Maxime Le Forestier

When I lived in Paris as a student, Maxime le Forestier was one of two singers that kept me company. Veronique Sanson was the other one. Both were, and still are, French icons.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that Maxime was going to be performing at the Olympia Theater on May 13th. (www.olympiahall.com). I had been to the Olympia once before to see Norah Jones in 2012 (described in a previous blog post).

IMG_2185Maxime Le Forestier was born in February of 1949 so he was thirty when I was listening to his records as a student. I can tell you that at sixty-five, he is still going strong. The Olympia was sold out and it was obvious that he is still much loved. We were told that the performance was being filmed, so I’m hopeful that at some point this year there will be a CD available. He played all of his old favorites, including several from his first album, “San Francisco”, “Comme un Arbre” and Education Sentimentale.” IMG_2196IMG_2190This is a view of the room. It’s a little hard to see, but hopefully you can see that it’s a relatively small venue– about 1800 seats. Built in 1889, it served as a music hall for much of its history, though there were several times when it became a move theater during years of decline. In 1993, there was talk of tearing it down, so the then Minister of Culture stepped in and had it renovated, including bringing back its signature red interior. It has been home to many French stars, including Edith Piaf, Gilbert Becaud, Charles Trenet and Jacques Brel.

International stars have included the Grateful Dead, Madonna, Celine Dion, Diana Ross & the Supremes, among many others.

I am happy to say I will be returning again in February next year to hear my other favorite, Veronique Sanson. Like Maxime, she was born in 1949. A fun fact that I just read about her is that she was married to Stephen Stills in 1973 and spent time in the U.S., producing several albums while here. She and Stephen Stills had a son, Chris Stills, who is also a musician.

She has performed at the Olympia many times, and this time is scheduled for four nights, so they are obviously assuming that her popularity is still going strong! I can’t wait!

 

Paris 1900, La Ville Spectacle

1900 was an amazing year in Paris and the exhibit at the Petit Palais right now (through August 17th), called “Paris 1900- La Ville Spectacle” gives you a great feel for all that was happening then. The Universal Exposition opened in April of 1900 and it was the biggest event of its kind ever, covering over 277 acres. Both the Petit Palais, which houses the exhibit, and the Grand Palais, across the street, were built for this Universal Exposition. One of the first lines of the metro was also being built, as well as The Alexander III bridge and two mainline rail stations, the Gare des Invalides and the Gare D’Orsay. The exposition attracted 50 million visitors– imagine that in 1900!

Another thing that was introduced at this time was electricity. Imagine what a difference that would have made in a city like Paris, that has always been filled with people wanting to dine and socialize into the evening. Suddenly, moving around at night was much easier and safer.

The exhibit is made up of various paintings, posters, sculpture, and clothing, all giving us a wonderful glimpse of the people and the places of the time.  There were many paintings by artists that I didn’t know at all so I now have names to watch for in future exhibits.

There is an app that you can download for free that gives you snippets of information on various items in the exhibit through iTunes (and I think there is an Android version as well) and, of course, you can find out more at www.petitpalais.paris.fr as well.

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