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What’s on in Paris this August

28 July 2016

Enjoy Live Music, Explore the World of James Bond & Discover France’s History During a Summer Stay at Hotel Balzac

Paris not only boasts some of the world’s most iconic and admired monuments, museums and galleries, but also offers an outstanding line-up of events to attend throughout the year. This August, the city’s streets and gardens will fill with live music and dance performances during Quartier d’été, while the Grande Halle de la Villette will offer the chance to explore the gripping world of fictional spy 007. There’ll also be the chance to learn more about French history when the walls of Les Invalides are lit up with an informative multimedia show. Whether you’re a music, history or popular culture fan, there’ll be the perfect event to attend this August during a five-star stay at Hotel Balzac.

Quartier d’été


Until 7th August 2016

The 27th edition of Paris’ Summer Neighbourhood festival offers the chance to attend a variety of theatre, music, dance and circus performances in unusual venues across the city. To date, the annual event has hosted 2,500 shows, with hundreds of international artists performing in the likes of swimming pools, gardens, in churches and on trucks. Its aim is ‘to see and see again differently’, which organisers deliver via a culturally diverse line-up of new and popular acts in a variety of locations, with many performances free to watch.

The festival started on the 14th of July, and the final seven days will provide a whirlwind of avante-garde entertainment. There’ll be improvised choreography from dancers Johanne Saunier and Ine Claes in a theatre, park and square to music by the likes of composer Steve Reich and jazz musician Miles Davis. Classically trained flutist Naïssam Jalal will be joined by the Rhythms of Resistance group to perform a combination of world and jazz music, while attendees at the Irish Cultural Centre can expect to see awe-inspiring acrobatics from the ‘A Wolf to Man’ company between the 2nd and 6th of August.

Catalan dance company, Mal Pelo, will be joined by guitarist and singer Niño de Elche to deliver passionate flamenco performances in the City of Paris’ History Library between the 4th and 6th. While festivities will end with a dance performance from Forsythe Company members Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts at the Eglise Saint-Eustache in the 1st arrondissement. Those seeking refreshments between performances can head to the festival’s very own terrace bar in Place Guignier in the 20th arrondissement; where artists, spectators and organisers can discuss shows while sampling handpicked French wines. With such a wide range of events on offer, this festival will provide a truly unique way to experience the city's culture this August.

James Bond Exhibition

Grande Halle de la Villette

Until 4th September 2016

Fans of James Bond, widely regarded as the world’s most famous fictional spy, can enjoy exploring 007’s fascinating history in Paris this summer. Over 500 objects from Eon Production’s archive and private collections are currently on display in the Grande Halle de la Villette, just a 25 minute drive from Hotel Balzac. From Dr. No to Spectre, the exhibition offers the chance to explore over 50 years of Bond’s world, from his awe-inspiring gadgets, stylish outfits and classic cars, to set design sketches, props and photos taken during filming.

The collections on show will take visitors through each finer detail of Bond’s history, from explosive toothpaste, Scaramanga’s golden gun and Jaw’s glistening steel teeth… to an entire replica of M’s office. Costumes on display vary between Roger Moore’s white tuxedo from Octopussy and Daniel Craig’s Day of the Dead outfit from the opening sequence of Spectre, to Ursula Andress’ iconic white bikini from Dr. No, the spacesuit from Moonraker and the outfit worn by Spectre’s villain Oberhauser in his Moroccan base. Marvel at Pierce Brosnan’s motorcycle from Tomorrow Never Dies and the streamline, silver Aston Martin DB5 as seen in Goldfinger, Thunderball and GoldenEye.

Take the chance to peruse the original manuscript for Dr. No and first editions of Ian Fleming’s novels, or admire scale models of the Lotus Esprit submarine from The Spy Who Loved Me and set design sketches by Sir Kenneth Adam. Meanwhile, those in need of refreshments can head to the lobby to sample snacks and cocktails including a vodka martini – shaken, not stirred. The exhibition was originally created by London’s Barbican and Eon Productions in 2012 and has since toured the world, however this is the first time it’s been shown in France and that it’s included a Spectre section. This 1,500m2 display will be truly unmissable for both Bond and film fans in general this August.

La Nuit Aux Invalides

L’Hôtel des Invalides

Until 27th August

La Nuit Aux Invalides offers the unique opportunity to learn about 2,000 years of French history while enjoying an awe-inspiring sound and light show. Returning for its fourth year, the multimedia event is available to watch between Monday and Saturday each week until the 27th of August. Projections fill the 250 metre façade of the grand Cour d’Honneur courtyard at L’Hôtel des Invalides with informative imagery, while narrations are available in English every Monday and Thursday. Starting at 10.30pm, these family-friendly displays last 50 minutes and will deliver the perfect evening out for history fans visiting Paris.

Artistic Director, Bruno Seillier, has said that he wanted ‘…to use the power of technology to bring the monument alive…’ and explores the history of Paris, including the background of Les Invalides using 15 projectors. The show delves into subjects including the First World War and the Belle Époque before it. The ‘Beautiful Age’ was the period between 1871 and 1914 that saw prosperity, stability and the arts and science flourish. There’ll also be the opportunity to travel back in time to the cannonade that saluted the death of Louis XIV, who had commissioned Les Invalides to be built in 1670.

The Parisian landmark itself is definitely worth a visit by day, as well as for the show after nightfall. Built to house aged and injured soldiers, it was home to 4,000 by the end of the 17th century. The Institution Nationale des Invalides continues to house and care for both veterans and victims of war in a range of centres, however there are also areas open to the public. The Musée de l’Armée Invalides, which opened in 1905, offers the chance to learn more about France’s military history with 500,000 objects such as armoury and weaponry.

The museum also includes the impressive gilded Dôme des Invalides, which contains Napoleon Bonaparte’s red quartzite tomb, alongside the site of the show, Cour d’honneur, which displays 60 French classical bronze cannons, eight mortars and two howitzers. Offering the unique opportunity to learn more about France’s fascinating history by day and by night, Les Invalides is an ideal destination for history fans, located a 10 minute drive from Hotel Balzac.

From live music performances to popular culture exhibitions, and a spectacular show at one of Paris’ leading landmarks, the City of Light will offer an exciting event to suit all tastes this August.


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