Blowing Our Own Horns



Les Journées du Patrimoine at the Palais Royal

Blowing Our Own Horns

Parler Paris Nouvellettre®
Your taste of life in Paris and France
ParlerParis.com
Monday, September 21, 2009
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Since 1984, the third weekend in September is devoted to honoring French heritage during a festival known as “Les Journées du Patrimoine.” It all began with the French, but now it’s celebrated in 49 countries and was appropriately renamed “Les Journées Européennes du Patrimoine.”

In 2008, there were 15,000 sites open to the public, 24,000 events and 12 million visits, but strangely, ask almost any non-European and they will not know much about it.

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Parler Paris Nouvellettre® continued…

Nonetheless, it’s an event designed to ‘blow our own horns,’ ‘pat ourselves on the back’ by and for the Europeans, so it’s not meant to inspire non-Europeans. It’s no wonder that they just don’t care.

The locals are clearly inspired, however. The streets this weekend were teeming with life seeking a gander at one monument or another — standing in long lines to get a glimpse of the inside of the Palais d’Elysée (the President’s residence) or the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall).

Two-hundred-fifty-nine venues within the 20 districts of Paris were open to the public, most of which would not have been otherwise, including Senate at the Palais du Luxembourg, the Prime Minister’s residence and many of the ambassadors’ residences of such countries as Russia, Switzerland, Poland and Great Britain.

Those who didn’t have the patience to wait in line, simply wandered from one location to another, enjoying the side shows on the street. This is the category in which we fell — as each time we’d come upon another open-door of interest, the wait to enter meant whiling away [valuable] time.

To add to the festivity, there was no shortage of outdoor activities to entertain those left visit-less: rummage sales, street artists and loads of musicians willing to play for the lingering crowds. At every turn, there was another group of music-makers to entertain you. At Place Colette, an orchestra played classical music. Near the Mairie of the 2nd Arrondissement, there was a young jazz band and in front of the Bourse de Paris, a singer was wailing French tunes.

Most unusual of all was a group of religious Jews — what appeared to be a family of mixed ages — standing tightly together in the Place des Vosges blowing the “shofar.” The shofar is a sort of ‘trumpet’ made of (usually) a ram’s horn, used symbolically to announce the holidays. The current holiday is the most important of the whole year — the new year (“Rosh Hashanah” of the year 5770 in the Hebrew Metonic calendar) and “Yom Kippur,” the day of atonement.

Click on the video below to see and hear them blow the Shofar!

 

If you can’t see the video and you want to hear the shofar, click here.

If you receive or hear a message such as “L’Shanah Tovah ” — you’ll know it means “Happy New Year.” Even U.S. President Barack Obama uttered these words in a Rosh Hashanah greeting this past week to Jews the world over, calling for the rejection of “the impulse to harden ourselves to others’ suffering,” urging empathy and “compassion to those in need.” Do you think he tried to blow the shofar, too?

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Hope you can come to the annual Rentrée Breakfast Party of the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group this coming Saturday at 11 a.m. — save when you sign up that day!

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This Saturday…Rentrée Breakfast Party!

Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group

Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 11AM

Come for Conversation and Have Breakfast FREE!
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Saturday, October 17, 2009
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