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Arts and culture France: Rolling Stones plates, arthouse cinema threat

A round-up of the stories creating a buzz in French art, literature and entertainment

Rolling Stones album covers on Limoges porcelain; French actress Valérie Bonneton’s book is narrated by a dog; still life at the Louvre Pic: J.L. Coquet / Studio Canal / Luis Egidio Melendez

Shaggy dog story from actress 

Valérie Bonneton is a familiar and well liked face on French television, the grinning comédienne having starred in many films and the decade-long series Fais pas ci, fais pas ça until 2017.

Now the actress has turned her creative forces to writing a debut book, but she selected an unusual narrative perspective for the fictionalised account of a difficult time in her life, when her then four-year-old son Joseph (who fully recovered) was diagnosed with leukaemia. 

The narrator of Maman à moi (Editions Jean-Claude Lattès) is Gaston, her Bichon maltais (Maltese). 

Bonneton says she chose the device to remove herself from the emotion of the story. 

“The prism of the dog was a possibility to take some distance, to be able to express myself and to put humour, lightness there,” she told franceinfo.

Culture at the coiffeur in Lyon

Saint-Priest, a commune in the Lyon metropolis (Rhône), launched an innovative art project to mark September’s Journées Européennes du Patrimoine (European Heritage Days). 

The mairie invited 15 local shopkeepers to pick their favourite paintings from the town’s Artothèque (art library), in order to display them in situ and thereby bring some culture to a wider audience. 

The shops, which included a butcher’s and a hairdressers, then formed an itinerary of discovery for guided tours, with each artwork accompanied by a QR code providing further background on the painting and artist. 

“It’s an opportunity to take an artistic break while having your hair done. 

“I never go to museums, I really like this principle, it’s the museum that comes to the visitors, in a way”, one customer told francetvinfo.

Read more: Biennale de Lyon art fair now one of France’s key cultural events

Eat off Rolling Stones album covers

One might not necessarily associate rock legends the Rolling Stones with French fine dining, but a recent creative collaboration between the band and luxury Limoges porcelain manufacturer J.L. Coquet looks pretty tasty.

The Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat (Haute-Vienne) firm had the idea to celebrate the Stones’ 60th anniversary by reproducing black dinner plates featuring covers of two of the band’s famous LPs: Some Girls and Sticky Fingers.

Read more: Four albums recorded in France and one song that should have been

Obtaining rights permission was not easy, admitted Coquet general manager, Sébastien Cich: “We had to work for a very long time [...] to obtain the rights, to propose the product and to be able to validate it with the managers of the Rolling Stones.”

A limited edition number of 1,962 coffrets (sets) of two large and two small plates were made, in reference to the year the band formed (1962), and were sold for €750 via a flash sale online.

Still-life in the spotlight at Louvre

If you enjoy gazing upon superb still-life (nature morte) paintings, then the exhibition Les Choses (Things), running at the Louvre until January 23 2023, is unmissable. 

Examining the genre from the perspective of the ongoing dialogue between past and present artists, the display “sheds new light on our attachment to material things, while covering the history of art from prehistoric axes to Chardin, Manet and the readymades of Marcel Duchamp”, says the prestigious Paris museum.

Read more: France’s long history of copying Old Masters at the Louvre

Curtain call for iconic Paris cinema? 

The Luminor, one of the best known arthouse cinemas in Paris, which has existed for over 110 years, is under threat of closure because the premises’ owners Sofra wish to install “stores or offices”. 

“Supporting the Luminor, through a very advantageous commercial lease, is no longer part of Sofra’s objectives,” it said.

“This is cultural vandalism,” producer and the Luminor’s manager François Yon told Le Monde, while Paris City Council hopes to “propose a conciliation [...] so that the Luminor remains a cinema”.

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