Le French May: despite its seemingly descriptive name, Hong Kong’s French arts festival is actually four months long. Confusing nomenclature aside, there’s plenty to fill your calendar. This year, there’s a particular emphasis on celebrating 50 years of diplomacy between France and China, with a ton of Franco-Chinese collabs coming to town. Here’s a breakdown of the biggest and best events, exhibitions, concerts and screenings. Art & Design Golden Time of the Kings Pretend you’re the Sun King living in the Palace of Versailles for an afternoon, courtesy of the Kraemer Gallery. They’ll be hosting an exhibition of 18th-century antique French furniture for a while, but this time around you can book a free private tour with collector/art dealer Mikael Kraemer himself. Art, history and chaise longues: just bring someone to peel your grapes for you. Through May 31. Champagne Room at Hullett House, 1881 Heritage, 2A Canton Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2926-8000. Book a private tour through www.hulletthouse.com . Fabienne Verdier: Crossing Signs Painter Fabienne Verdier is a true example of east meets west. She ventured to Sichuan in the tumultuous 80s and learned the techniques of traditional Chinese ink painting from true calligraphy grand masters, adding to it her own formal western art education. She even pioneered her own enormous version of a horse hair paintbrush which holds up to 60 liters of ink, allowing her to create her enormous gestural and minimalist works. Check them out in this retrospective exhibition, 20 years on from her very first exhibition in Hong Kong. May 13-Jun 8. Exhibition Hall, Hong Kong City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central, 2921-2840. Fabienne Verdier, “Cercle Ascèse Noir” In Bed With Designers: “French Kiss” Sadly, you’re not guaranteed to get the chance to bump uglies with the world’s best designers at this boutique hotel event. However, it is a rare chance for design lovers to get up close and personal with more than 50 renowned designers and their work. There are tours, design talks, workshops and presentations for all design nerds out there. And, of course, if you really play your cards right, you might be in with a shot of doing the well-designed dirty anyhow. May 9-11. Mini Hotel Central, 38 Ice House St., Central, 2103-0999. Register at www.inbedwithdesigners.com . Free. Designer Ben Cheng will snuggle up to you in this chair, or maybe just talk to you about art Paris-Chinese Painting: Legacy of the 20th Century Chinese Masters This collab with Parisian Asian art museum Musée Cernuschi brings to town close to 100 pieces by 20th-century Chinese artists, who flocked to the bohemian magnet of the Montparnasse district a hundred years ago. Expect work from French-influenced ink artist Xu Beihong, Lin Fengmian—famous for his whimsical paintings of women—and landscape abstractionist Wu Guanzhong, to name a few. Their works will be on show at the Museum of Art before it closes for renovation in September. Jun 20-Sept 21. Hong Kong Museum of Art, 10 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2721-0116. Zao Wou-ki makes abstract landscapes COUNT Performance Thomas Enhco Jazz Trio Music wunderkind Thomas Enhco is one of the most promising jazz artists around, tiptoeing the tightrope between classical and jazz piano. Together with Jeremy Bruyère on the double bass and drummer Nicolas Charlier, this trio is subtle, introspective and lyrical. Jun 13, 8pm. Theatre, Hong Kong City Hall. $180-380 from www.urbtix.hk . Thomas Enhco lights sparks in your ears Faust Charles Gounod’s renowned beast of an opera—its five acts span the light subjects of moral integrity, romance, religion, and insanity—comes to Hong Kong this May. It’s a co-production featuring several French opera troupes, as well as the chorus and soloists of Opera Hong Kong, all accompanied by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. The story of Doctor Faust selling his soul to the devil Mephistopheles to gain youth and love is nothing new, but this legend has something for us all. May 9-11. Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Rd., 2734-2009. $150-880 from www.urbtix.hk . “L’Immédiat” by Camille Boitel Kinetic and destructive souls, this is your kind of show. Watch (or wince) as contemporary circus man Camille Boitel and his team of six acrobats climb, crush, and catapult each other around a junkyard of a set, with wooden beams, ladders, glass bottles and tables all stacked up and waiting to come crashing down. Some would say it’s poetic, some would say it’s pure chaos, but you can’t deny the awe-inspiring physicality it takes—and the comedic timing these guys have. Jun 20-21, 8pm. Auditorium, Kwai Tsing Theatre. $80-280 from www.urbtix.hk . “L’Immédiat”—all this stuff is going to get trashed Philippe Jaroussky and the Venice Baroque Orchestra One of the first events of Le French May is a concert by French countertenor (that’s a guy who sings really, really high) Philippe Jaroussky and the Venice Baroque Orchestra. They’ll be performing songs by Porpora and Handel, composers and rivals who both wrote extraordinary songs for their castrati superstars. Jaroussky’s sublime voice is an awe-inspiring act in itself. May 2, 8pm. Concert Hall, City Hall, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central. $180-380 from www.urbtix.hk . Philippe Jaroussky and frequent collaborator Louis XIV “And… Action!” by Pockemon Crew World hip-hop dance champs and Lyon natives the Pockemon Crew are coming to Hong Kong with a whole new production, inspired by the birth of cinema in their hometown in the 30s and 40s, as well as the Broadway dance styles of the same era. Hip-hop, music and cinema, with a bit of Gatsby thrown in? A must-see. May 23-24, 8pm. Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui. $240-380 from www.urbtix.hk . Pockemon Crew: gotta catch ‘em all “The Mirror” by Théâtre des Asphodèles What happens when the highly stylized form of Chinese Opera meets the equally stylized Italian Commedia Dell’arte—masks and all? A cast of four actors/acrobats/singers—two French, two Chinese—present a story of 17th-century Sino-French diplomacy, through song, Shanxi chant, slapstick, multimedia and the universal language of theater. Jun 6-7, 8pm. Studio Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, 10 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui. $180-280 from www.urbtix.hk . Harlequin meets the Monkey King in “The Mirror” L’art D’internet Too lazy to drag yourself to a museum or gallery? Looking to impress with your stellar knowledge and appreciation of high art? Online Asian art gallery Artshare is hosting “ Mutual Influences: Chinese Artists In France ,” which showcases works by some of the greatest 20th-century Chinese artists who lived in France and were influenced by their time there. FYI, the obvious names are Zao Wou-ki, Chu Teh-chun and Wang Keping, so commit them to memory. May 14-Jun 28. www.artshare.com . Om Nom Mange If it’s not enough for French arts to be taking over Hong Kong, this year’s Le French GourMay (see what they did there?) is here to keep us all topped up with French food and booze. This year’s it’s all about the wines of the Rhône Valley, so expect plenty of food and pairing menus. The whole affair kicks off with parties on April 30, 6:30pm at Pastis, La Cabane, Les Fils à Maman and F.A.B. Apr 30-May 31. Check out www.frenchgourmay.com for more on the month’s festivities, including full details of the more than 250 participating outlets. Sino-Cinéma In 2010 France and China signed a cinematic cooperation agreement, and in this year’s French Shadows: All Eyes on China film festival we get to see the fruits of that accord. Films include Wang Xiaoshuai’s “11 Flowers,” and Philippe Muyl’s “The Nightingale”—ostensibly a Mandarin remake of his French film “The Butterfly,” but in fact a subtly different creation. And of course, how could you host a French film festival without a film about wine? Check out David Roach’s documentary on how wine is traveling from Bordeaux to China, the aptly named “Red Obsession.” May 9-31. Broadway Cinematheque, Palace IFC. www.cinema.com.hk .