“Musique” to Our Ears Over the Years and This Year
June is one of the best months to be in France…thanks to La Fête de la Musique and other annual events that have chosen June in which to take place. Coincidentally, music was our theme at yesterday’s “Parler Paris Après Midi” when Rock Star Kim Bingham told us how tough it is to break into the music business and played one of her own recorded songs! (Read all about it at Parler Paris Après Midi)
Surely you already know about ‘La Fête’ that launched in 1982 thanks to the French Ministry for Culture and Jack Lang, a Socialist who served as Minister of Culture, then of Education and as Mayor of Blois and finally in the National Assembly from the sixth district of Pas-de-Calais. La Fête de la Musique is free, public, open to any participant (amateur or professional) and is set on the longest day of the year — June 21st, the Summer Solstice.
It’s an event that is impossible not to enjoy! Concerts of all kinds are happening everywhere…in open air areas such as streets and parks, in public buildings like museums, train stations, hospitals, châteaux, even prisons, as well as in cafés, restaurants, cultural centers…you name it. It started here, but now is held in more than 100 countries in Europe and all over the world.
There are lots of ‘official’ concerts and thrice as many ‘unofficial’ concerts taking place wherever any budding talent wants to perform. Remember, anyone can participate, as a listener, observer or performer. As long as the weather holds out, it’s the perfect time of year, with the sun out as late as until 10 p.m. (9:58 p.m. to be exact), to while away the evening hours strolling from one venue to the next and taking in all the sounds along the way.
Lots of street venders come out to serve up drinks and sandwiches, particularly “merguez” and “frites” — a chili-spiked North African lamb sausage served on baguette with french fries and topped with “harissa,” mustard, mayonnaise or ketchup. You can smell the merguez on the make-shift grills from blocks away — so just follow your nose to find one!
This year I’ll be taking in the sights and sounds of Fête de la Musique in Nice, rather than Paris…a change from the norm. Either way, it’s always one of life’s little pleasures that France is so great at achieving. Wherever you are, in any one of the almost 300 countries where the festival takes place, don’t miss it!