May is equated with all things Gallic as Hong Kong becomes La Vie En Rose. Over the past half century, Le French May has blossomed from a modest little event into one of Asia’s largest cultural smorgasbords. This year, it will attract more than one million visitors with a diversified roster of more than 80 programmes over two months, all executed with French savoir faire.

As in the previous four editions, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is supporting the festival to the tune of HK$11.47 million along with a dedicated educational and outreach series of activities.

Landscape Impressionist extraordinaire Claude Monet’s work including Water Lilies and 16 others is one of this year’s highlights. They are on display at Hong Kong Heritage Museum from 4 May until 11 July. If sculpture is more your thing, mark your calendar from 29 April until 16 November for a special exhibition at MGM Art Space in Macau to see Edgar Degas’ collection of 74 bronze sculptures. Dubbed Figures in Motion, the collection is a rare chance to see everyday life figurines—yet only one of these was ever showcased during Degas’ lifetime.

The opening performance takes place on 5 May at City Hall’s Concert Hall and features French soprano Sabine Devieilhe with Ensemble Pygmalion under the leadership of Raphael Pichon. They will perform a number of romantic pieces by Mozart in the aptly titled Mozart in Love. Dance lovers get a double bill with two fairy tale classics retold in inventive new ways by The National Malandain Ballet, led by Thierry Malandain. Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast get neo-classical interpretations through minimal productions that pare things down to the dances’ poetry. Held 1 and 2 June and 3 and 4 June respectively, both shows take place at the Grand Theatre in the Cultural Centre.

Extremites is a gravity defying balancing act by three circus acrobats that show how teamwork saves the day, in shows on 20 and 21 May at Kwai Tsing Theatre. Paris Combo’s two nights on 20 and 21 May at the Academy for Performing Arts fuses jazz, cabaret, gypsy, pop, Latin and Middle East vibes, with a few local Chinese guest artists thrown into the mix. And film buffs get a chance to see 20 movies on the theme of utopia, with a spotlight on French animation.

This year’s Le French May promises something for everyone—you can even run away and join a French circus.

Rhine On
The eighth edition of Le French GourMay spotlights Alsace’s gastronomic delights

Alsace is a region in eastern France that borders Germany, and is a special place that embraces both cultures. This is reflected in its fruity white wine and Michelin starred restaurants that champions fresh, seasonal asparagus, cabbage, onions and lamb. This year’s eighth edition of Le French GourMay is organised by Business France (Hong Kong Office) and includes 200 partners such as fine dining and casual restaurants, food and wine importers and retailers. Events include opening celebrations from 30 April to 2 May at PMQ and a traditional French market from 14 to 15 May at Stanley Plaza. |