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Chasing a French Soccer Ball

With Fête de la Musique about to kick off this evening all over the country (my favorite festival), I know you expect today’s missive to give you the low-down on the best places to hear the best music. “Tant pis” — all you have to do is visit to search what’s on where and assume I would recommend Le Marais as the “hot spot.”

If you’re reading Parler Paris Previews, our weekly Community Calendar, then you also know that the new Musée du Quai Branly is about to open it’s doors on June 23rd and the whole world is invited to attend! On Saturday the 24th, the annual Gay Pride parade will roll through the city starting at 1:30 p.m. at Montparnasse winding it’s way to arrive at Place de la Bastille at about 5:30 p.m. — not to be missed!

But, a few days ago a friend mentioned that I really shouldn’t go on ignoring the World Cup soccer match that has taken over the TV screens in the bars and cafés, not to mention the living rooms of (mostly) male-dominated households. The past few evenings, a huge crowd has gathered at “Au Petit Trou de Bretagne” to drink and watch the games. With the windows open in my apartment, I could also hear the cheers and boos coming from neighboring buildings

Last night at dinner in a 15th-arrondissement bistrot where the tables have spilled onto the sidewalk to take advantage of the perfect Summer weather, not only was my dinner companion calling friends to check on the scores, but so were others surrounding us. I admit, I glimpsed just a bit of one of the matches for a few moments when my daughter’s boyfriend wheeled the TV into the dining room to eat dinner and watch at the same time. “Quel horreur!”

While the soccer players are the best-looking sportsman I’ve ever seen, with lean muscular bodies any heterosexual woman wouldn’t “throw out of bed for eating crackers,” my fashion sense is in pain. The uniforms with their baggy pants and shirts need a serious redesign by Jean-Paul Gaultier, if you ask me!

And can you fans tell me why any man in his right mind would actually WANT to beat his brains out with a soccer ball?? France team players such as Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez born in Lavelanet, Les Ulis native Thierry Henry and Marseillais Zinedine Zidane (who was ruled out of the World Cup Group G decider after picking up a second yellow card in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against South Korea) soon won’t be able to connect their brain cells to speak in full sentences if they continue to “back head” (a player’s use of their head to direct the ball backwards) or “dive head” (a ball struck near ground level by the head of a diving player).

I know most of you out there really get a charge out of watching 11 healthy males chase and project a black and white ball up and down a large field trying to get the blessed thing into the net just to score a point and show the world you’re better than the rest, but let’s face it, chasing a ball is just plain silly.

To what purpose does it serve, I ask? The ball just lands in the net, no? Does it cure cancer or the common cold?

I know, I know. I can just hear you say it: “Women chase balls, too!” And to that, I can’t help but jest…”but, to a better purpose.”

(Can you see me smiling?)

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parl

er Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. UPDATE! The Insider Guide to Black Paris just got updated with the latest Summer 2006 issue. Learn about where to find African music this evening and all throughout the year. Visit to order your copy.

P.P.S. For women and men who love women, Lucinda Holdforth’s new book “True Pleasures: A Memoir of Women in Paris” is now available on Parler Paris at /parlerparis/books/booksaboutfrance.html


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