Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Part I: 10 Ways To Hear Great Music On a Budget in Paris

By Jacquelin Carnegie
(Artist: Felipe Ferrer Ceroni)

In Paris, no matter what your taste in music--jazz, rock, world or classical--you can find a place to hear it on a budget. In certain cafes and bars, there’s often no cover and just a one- or two-drink minimum. Then, there are other affordable alternatives that include a meet-&-greet reception with the musicians. Check out these delightful options:
MEET THE MUSICIANS
Classical Cool

Sinfonietta Paris - Music by the Glass 
sinfoniettaparis.org (Concerts: €25)
Sinfonietta presents talented young musicians performing lesser-known works by famous, classical composers. The Music by the Glass concerts are in lovely, intimate settings followed by a wine-and-hors-d'oeuvre reception where you can chat with fellow music-lovers and meet the musicians; an absolutely delightful way to spend an evening in Paris.
Much More Than Tango
Espace Tango Negro

71 rue Rochechouart; 9th arrondissement, Metro: Anvers, Barbés, Cadet; Reservations required: Tel: 01/73 75 05 42;
hugodiazcardenas@me.com
(Concerts: €12)
Started by the late-great, Argentine musician Juan Carlos CaceresTango Negro invites Argentine musicians living in Paris--and those passing through on tour--to give lively, intimate concerts in this private, ground-floor loft. The music is fantastic, though usually not tango. Afterwards, hang out with the musicians over wine & cheese. (Currently, they're on hiatus & don't do social media, so send an email re: upcoming concerts.)
Give Beats a Chance
Fresh Dixie


Sofar Sounds www.sofarsounds.com/paris (Concerts: around €5) This is a way-cool concept: Talented young musicians perform in unique, intimate settings such as a beautiful private home or hip art gallery. On the bill for each concert are three acts, selected by a panel of music experts. Sofar (Songs From A Room) concerts take place all over the world; the Paris ones are run by dynamic Brit expat DJ Alexander Morley. This is a great way to discover terrific new musicians such as Wednesday, Harley Young, or Fresh Dixie.

DISCOVER NEW VENUES
Jazz & More
Tiphenn Fauchois

Bab-Ilo
9 Rue du Baigneur; Tel: +33 1 42 23 99 19; babilo.lautre.net
18th arrondissement, Metro: Jules Joffrin (Cost: From "pass the hat" to €10-20, depending on the show)

This funky, little downstairs club features an eclectic mix of African, Caribbean and Brazilian jazz groups. If you're lucky, you'll hear the fantastic Tiphenn Fauchois singing world-music infused jazz accompanied by terrific musicians such as Georges-Ed Nouel on piano, Tommie Lee Mckenzie on bass, Didier Haboyan on saxophone, and Armando Assouline on percussion. 

Bab-Ilo's Sunday Night Jam (7:30pm-10pm): For just 5 euros, hear great Brazilian bossa, samba & jazz and the lovely voice of Isabelle Ferraz de Oliveria.

Floating Entertainment

Peniche Anako
Bassin de la Villette, in front of 61 Quai de la Seine; penicheanako.org; 19th arrondissement, Metro: Riquet, Stalingrad, Jaurès 
(Cost: Free to €5-10, depending on the show)
A truly unique and wonderful place to hear music in Paris is on a barge (peniche). There are several to choose from, but the Peniche Anako presents a fantastic lineup of international musicians in this delightful setting several nights a week. (Be sure to arrive early to ensure a good seat.) Drinks served on the deck, music down below!


Bars With Benefits
Naomi Greene
 
Le Truskel
12 Rue Feydeau, www.truskel.com
2nd arrondissement, Metro: Grands Blvds or Bourse; Live music, 8:30pm; DJ, 10pm (Cost: Free, buy drinks)

This is a dive bar in a nice neighborhood, with good live music, followed by a DJ, and lots of beer. If you're looking to hang with twentysomethings, this is your spot and you might get to hear the lovely Naomi Greene.


O'Mok@Bar
43 rue de la Chapelle, https://bit.ly/2KxSk3U  
18th arrondissement, Metro: Marx Domy (Cost: "Pass the hat" & buy a drink)

Take a walk on the wild side! Music every weekend and jam sessions during the week. On Wednesdays (7-11:30pm): D'Jam Orchestra - Rock & African rhythms with Ameth Sissokho and his Sora Yaa band, along with Tiphenn Fauchois' world-music infused jazz, plus Anna Morse. On Thursdays (8:30-11:30pm): JAM Caribeenne & Open Mic - jazz, rock, & blues.

