By Rick Steves, Steve Smith and Gene Openshaw
Newsstands sell weekly magazines listing all the events and happenings in Paris. Pariscope is cheap and essential if you want to know what's happening. Pick one up and page through it.
The magazine, all in French, begins with a listing of "Théâtre" and what's playing at all key theater venues. "Musique" lists each day's events, from jazz to classical to dance (program, location, time, price), including both opera houses if performances are scheduled. Remember that some concerts are free (entrée libre).
A third of the magazine is devoted to cinéma — a Parisian forte. While a code marks films as "Comédie," "Documentaire," "Drame," "Karaté," "Erotisme," and so on, the key mark for non-French-speakers is "v.o.," for version originale (original-language version) — this means the movie hasn't been dubbed in French. Films are listed alphabetically, by neighborhood ("Salles Paris"), and by genre. To find a showing near your hotel, simply look for a cinema in the same arrondissement. "Salles Périphérie" means the cinema is located out in the suburbs. Many cinemas offer discounts on Monday or Wednesday nights.
"Arts" gives hours and locations for gallery showings ("expositions," big and small), and up-to-date hours at museums in and near Paris (tlj = daily, sf = except, Ent = entry price, TR = reduced price — usually for students and children).
The "Enfants" section covers myriad possible children's activities. "Spectacles" are shows (like magic shows); you'll also see many "Marionettes" shows and "Cirques" (circuses). These events usually are offered only in French, but they can be worthwhile even for non-French-speakers.
"Promenades et Loisirs" covers outdoor events, including outdoor theater, flea markets, sound-and-light shows (son et lumieres), key monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, river cruises, parks, zoos, and aquariums.
For cancan mischief, look under "Paris la Nuit."
Steve Smith and Gene Openshaw are the co-authors of Rick Steves' Paris.