Letter from Paris: June 5, 2024 News Digest

Letter from Paris: June 5, 2024 News Digest

Despite the lousy weather (seemingly endless rain over the last few weeks), Paris has welcomed June with all kinds of festivities and cultural events. Nuit Blanche, the all-night art extravaganza, took place last Saturday night, and the French Open is drawing tennis fans to the Stade Roland Garros. Not to mention May’s Taylor Swift concerts, which brought Swifties from the United States as the pop star kicked off the European leg of the Eras Tour with a four-night run. In fact, USA Today claimed that Swift could attract more American luxury travelers to Paris for the Eras Tour than the Olympics. Many concert goers found that it was cheaper to enjoy a French vacation — complete with flights and hotels — than to splurge on concert tickets alone in the United States.


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Did you hear about the giant picnic on the Champs-Élysées? Thousands of people attended le grand pique-nique, an event organized by a committee of local businesses — as described by The Guardian — in order “to reverse [the] decline in local people visiting the boulevard, which has become a hub for wealthy tourists and designer stores.” Though the avenue used to be popular amongst Parisians, it’s now mostly avoided by locals who often bemoan its personality-less chain stores and high prices. A whopping 273,000 people applied for the free picnic, of which 4,400 were selected to indulge in gourmet goodies supplied by eight partner restaurants while seated on a red and white checked blanket that stretched 216 meters.

Treasured artistic masterpieces continue to be the target of climate activists seeking to draw attention to the the environmental crisis. The latest targeted work is the Musée d’Orsay’s Coquelicots (Poppies), painted by Impressionist Claude Monet in 1873. A member of Riposte Alimentaire (Food Response) placed a red poster over the painting, which was not protected by glass. Described by The Guardian as “a group of environmental activists and defenders of sustainable food production,” Riposte Alimentary has claimed responsibility for several such “attacks on art.”

Preparations for the Summer Olympics continue at breakneck speed. The Paris Games will see the debut of breakdancing as an Olympic sport — an effort to appeal to younger audiences. The events will take place at the Place de la Concorde. NBC News recently shone the spotlight on the U.S. team: “To longtime break dancers, the sport is so much more than flips and tricks, and it’s that culture that aspiring U.S. Olympians are eager to take to Paris this summer.” And Fast Company reports on Nike’s seven-year design process to create the Nike Jam, the first ever shoe made for breaking, as the sport is called: “And Nike — which is banking on the Olympics to remind the world that it’s an innovator, despite its recent troubles — is outfitting America’s inaugural team with a new shoe called the Nike Jam that defies the way it typically designs for a sport. Even though its silhouette is a loose riff on the legendary Nike Spiridon, the Jam is decidedly not a running shoe.”

In case you missed it, bakers in a Parisian suburb set a new record in May for the world’s longest baguette. They baked the 140-meter long baguette in a specially built oven on wheels. Some of the bread was sliced and shared with the public; some of it was donated to the homeless. These victorious French boulangers took back the record from Italy. The previous record holders baked a 132-m baguette in 2019.

Paris Match magazine is getting a new owner. French media and business group Lagardère is poised to sell the decades-old magazine to luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, reports Reuters, for a price tag of 120 million euros ($130 million). LVMH, a premium partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic & Paralympic Games, already owns Les Echos (a financial newspaper) and Le Parisien (a daily).

Lead photo credit : Taylor Swift Eras Tour

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