MORE FREE CONCERTS
There are many ways to hear great music on a budget all year long:
Kiosques en Musique - Music Kiosk Concerts (May-Sept)
In Parisian parks and gardens, kiosks, dating from 1890 to 1920, have recently been restored and upgraded. Enjoy free concerts featuring all kinds of music from classical to electronic.
Fête de la Musique (June 21)

Each year, the summer solstice--the longest day of the year--is celebrated worldwide with music. It started in France; in Paris, it's a daylong musical fest. Hear musicians for free in the streets and parks, and at low-cost in bars and concert halls.
Parc Floral de Paris - Bois de Vincennes
Esplanade du Château de Vincennes, route de la Pyramide, 12th arrondissement - During the summer and fall, several music festivals take place in this park:
Paris Jazz Festival  (June-July) - Features concerts by major, international jazz musicians (Entrance fee: around €5)
Festival Classique au Vert  (Aug-Sept) - Free classical music concerts every weekend at 4pm. Pestacles (June-Sept) - On Wednesdays, family-friendly entertainment and concerts.
For a list of free (gratuit) concerts year-round, try these two sites (in French): Lylo & Paris Concert Gratuit.

Where To Stay: To get the most out of Paris, stay in a variety of places all around town http://bit.ly/17XRTrg

Getting There: Norwegian Air (norwegian.com) - Norwegian is a low-cost carrier that has several routes to Paris from New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), & Ft. Lauderdale, FL (FLL). Coach is quite comfy but, with these great fares, go for extra legroom in Premium. It's also worth getting the package (about $45) for: an assigned Seat, Luggage & a Meal--which can be pre-ordered online. And, since new routes are added all the time (to the Caribbean and other US & European destinations), you'll have lots of ways to use your Reward CashPoints.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

8+ Ways To Get the Most Out of Paris: Hotel Hop, Apartment Swap, Meet the French & More

By Jacquelin Carnegie - (Paris, France) 

Les Parisiens by Kanako  
(Mairie de Paris, My Little Paris & Editions du Chêne)
Paris is all about neighborhoods. Instead of spending your whole stay in the same hotel, discover Paris' many wonderful neighborhoods by moving around! You can accomplish this in several different ways: Do a mix-and-match of hotel stays, apartment rentals, and bed & breakfasts. Yes, packing and unpacking is a drag, but this is such a great way to really get to know the city, just pack light.
Paris has 20 districts (arrondissements), each with a distinct personality. Do some research beforehand, and explore the cafes, shops, and sights unique to each neighborhood. [To figure out an arrondissement, just look at the last 2 digits of the address's zip code: i.e., 75008 = 8th arrondissement.]

HOTEL HOP: Try Different Neighborhoods
Several major chains have hotels in different neighborhoods. Spend two or three nights in a variety of locations. While you're assured of a similar level of service, each hotel has its own style to match the arrondissement.

Hotel Chains


Renaissance Paris le Parc Trocadero, 16th
Marriott has several Paris hotels, including the Renaissance & Courtyard brands.

Novotel has about 10 Paris hotels which can be selected by arrondissement. 
The Leading Hotels of The World has a group of luxury Paris hotels for a splurge.
Boutique Hotels:
These are lovely, smaller hotels with lots of character. There are so many to choose from, it's hard to know where to begin. Perhaps pick an area you'd like to explore, then see what's nearby. For example:
Hôtel Observatoire Luxembourg (107, Blvd St Michel, 75005 Paris; 
Tel: +33 (0)1-46-34-10-12; www.observatoirehotel.com) - This little gem is right across from the famous Luxembourg Gardens.
Design Hotels recommends a group of Paris boutique hotels with oodles of style.

Chez Grace (photo: Owen Franken)
FEEL AT HOME:
Bed & Breakfasts
Usually, a Bed & Breakfast (Chambres d'hôtes) means a room--a very nice room--in someone's Paris apartment. Not only does this give you the chance to experience a slice of life in the City of Light, it also gives you the opportunity to meet real Parisians. You can find Chambres d’hôtes in every arrondissement with your criteria (i.e., no smoking, free Wi-Fi, etc.) and, since they're booked by the night, combine a few in different neighborhoods:
Meeting the French (Tel: +33 (0)1-42-51-19-80; en.meetingthefrench.com)
No friends in Paris? Meet some. This B&B company lists wonderful accommodations and also arranges dinners where you can meet the locals as well as offering tours and French cooking classes.
Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) When renting a room you can sometimes luck out with an interesting 
host, willing to show you around the neighborhood or suggest great, local hangouts. 
PRETEND YOU LIVE THERE: Rent an Apartment 
The most important aspect when renting an apartment abroad is a feeling of trust. When arriving in a strange city, where you may not speak the language, the last thing you want is for things to go wrong. While listings on Craigslist may be the most affordable, they're not necessarily the most reliable. So, in addition to checking out photos of apartments online:
- Make sure someone with responsibility will meet you with the key (door locks can be tricky & you'll need a code to get into most Paris buildings).
- Be sure to have a contact phone number (not just an email) for someone who can help if anything needs to be fixed during your stay.
- As soon as you walk in, make sure everything works (stove, shower, etc.) and that you know how to turn appliances on/off.
- Find out the refund policy beforehand should the apartment not be as advertised. 
Paris Through Expatriate Eyes (Tel: +33-(0)6-7098-1368; www.paris-expat.com) Run by transplanted-American Terrance Gelenter, this company rents apartments in several different neighborhoods. Terrance, who's a real character and loads of fun, also organizes private tours and interesting events. 

