Letter from Paris: January 24, 2024 News Digest

Letter from Paris: January 24, 2024 News Digest

Fashion Week means celebrity sightings galore in Paris: Rihanna fangirling over Natalie Portman, Jennifer Lopez in a dazzling white coat at the Schiaparelli show, Zendaya showing off new bangs (and an all-black ensemble), and Pharrell Williams unveiling an American West-inspired spring menswear collection for Louis Vuitton. To quote Reuters: “Native American drumming signaled the start of the show, with models strutting in silver tipped cowboy boots and denim chaps, wide-brimmed cowboy hats, and silky western shirts with pointy collars. Turquoise studs decorated suits and Louis Vuitton logos glittered on sequined jackets.” This is the designer’s third show as creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear.



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January also means Design Week. Two major events, Maison & Objet and Paris Déco Off, are complemented by design-centric happenings all over the city. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Maison & Objet convened more than 600 exhibitors. As reported by Euronews, “the theme for this year’s event is ‘Tech Eden,’ inspiring exhibitors to present innovative and sustainable designs that incorporate nature in unconventional ways.” An example? The cool Club Chair by Bobaril, “a La Rochelle-based design company renowned for its innovative repurposing of metal barrels into distinctive and meaningful pieces.”

The Eiffel Tower recently released its visitor numbers for 2023, and the trend is up. A total of 6.318 million visitors have been welcomed in 2023, an increase of 8% compared to 2022. The French are the No. 1 nationality (18.9%), followed closely by visitors from North America (18%), particularly from the United States (13.2%). This year the renowned monument paid homage to Gustave Eiffel with a number of commemorative tributes and events on the 100th anniversary of this death.

The City of Paris launched a participatory campaign to identify missing or damaged street signs, with the chance to win your very own personalized street sign. The goal? To help visitors and locals better navigate the city’s public spaces, particularly with the countdown to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. How it works: Download the DansMaRue application and as you stroll through the city, report street signs that are missing or broken. Be the one who makes the most reports via DansMaRue for your chance to win. This campaign is open to everyone until February 4.

Paris street sign. Photo credit: Alain Rouiller/ Flickr

Robert Doisneau’s “The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville” is one of the most iconic photographs of Paris. Earlier this month, Françoise Bornet— the young lover caught in the moment in 1950— passed away at the age of 93. As reported by The Guardian, “It was one of the most famous kisses of the 20th century – a postwar clinch that became a 1980s poster phenomenon, bringing fame and court battles.” Published in Life magazine, the photo was deliberately staged by Doisneau— something he openly admitted.

“Bornet, who at the time went by her maiden name, Delbart, was a 20-year-old drama student when she and her fellow acting student boyfriend, Jacques Carteaud, were spotted in a cafe by Doisneau. He had been commissioned by the American magazine Life to produce a series of photos illustrating love in Paris. Bornet later told French TV: “He said, ‘I’m Robert Doisneau, I find you both charming and wondered if you would accept to kiss again in front of my camera.’” They took several photos with him in different Paris locations.”



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In political news, farmers have been protesting fuel hikes, EU norms, and green regulation by setting up roadblocks across the country. President Emmanuel Macron, in a news conference earlier this month at the Élysée Palace, laid out a vision for a “common sense” France without “useless norms.” His idea? All about audacity and action, focusing on education, economic deregulation, and unification for “France to stay France.” And as noted by The New York Times, he also vowed “to fight to the last to prevent the far-right leader Marine Le Pen from succeeding him.”

Lead photo credit : Champ de Mars © Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

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