There are a few places on this earth that really know how to party. New Orleans is one of them (if you’ve ever trekked from bar to bar down Bourbon Street, you’d know this) and Paris is another.
This past weekend was like a “progressive” party, moving from one to the next, filling yet another glass full of wine, munching on (mostly) “charcuterie” in the celebration of…life in Paris.
It started with Friday night when the 12 markets at the Marché aux Puces Saint-Ouen opened their doors (by invitation only) during the “Mondial de l’Antiquité.” Marilyn Monroe look-alikes in white halter dresses stood over blowers that raised their full skirts like Marilyn in “the Seven Year Itch” at the entrance to Marché Malassis. Many of the other entrances were draped in plush red or hot pink velvets. Brazilian bands beat their drums to a brisk rhythm as they worked their way down rue des Rosiers and scantily-clad women in sequined and feathered costumes danced seductively before them.
The dealers’ stands were awash with delicacies…”charcuterie” and smoked salmon, patés, breads, cheeses, fruit, desserts and even fresh raw oysters on the half-shell. The guests and dealers weren’t talking about antiques that night. They were talking about which stand had the best spread of food! “Mais oui!” — we sampled as many as we could. In the midst of it all, we did manage to find the perfect wrought iron chandelier for rue de la Huchette, but I doubt many sales were made that evening.
Saturday the party continued, this time on the Butte Montmartre for the annual “Vendanges” parade and festivities. At one of the many stands of “charcuterie,” “fromage” and wine on the street next to Sacre Coeur, we sampled sausage from Savoie which had been cooking in an enormous wine barrel cut open in half over layers of straw and fresh herbs and downed it with a glass of red wine from the region.
As luck would have it, we chatted with a restauranteur of Montmartre who invited us to take a seat on his terrace seemingly on the parade route. As luck would not have it, the parade had been diverted one block away, but the spot was just as delightful at La Bonne Franquette, 18 rue Saint-Rustique, just at the corner of rue des Saules overlooking all the gaiety.
Just before the parade completed passing near our corner, we headed into the crowd and then into the parade itself and become a part of it…along with the various associations parading in native costume, horse drawn carriages, brass bands wearing bright-colored boas, even Scots in kilts. A woman was drinking wine directly from a small barrel…there were smiles on everyone’s faces. In the midst of the festivities, with revelry all around her, a young girl stopped for a brief moment just to pause at the flash of my camera, unaware of what might become of the image.
To descend from the Butte, we were forced to take a precarious route along a ledge of Sacre Coeur until we found our way through the massive crowds down the hundreds of steps that line the “Funiculaire” to the Métro below at Anvers. The sun was starting to set, but the partying continued…
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]
P.S. Come party with me tomorrow 3 to 5 p.m. at Parler Paris Après Midi…it’s my birthday and you’re all invited.
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* Parler Parlor is not the same as Parler Paris! Practice speaking FRENCH…
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