ohad Naharin.
Fondation Louis Vuitton
Each week, there are three “rendez-vous” via the website. On Wednesdays at 6 pm, you can virtually visit an exhibition, with commentary. On Fridays at 6 pm, you’ll hear a concert. On Sundays at 5:30 pm, a student concert is offered. Here are the details.
Philharmonie/Cité de la Musique
The Philharmonie offers a concert of the day and music selections from its archives.
Theatre des Champs Elysées
The Theatre des Champs Elysées offers limited-time videos of past performances through Arte and CultureBox. The current offerings are Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites.
As always, there are virtual visits to some galleries in the Louvre.
For children (and children at heart), the Musée d’Orsay offers imaginary walks through the world of art.
The Grand Palais just launched its new exposition “Pompeii”… virtually. (The videos and audioguide are in French.)
Bibliothèque Nationale (BnF)
The BnF offers a selection of virtual tours.
Theatre de Châtelet
The Theatre de Châtelet offers a way to stay in touch with culture—with artist interviews, performances for streaming, and tutorials.
Culture Chez Nous
Here’s the French Culture Ministry site for culture at home:
Around the World
The world’s culture is also close at hand. Here are a few sites for exploration.
Google’s Arts and Culture collection offers endless opportunity.
Alone Together: Other Ideas
Lest we get too focused on screen time, we know the possibilities are infinite— books, writing, cooking experiments, music, and personal creative projects (not to mention endless handwashing) to pass the time. There are closets to organize, shelves to clean, and things that need a Marie Kondo assessment of whether they “spark joy” or should be tossed during this forced “spring cleaning” time.
Here are a random few other ideas to pass the time:
The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra plays Beethoven observing social distancing.
Films available via OpenCulture.
We’ll always have Netflix and YouTube, but I know our readers will have many other great suggestions for using time creatively. Please leave your ideas in the comments section.
Stay safe and keep the faith.