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Summer in Paris: Where I Want to Be

I used to think October was the time of year to live and die in Paris. Now, I’m convinced that Summer has every other season beat, even in the heat.

Outdoors is where everyone is — at the open air cafés and restaurants, picnicking under the shade of the trees at the parks, languishing along the waters’ edges and taking advantage of the many cultural festivals the city has planned to keep us entertained. Clothing is minimal — women are in their filmiest dresses, their hair piled high on their heads; men are in their “marcel débardeur” T-shirts showing off their muscular tans, flip-flops are the shoes of choice and people have taken to licking “gelati” and “boule de glace” on crispy cones while walking down the streets.

Last night strolling home about midnight from a July 4th celebration dinner at an outdoor table on rue Montorgueil, I passed the Mairie of the 3rd arrondissement where a few hundred “voisins” (neighbors) were seated on plastic chairs enjoying a film on a large screen on the “parvis” (courtyard) of the city hall. This is the 9th edition of the Festival Soirs d’été which began June 21st and continues till July 14th, Bastille Day.

July 13th, while the Bals des Pompiers are in full force at the various “casernes” (firehouses) around town, the Mairie hosts a live band from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. where I plan to end our evening, after eating, drinking, dancing and flirting with the handsome firemen at the station on rue de Sévigné (number 7). (For more about the Soirs d’Eté, visit

The Bals des Pompiers normally start at 8 or 9 p.m. on both the 13th and 14th of July and continue into the wee hours of the morning on both occasions. I know American women who met their mates on these dates — when the young virile men (a fireman can be no older than 35!) steal kisses from all the ladies…who, of course, gladly let them! You can bet I’ll be there — although there is tough competition from the gorgeous waifish “filles Françaises.”

If you can survive the evening well enough, head to the avenue des Champs-Elysées at 9:30 a.m. the next morning for the annual Bastille Day parade, when M. Jacques Chirac, “Le président de la République,” inspects the troupes and pays tribute at Place de la Concorde. The stands are already in place awaiting his arrival.

If that isn’t enough, the annual fireworks at the Eiffel Tower blast off at 10 p.m. Friday night — the most stunning color and light show you are sure to see. My advice: take a picnic to the Champs de Mars at 8 p.m. and wait for the sun to go down and the fireworks to go up into the warm Paris night!

(The best listing I’ve found for complete information the Bals des Pompiers and all the Bastille Day events is at

This Summer, Paris is where I am and where I want to be.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. I know that this Paris is where I am and where I want to be. But if you aren’t so sure yourself, then don’t miss Sunday night’s Paris Soirée when Anne Morton,Ph.D. and Presidnet Tap Your Potential will “close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.” Anne will show

you how to tap your potential and share techniques you can use to live more fulfilling lives and to reach your goals with ease. ( For more information, visit /parlerparis/calendar.html or


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