(photo: Amélie Dupont © Paris Tourist Office)
Your Holiday Home Abroad (US Tel: 609-924-7520)
If you're looking for someplace classy, John Cuadrado & Gloria Moskowitz rent upscale apartments. They don't have a website because it's all done by referral.  

Place Dauphine (photo: Myrabella)
VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) - I've heard only good things from people who've used this service.
OTHER OPTIONS:

House Sit or Swap
Instead of renting, you can swap apartments or house sit (this usually involves pet sitting). 
There are so many online sites to choose from, try to get recommendations from people you know who've done it and had positive experiences. Here are some sites:
House Sit (most require a fee to join): Housecarers.com; www.mindmyhouse.com; www.luxuryhousesitting.com; www.caretaker.org
Swap: www.ihen.com; Knok.com
Couchsurfing & Servas: Members of both organizations will put you up for free. While Couchsurfing is a newer, online service--all the rage with the twentysomething set, Servas has been around since 1949 and has a philosophy behind it: Gandhi’s concept of promoting world peace through intercultural exchange.
A Good Source: The Paris tourism office, Paris Info, always has the latest on new hotels, B&B, apartment rentals, etc. Check their comprehensive list, constantly updated with new options: http://bit.ly/16nNaOZ
Getting There: Norwegian Air (norwegian.com) - Norwegian is a low-cost carrier that has great fares on several routes to Paris from New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), & Ft. Lauderdale, FL (FLL). At these low rates, try their Premium class.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

10+ Artsy & Cool Reasons To Visit Cleveland, Ohio

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Terminal Tower (photo: Lisa Chamberlain)

Often thought of as an old, industrial city, Cleveland is getting its' groove on. Cool new hotels have opened, the restaurant scene is booming, dormant neighborhoods have come back to life, and a bunch of airlines are adding new, affordable routes to town. The city is right on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River.
All this makes for an incredibly, enjoyable stay. Plus, the locals are some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet!

ENTERTAINMENT - FROM ROCK TO BACH & BEYOND
Hear everything from great rock and jazz in music clubs around town to the world-renowned symphony orchestra; in addition, there's marvelous theater.
(photo: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) 


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1100 East 9th St.; www.rockhall.com) - Why is this museum here? Cleveland's famed radio disc jockey, Alan Freed, is credited with inventing the term, "Rock and Roll." Music fans prepare to have your mind blown by the extraordinary collection of rock music memorabilia. There are also concerts and special events. Plan to spend several hours here, if not the whole day (there's a cafe, so you can stop and recharge)!
Nighttown Jazz Club (12387 Cedar Rd; www.nighttowncleveland.com) - Between the delicious food and the top-notch musicians, Nighttown is a not-to-be-missed entertainment experience. Hear greats such as the Count Basie Orchestra, John Legend, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder or fab local musicians on the rise.
(photo: Nighttown)

Cleveland Orchestra (www.clevelandorchestra.com) - Delight in their classical repertoire, plus collaborations with pop and jazz singers, and other creative programming.
Playhouse Square (www.playhousesquare.org) - Enjoy some great entertainment in the second-largest theater district in the country (10 stages within beautifully-renovated historic buildings). See touring Broadway shows, concerts, comedy, opera, dance, and children’s fare.

THE ARTS - MUSEUMS GALORE & MORE
Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood is a treasure trove of more than 20 cultural venues including: the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Severance Hall (where the Cleveland Orchestra plays).
All are worth a visit, but be sure to go to the Cleveland Museum of Art (www.clevelandart.org) - a lovely art collection in a stunning building. Have lunch is the atrium cafe. Admission is free!
(photo: Cleveland Museum of Art)

78th Street Studios (1300 W. 78th St.; 78thStreetstudios.com) - Located in a sprawling, funky, former warehouse in the Gordon Square Arts District, 78th Street Studios has a cool collection of galleries and artists' studios. On THIRD FRIDAYS, there's a lively Open House. Check out: HEDGE Gallery, Sandy Miller Pottery, Tregoning & Co. And, local artist Gloria Plevin.
FRONT (FRONTArt.org) - In 2018, art impresario Fred Bidwell will put Cleveland--and the state of Ohio--on the "art map" with the launch of FRONT International, an exciting, contemporary art triennial.


