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Blowing Our Own Horns

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!

P.P.S. Check out the last minute special rates on Le Provençal (and other Parler Paris Apartments) now available for the Fall! Scroll down for more information or visit Parler Paris Apartments or email: [email protected]

P.P.P.S. Scroll down to learn about and contribute to “A Photographic Project-Journey through Volunteering in Cambodian Orphanages” — a project organized by photographer Erica Simone and sponsored by


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