Letter from Paris: October 25, 2023 News Digest

Letter from Paris: October 25, 2023 News Digest

The horrifying events in the Middle East have gripped the entire world. France is in a heightened state of alert after an October 13 terror attack: the murder of a school teacher by an Islamist former pupil in the northern town of Arras. As reported by France 24, the funeral “in Arras cathedral for 57-year-old Dominique Bernard was broadcast on a large screen in the city’s Heroes’ Square, where hundreds watched in the rain. Bernard, married to another teacher and father of three adult children, was posthumously awarded the Legion of Honor by Macron. The award is France‘s highest civilian decoration.” 

Relatedly, a series of false bomb threats closed some schools, tourist sites, and regional airports last week— the government cracked down on the pranksters behind these false alerts, and made a few arrests.

In art news, Paris+ par Art Basel took place at the Grand Palais Éphémère from October 19 to 22, 2023. A total of 154 galleries from 33 countries participated in the second edition of the modern and contemporary art fair that replaced FIAC. In conjunction with this much anticipated event, a number of spectacular art pieces were unveiled in the streets of Paris. Case in point: the incredible work called “Wave” by Urs Fisher, presented by Gagosian in the Place Vendôme until November 30. See featured photo above. And for a glimpse at the prestigious art fair, check out the drone video below.

France has opened its first museum dedicated to mathematics. Situated in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Maison Poincaré is a research-based site managed by the Sorbonne University. Its goal is to welcome 30,000 visitors a year. As reported by RFI, “Higher Education Minister Sylvie Retailleau, Fields Medal winner Cedric Villani and Institut Henri Poincaré director Sylvie Benzoni were on hand to inaugurate the Maison Poincaré, a project 12 years in the making. “It’s a place where you can feel and see mathematics in its various incarnations,” Villani, the driving force behind the project, told RFI. Maths has a very human side that includes imagination and poetry, he added. ”This will also be a place where you can meet mathematicians.”

France’s first maths museum, the Maison Poincaré, hopes to draw in 30,000 visitors a year. © Sorbonne Université, Pierre Kitmacher

A new London-Paris train called Evolyn will be launched in 2025, creating competition for Eurostar. As reported by Reuters, “[Evolyn] agreed to purchase 12 trains from Alstom for its planned high-speed rail service under the English Channel, which aims to challenge Eurostar’s monopoly on the connection. The purchase of 12 trains from France’s Alstom could be expanded to 16 trains, Evolyn said in a statement. “It would be the first time, after 30 years of Eurostar’s monopoly, that a competitor has entered the market,” an Evolyn spokesperson told Reuters.”

Eurostar train

A duo of fascinating sports-inspired fashion exhibits have opened in Paris, including Fashion and Sports: From One Podium to Another” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (MAD) and “Fashion and Movement,” at the Palais Galliera. As reported by the New York Times, “With Paris gearing up to host the 2024 Olympics — and with 150 million euros worth of sponsorship by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — it is little wonder that some of the museums in the French capital are exploring the growing intersection of fashion and sports.” At the MAD show, “the primary focus is on the way that sporty garments became a mainstay of wardrobes in the 20th century and what that reflects about changing lifestyles and people’s aspirations for healthy, luxurious living.”

Speaking of the Summer Olympics — calling  all “Emily in Paris” fans!— Paris will restrict film and TV shoots in order to accommodate the Games. Even though the Olympic and Paralympic Games will run from July 26 to Sept. 8, the restrictions will stretch over nearly a year. As reported by Variety, “Action and period movies will be barred from sites dedicated to the games in Paris, mainly the Concorde and Trocadero areas, starting on March 16 until Nov. 1, and all types of shoots will be barred in the areas dedicated to the sporting events from June 16 to Sept. 15. The City of Paris will grant permits on a case-by-case basis for small-sized, standard films outside of these reserved areas.” Filming in Paris is incredibly popular, but it’s also incredibly complicated logistically. Find out more in Dimitri Keramitas’ article for Bonjour Paris.


still from “Emily in Paris”

Lead photo credit : URS FISCHER Wave, 2018 Milled aluminum, steel 204 3/4 x 299 1/4 x 177 1/8 inches (520.1 x 760.1 x 449.9 cm). © Urs Fischer Photo: Stefan Altenburger Courtesy the artist and Gagosian

More in letter from paris, Paris news digest, Paris+ par Art Basel

Previous Article Maison Picassiette: A Mosaic Marvel in Chartres
Next Article The Alcohol-Free Movement in Paris

BP's expert editorial team includes some of the city's top English-language journalists.