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Making Music on the Summer Solstice

I can’t remember ever having missed a “Fête de la Musique” in all the years of living here. There is something so special about this grown-to-be-internationally-wide festival on a day that lasts till 10 p.m. (TimeAndDate.com predicts 9:58 p.m. to be exact) when anyone and everyone who has any musical talent at all comes to the streets, the concert halls, the cafés and bars…and any corner that will accept them, to play, sing and dance just for the hell of it.

It all started here, ‘of course,’ 27 years ago (this is the 28th edition) thanks to the French Ministry of Culture and Jack Lang, the then Minister of Culture (who happens to live in the Place des Vosges) to “let the music be everywhere, but the concert nowhere.” Like a ‘pandemic,’ the musical “maladie” has spread to more than 100 countries in Europe and all over the world…always on the 21st of June, the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.

I emphasize ‘of course,’ because France’s cultural network among embassies, cultural centers and institutes, such as the Alliance Française, has helped spread the free festival, to the point that there is now a professional and institutional network, called “Fête Européenne de la Musique.”

If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing the festival, then
either start planning your next vacation in France around June 21st, find one in another spot on the globe or create your own! You’ll find it addictive in any weather.

If you’re in Paris, you’ll stumble upon music being played everywhere, in all forms, but in some parts of the city, it is more ‘concentrated’ than in others — particularly in Le Marais. This is either the part of town you will want to be or avoid, depending on your propensity toward crowds. As a resident of Le Marais, it’s home turf and the ONLY place to be (from my perspective).

Here are some of the highlights for Sunday in Le Marais:

3RD ARRONDISSEMENT:

Duo-musette
L’estaminet des Enfants Rouges – Marché des Enfants Rouges – 39 rue de Bretagne

Fête de la Musique à l’Institut Suédois
Centre Culturel Suédois – Hôtel de Marle – 10 rue Elzévir

La Visite des Fanfares
Cour du Musée d’art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme – 71 rue du Temple

12ème Edition du Festival Soirs d’Eté
Beginning with Mulêketù
Mairie de 3ème
2, rue Eugène Spuller

4TH ARRONDISSEMENT:

Désir d’Orient, Happy Together!, Chantez avec les Tigresses DiatoniquesAt
Place des Vosges

Musique à la Cité Internationale des Arts
Cité Internationale des Arts – 18 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville

Rock and Glam
Place Stravinsky

The Bludgies and A Special Cull
Place du Bourg Tibourg

5ème Festival des Cultures Juives
Place du Marché Sainte Catherine

Before you set off, however, check the program for the times and all the other venues. You’ll find all the information you will need at the official site (
http://fetedelamusique.culture.fr ), but expect four times the number of not-so-official performers wherever there are listeners.

Plan a route and work your way from one great venue to another. Meanwhile, the restaurants with outdoor seating will be ‘standing-room-only’ (as long as the weather is nice) so plan ahead for dinner, or look for signs of smoke where there is likely “merguez” (North African red, spicy sausage) on a grill to be eaten on a baguette and eat along the way.

Don’t forget to bring your umbrella (just in case of rain) or sweater or jacket (just in case of cool winds), your ears (to hear the music), your eyes (to see the sights)…and most of all, your smile (to prove you’re having fun).


At the Fête de la Musique

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Many of you have pointed out that our link to the “Le Palace des Vosges” (the Fractional Ownership luxury apartment in the Place des Vosges) wasn’t working. Mea Culpa! The good news is it’s now fixed. We’re always glad to hear from you, so, send us your questions, hopes, dreams, observations, suggestions. And check out the site, devoted to “Le Palace,” the most exciting fractional in Paris. Why not bookmark it? We update the site all the time. http://www.palacedesvosges.com

P.P.S. Today’s the day our House Hunters International airs! Scroll down for the times! Don’t miss it and let us know what you think…

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