Gloria Plevin, Inky Contemplating Green Asparagus  
DRINKING & DINING - A CULINARY SCENE
A handful of top-notch, local chefs started the current, hot restaurant scene. Locals love Lola Bistro (www.lolabistro.com) by Iron Chef and James Beard Award-winner Michael Symon. Clevelanders flock to The Greenhouse Tavern (www.thegreenhousetavern.com) one of James Beard Award-winner Jonathon Sawyer's eateries. And, one of the latest dining spots by chef/restaurateur Zack Bruell is in the Flats East Bank entertainment district, Alley Cat Oyster Bar (www.alleycatoysterbar.com) - the cuisine is surf & turf with great views of the Cuyahoga River and super-friendly waiters.

Heinen's Salad Bar
But, you can have a great meal at almost any spot in town such as Zaytoon (1150 Huron Rd; www.zaytoonlebanesekitchen.com) serving the most delicious Lebanese specialties or even at the salad bar in Heinen's Downtown Grocery Store (900 Euclid Ave; http://bit.ly/2zyVoe1). The building, the former 1908 Cleveland Trust bank, is amazing as is the Garfield Building, former National City Bank, that now houses the swanky, new Marble Room Steak & Raw Bar (623 Euclid Ave; www.marbleroomcle.com). To discover even more groovy places to dine, request a handy-dandy Cleveland Dining Guide or view it online.

West Side Market (1979 West 25th St.; www.westsidemarket.org) - Built in 1912, you usually only see great, indoor markets like this in European cities, with 100+ booths selling fresh produce, meats, baked goods, and ethnic delicacies, it's a mouth-watering adventure. And, lots of cute little eateries have opened up in the neighborhood, so do some culinary exploring.

(photo: Marble Room)
Have a Brewski - There are more than 30 breweries in the greater Cleveland area. Head out on your own craft-beer experience or hop on the Cleveland Brew Bus.

EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOODS
Terminal Tower - Observation Deck (Open: April-Nov; Sat & Sun, 12-4pm. Tks: $5; http://bit.ly/2zPv53T) - Start your visit to Cleveland with a panoramic view of the city, lakefront, etc. from the Tower's 42nd floor. Then, head out to explore below!
East 4th St (photo: Lola Bistro)
There's a lively scene on East 4th Street (www.east4thstreet.com) with a plethora of shops, bars and restaurants. The Flats East Bank (www.flatseastbank.com) district on the Cuyahoga River has become a dining and entertainment mecca. Beyond the Downtown area, there's lots of artsy and cool things going on in various neighborhoods. Check out Shaker Square (www.visitshakersquare.com), Collinwood (www.welcometocollinwood.com), and Little Italy (clevelandlittleitaly.com) with all its' Italian eateries.
There's so much to discover in Cleveland that these suggestions just scratch the surface!

Fun Fact: Lots of cool people came from Cleveland such as:
Paul Newman
actors/comedians - Paul Newman, Halle Berry, Terrance Howard, Bob Hope, Drew Carey; athletes - too many Hall of Famers to name; musicians - Joe Walsh, Tracy Chapman, Henry Mancini, Kid Cudi & may other rappers; writers - Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison; and millionaire John D. Rockefeller.

Making Your Trip EasierCLE App - Download this essential visitor's tool for iPhones & Android.

Where To Stay:
Hyatt, The Arcade
A number of new hotels have opened up Downtown in cool, historic buildings, to name a few: 
Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown in the former Beaux Arts-style Board of Education building.
Kimpton Schofield Hotel in the former Euclid Ninth Tower designed by architect Levi Schofield in 1902.
Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade, the first indoor shopping center in America opened in 1890.
For something thoroughly modern, try the Hilton Cleveland Downtown (100 Lakeside Ave. East; http://bit.ly/1t6vbNg) - it's a convention hotel but with lots of charm: stunning local artwork, a very helpful staff, a nice pool, great views, and lots of dining options.
The Beatles, Chance Foreman, Hilton
Or, go local through Airbnb, rent a place to stay from a local poet in Shaker Square or from famed chef Michael Symon in the Tremont neighborhood.

Getting There:
Major carriers such as American, Delta, and United all have non-stop flights to Cleveland. Starting May 2018, Icelandair and WOW Air will fly to Cleveland from 20 European cities, connecting through Reykjavik, Iceland. So, you'll have no excuse to stay home; head to CLE today!