Music in the Streets and On the Mtro

Wandering Minstrels on rue de Saintonge

Music in the Streets and On the Mtro

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Paris, France

“Le Provençal” Studio

“Le Provençal” Studio

Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence.

Available March 20th – 27th, May 1st – 6th and after June 15th! But filling up fast!

Pictures and more details available here: /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/provencal.html


Dear Parler Paris Reader,

I live on a relatively quiet street — one so narrow that the windows facing my own are closer than those on the opposite side of our cobblestoned courtyard. Everyone living in such a densely populated urban environment such as Paris has their preference, but mine is to have windows on the street, rather than the courtyard which is considerably quieter, for that very reason. Of course, the ideal situation is to have the living room on the street and the bedrooms on the courtyard for the serenity. Not every apartment has this luxury.

The courtyard just feels removed and distanced from the city life and now that 10 years have passed getting to know the sounds of the street, I’d be loathe to give it up. Very few of us streetside bother to close our drapes and so we get a glimpse into our neighbors’ lives and habits. Over the years, as you can imagine, many fascinating stories have accumulated. I will leave the “sights” for another time, but today, it is the “sounds” that are of more interest.

A few moments ago, not at all unusual, there was some rather wild yelling between a handful of people, about what I couldn’t say. It wasn’t particular enough to stop and take a look, although a head or two bobbed out from the apartments “en face.” My daughter’s boyfriend reported he had looked out to see a fight between a biker and a driver — perhaps the driver had run into the biker. All in a day’s events on a narrow street in Le Marais.

Yesterday afternoon, busily typing away on the keyboard, I heard music coming from the street. It wasn’t the usual organ-grinder, who strolls down rue de Saintonge every now and then, but a Dixieland type band — blasting on a trumpet and a tuba.

This time I ran to the windows to peer out. Down on the street were two men with instruments and while they strolled, they played. A few heads popped out of windows, too, and when the musicians saw us ogling them, they lifted their cups for our donations.

A few coins were tossed down. Usually, musicians are stationed in a spot on the street where they can gather a crowd. The Pont Saint-Louis (the tiny connecting bridge between the Ile de la Cité and the Ile Saint-Louis) almost always has street performers there, but occasionally we’ve had the pleasure of these wandering minstrels right outside our windows.

It’s more common to enjoy the minstrels on the Métro. In fact, the Paris Métro wouldn’t be the Paris Métro without them. For years when an accordionist would pop on and start to play “Those Were the Days,” or some other sentimental tune, like “Ma Vie en Rose,” I’d get choked up and think how silly I was behaving.

In typical French fashion, putting esthetics above all other needs, not only must Métro performers be licensed, but they must also be accredited by l’Espace Métro Accords (EMA). Since 1997, the EMA selects the artists and musicians authorized to perform in the corridors of the subway. Twice per year, there are more than 1000 who audition in front of a jury made up of agents of the RATP, which in turn grants approximately 300 accreditations. This selection is insurance for the travelers to enjoy the highest of musical quality!

In 2003, the Métro musicians recorded a CD of the best 14 representing the 14 lines of Métro, after a panel of judges heard 360 musicians, favoring original works. It was distributed by FNAC, Virgin and other music retailers.

The Métro majority of musicians are men, but surprisingly 47% are women, and 65% perform alone, rather than in duets, trios or groups. Naturally, these musicians are immigrant

s from all over the world — so they offer a broad repertory: medieval songs, symphonics, songs of North Africa, jazz and blues…and the corridors of the Métro resound in musical colors.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

Express Yourself. Click here to comment on Parler Paris…

P.S. Angel Productions is seeking two men who speak English to record a few phrases in English tomorrow afternoon in the 15th arrondissement. Each will earn 50 euros. If you’re interested, contact Aurelie Fauré at or call

P.P.S. Yesterday Parler Paris readers gathered to get to know one another at La Pierre du Marais at the monthly coffee gathering “Parler Paris Après Midi.” Red Chinese lanterns shined brightly out the windows while a good time was had by all, including Toulouse, “le chien.” Read all about it and see the photos by clicking here: /parlerparis/apresmidi.html

Calendar #148
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Paris, France


The Parler Paris Weekly Community Calendar is a partnership with to provide you with the most up-to-date information about upcoming events related to the Anglophone community in Paris.

We gladly run announcements for non-profit organizations. If you wish your community announcement to be listed, please provide the text in ENGLISH just as you’d like it to appear and send it to:

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Thank you, Adrian

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The Writing Salon and
Other Adventures with James Navé


Join the Writing Salon, and experience the power of the imaginative storm!

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ays flooded by originality, experimentation, passion, and the alchemy that occurs when writers come together to share the joy of writing. Each Writing Salon is a lacuna in time: a place where you can leave your everyday life behind and take refuge in magnificent landscape, amazing conversation, great food, and an atmosphere crackling with creative spontaneity.

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You can trust the team at Parler Paris Apartments


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Parler Paris Apartments offers high quality accommodations to make your stay in the City of Light as enjoyable and memorable as possible. We at Parler Paris know each and every apartment owner or manager personally, and stand behind the quality of those we represent. We understand your needs and desires, all the small details that make a rental apartment a warm and welcoming home – and a much better alternative to an impersonal hotel!

Parler Paris Apartments is administered and serviced by the same great team as Parler Paris, French Property Insider and French Property Consultation. You can trust that Parler Paris Apartments and all those with whom it is associated will do their best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction.

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We cover specific, niche-interest topics that are difficult to find anywhere else. Get an insider perspective on Restaurants… Making a Life… Black Culture… Expat Writers…

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Parler Paris Après Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:

The next gathering is March 13, 2007

So mark your calendars to be sure not to miss it! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.



Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group

Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week — come as often as you like!

* Tuesdays 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais
96, rue des Archives at the corner of rue de Bretagne
3rd arrondissement
Métro Temple, République or Arts et Métier

* Wednesdays 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and
* Saturdays 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

13 passage Dauphine (entrance between rue Dauphine and rue Mazarine), 75006
6th arrondissement
Métro Odéon, Saint-Michel, Pont Neuf

SATURday, MARCH 17, 8 P.M.

At L a Pierre du Marais (corner of rue des Archives and rue de Bretagne, Paris, 3rd Arrondissement)

Menu: Kir, Confit de Canard, Gratin Dauphinois, Salad, Moelleux au Chocolat, Wine and Coffee
Only 25€!

Plus, take advantage of these special anniversary prices:


Reservations: or http://www.parlerparlor



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