Longoria wedding has Paris buzzing


PARIS -- The paparazzi are circling, the guests are jetting in and the last touches are being applied at the church before "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria marries French basketball ace Tony Parker in Paris on Saturday.

The actress, who plays the scheming Gabrielle in the hit series and the Belgian-born San Antonio Spurs point guard may wish for an improvement in the unseasonably rainy weather.

But otherwise, things appear to be on track for the Paris celebrity wedding of the year, on the supposedly auspicious date of July 7, 2007 (7/7/07).

The French capital often assumes a blase attitude where foreign celebrities are concerned, but interest has been running high in what the daily Le Parisien called, with perhaps a touch of exaggeration: "the most 'people' wedding of the decade."

Paris Match, glossy chronicler of the lives of the stars, put the pair on its cover and featured a series of pictures of their pre-wedding celebrations on a yacht in Saint Tropez.

Parker, recently crowned Most Valuable Player as he won his third NBA championship, has played it cool, reportedly advising reporters to "ask Eva" about details of the ceremony.

But whoever is in charge, preparations have been moving along with military precision for the ceremony in Saint Germain l'Auxerrois, a former church of the kings of France, just across the road from the Louvre.

Media interest has been intense and residents nearby are charging television companies 2,500 euros ($3,400) to use their balconies. But a cat and mouse game is going on to beat the paparazzi and the actual wedding time has not been confirmed.

One surprise detail broke late on Thursday when it emerged that the civil ceremony would be held on Friday and would be conducted by the Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe.

The couple have been staying at a hotel just off the chic Place Vendome, where 120 rooms have been reserved for friends and family.

In between shopping trips, the party has flown by helicopter to inspect the sumptuous 17th century Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte outside Paris where the lavish reception will be held.

The chateau hosted the wedding of Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal's daughter, claimed to be the most expensive nuptials of all time at a reported $55 million.

The Longoria/Parker wedding may not cost that much but they have covered at least part of the expense, reportedly selling photo rights to celebrity magazine OK for $2 million.

Longoria's success in the blackly comic "Desperate Housewives" has shot her from daytime soaps like "The Young and the Restless" to the show business elite and the guest list matches her star status.

As well as her colleagues from Wisteria Lane, "Miami Vice" star Jamie Foxx, crooner Lionel Richie, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones are expected.

Parker's team mates should also be there along with other sports stars including soccer player Thierry Henry.

Back at the hotel, sleek black limousines and people carriers pull up and serious looking men and women in dark suits get out, talking urgently into their mobile phones.

But information is scarce and rumors are urgently traded by the waiting paparazzi on the lookout for news about the wedding party apparently planned at a secret location on Friday evening.