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Yves Saint Laurent brought a little bit of the City of Light to New York on Tuesday night with a special screening of "Paris, je t'aime"

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Natalie Portman in Yves Saint Laurent
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Yves Saint Laurent brought a little bit of the City of Light to New York on Tuesday night with a special screening of "Paris, je t'aime" — and even though it was really only the Paris Theatre on West 58th Street, it didn't stop guests from babbling franglais.

"Oh, I'm half French," joked Maggie Gyllenhaal, who spoke the language in her portion of the bilingual film, which is comprised of 18 short odes to the French capital by directors such as Alexander Payne, Alfonso Cuarón, Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven and Joel and Ethan Coen.

"Bonsoir," said Natalie Portman prettily to a waiter at the trés francais restaurant Chat Noir, where the fashion house was hosting a celebratory dinner.

She ought to pat herself on the back — her segment, filmed by "Run Lola Run" director Tom Tykwer, was the first to be completed five years ago. "They used it to get the other people to sign on," she said. Joined by Nat Rothschild and her father, the actress gave some Parisian travel tips. "There's a falafel place in the Marais that I am obsessed with," she admitted.

No Middle Eastern fare was on offer, however — it was tuna nicoise and steak frites for her co-stars Steve Buscemi, Catalina Sandino Moreno and fledgling model-turned-actress Li Xin, who crowded into the restaurant along with the likes of Rashida Jones, Fiona Scarry and Zach Braff, who ducked out early.

But recent Brooklyn transplant Emily Mortimer stayed to talk babies with Gyllenhaal, while her husband, Alessandro Nivola, regaled with his own, perhaps less highbrow, tales of shooting the sequel to soccer flick "Goal!" Spoofing David Beckham, complete with blonde locks, he got a taste of real fan-mania filming a scene at the Tokyo airport. "There were thousands of people waiting. It was nuts," he recalled gleefully. "I was wearing the team uniform — girls were screaming and grabbing my clothes."
Things were more genteel at Lincoln Center, where the New York City Ballet held its Spring Gala, this year celebrating the centennial of Lincoln Kirstein with the world premier of Peter Martins' "Romeo + Juliet." Expected guest (and former Juliet herself) Claire Danes was a no-show, but a graceful group of young starlets did their best to evoke the famous Shakespearean heroine.

"I felt like a New York Juliet hailing a cab in this dress," giggled Michelle Trachtenberg of her Monique Lhuillier confection.

Nearby, Mía Maestro admitted she is no stranger to courtship. "I've received some poems," she smiled. "And he's not here tonight, but I do have a Romeo and I'm very happy."

"Pirates of the Caribbean" star Naomie Harris was less sentimental. "I'm so not romantic," laughed the British actress, who is in town shooting a film with Josh Hartnett. "Maybe tonight will change things."

Surely the performance had some effect (as did guest Bill Clinton, who was mobbed by camera-heavy fans), as it received a standing ovation.

Afterward, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Paquin, Lauren Bush, Kerry Washington and Camilla Belle, along with Fé Fendi, Muffie Potter Aston, Anne Bass, Coco Kopelman, Steve Martin, Jamee Gregory and Rob Marshall were ushered into a "Capulet Ball" complete with flowing purple decor and a Verona-inspired menu.