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Paris, City of Light and city of pleasure – four online talks by Patrick Bade

posted on 18/07/23


Paris is universally acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful cities. But by and large tourists scarcely skim the surface of this complex and fascinating capital sticking with visits to the most obvious venues, such as the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower. Yet to walk through its streets, every step reveals new beauties; it would take more than one lifetime to discover all the secrets and pleasures of Paris, visual, cultural and culinary. Every architectural style from Ancient Roman to Post-Modern is represented and there are many museums with rich collections that are barely visited. Away from the tourist haunts you can still eat delicious meals at modest prices and find small specialist shops for collectors that defy the commercialism that has overwhelmed so many other cities in the Western world. Patrick Bade’s series of four talks seeks to reveal and celebrate some less familiar aspects of the history and the life of this marvellous city.

They take place every Thursday from 14 September–5 October 2023 at 4.30pm (GMT +1) and, including Q&A, will probably last an hour. They are available for viewing for eight weeks after the last episode is streamed (30th November 2023).

Register for the webinar series for £55

The talks

1. Eiffel Tower versus Sacré Coeur (14th September 2023)

Since the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, France has been a divided country. The Paris skyline is dominated by two iconic buildings that represent the France of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and the Catholic and conservative France of the Ancien Régime that remains strong to this day. This talk will explore the history and symbolism of the two buildings and show how they have been represented over the past 130 years.

2. Pre-recorded. Mon Apéro (21st September 2023)

The early evening ritual of the aperitif is an honoured Parisian ritual that has been widely celebrated in the visual arts and in song. We shall examine Belle Epoque posters by Alphonse Mucha, Jules Cheret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the stylish Art Deco advertisements of Leonetto Cappiello and Cassandre – and we shall hear the voices of Edith Piaf, Yvette Guilbert, Damia, Fréhel and Marie Dubas singing of the joys and sorrows of drinking.

3. Paris through the eyes of its artists (28th September 2023)

For the past two centuries Paris has attracted artists from all over the world. Many French and foreign artists have been inspired by the beauties and life of the city to create their finest works. We shall see Paris through the eyes of Girtin, Turner, Daumier, Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte, Pissarro, Boldini, Sargent, Van Gogh, Dufy, Utrillo, Chagall, as well as the great photographers Atget and Brassaï.

4. Paris in song (5th October 2023)

No other city has inspired so many popular songs as Paris. Not only the glamorous city centre and the artistic Left Bank and the picturesque Montmartre, but also the gritty working-class suburbs of Ménilmontant and Belleville have produced singers, songs and musicians. This lecture will offer a survey of those songs sung by such great artists as Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier and Charles Trenet.

The speaker

Patrick Bade

Historian, writer and broadcaster. He studied at UCL and the Courtauld and was senior lecturer at Christies Education for many years. He has worked for the Art Fund, Royal Opera House, National Gallery, V&A. He has published on 19th- and early 20th-century painting and on historical vocal recordings. His latest book is Music Wars: 1937–1945.

Register for the webinar series for £55

Frequently asked questions

What methods of payment do you accept?

An electronic invoice will be sent to your e-mail address 1–3 working days after you have completed our registration form. Payment can be made online using AMEX, Apple Pay, Google Pay, MasterCard or Visa.

How do I purchase the webinar series as a gift?

Please contact us specifying how many subscriptions you would like and who they are for (we require their full name and e-mail address). We will invoice you directly, and after we have received your payment we will release the webinar joining instructions to your friend(s) or family member(s).

Can I purchase a single episode?

No, unfortunately not. The series must be purchased in full.

How do I join the webinar?

An e-mail confirmation will be sent to you after you have paid for your subscription, which includes your unique link for joining the webinar. Reminder e-mails will be sent to you one day and one hour before each event. We recommend that you download the Zoom software in advance of the first webinar.

Can I watch the live broadcast(s) on more than one device?

Only one device can be connected to the live broadcast(s) at any one time. If you wish to purchase a second subscription, please contact us.

What happens if I am unable to attend the live broadcast(s)? 

A recording will be uploaded to a dedicated webpage approximately two hours after the live broadcast. For copyright reasons, these recordings cannot be made available indefinitely; access is granted for eight weeks after the final live broadcast of the series.

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