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Summer Solstice in the City of Light

 La Fête de la Musique logo - Paris, FranceLa Fête de la Musique at the Jardin du Palais-RoyalLa Fête de la Musique - Paris, FranceLa Fête de la Musique merguez stand - Paris, FranceLa Fête de la Musique - Paris, FranceLa Fête de la Musique - Paris, FranceLa Fête de la Musique - Paris, France

It’s so heavenly that the sun sets so late — at 9:57 p.m. On the 21st, the longest day of the year, it is scheduled to set at 9:58 p.m. and will stay like that for another few days after.

The sun sets later here because of the position of the city by longitude and latitude, as well as elevation, “driven by the axial tilt of Earth, daily rotation of the Earth, the planet’s movement in its annual elliptical orbit around the Sun, and the Earth and Moon’s paired revolutions around each other.” (

That may seem like a lot of garble to those who aren’t so up on astronomy (like me), but basically we benefit from Paris being further north. Paris is on a Latitude of 48°51’N and a Longitude of 2°21’E while New York is on a Latitude of 43°10’N and a Longitude of 77°37’W.* The sun will set in New York City on June 21st at 8:31 p.m.

Sorry, New Yorkers, we’ve got you beat! And this makes for great summers in the “City of Light.”

June 21st, the Summer Solstice, is particularly special thanks to an event that has taken place every year since 1982 — “La Fête de la Musique.”

Launched in Paris by the French Ministry for culture, the Summer Solstice festival is now held in more than 100 countries in Europe and in other cities across the globe. It’s a free and public event, open to any participant (amateur or professional musicians) who wants to perform in it. And for those of us who are not musicians or performers, we are lucky enough to be on the listening end, here to enjoy every minute.

The place TO BE this year is the Jardin du Palais-Royal. On the occasion of this 33rd festival, the Ministry of Culture and Communication will be honoring urban music and has organized free concerts in the gardens. Start off at 6:30 p.m. around the fountain, where you can listen to an amateur choir with 90 choristers led by tenor Marco Avallone, then from 7:30 p.m. on a big stage, one group will follow another: Tarace Boulba’s urban funk, Nemir with rap, La Fine Equippe on electronic pads and synthesizers and Oxmo Puccino, a man of many talents with six albums and many awards.

If you just want to wander the streets and find what strikes your fancy, you will discover various performances, both official and not-so-official at the museums and monuments, concert halls, gardens and parks, train stations, mairies (city halls), churches, hospitals and of course, just along the streets, on the corners and in the squares…just about anywhere and everywhere! Le Marais is one of the best spots in town, particularly around Place des Vosges where the acoustics are particularly special and conducive to singers and classical music.

While you’re out and about, grab a grilled merguez (spicy mutton or beef-based North African sausage) from a make-shift stand or find an outdoor spot for dinner, then head out to take it all in. And let’s hope for pleasant weather to make it one of the best Fête de la Musiques ever!

For more information, visit the official Web site. You may search the program or download the complete program (in French). You can also visit their Facebook page, and easier still, be sure to download the app to your pocket device so you can be free as a bird and hear what what you will!

* Note: The latitude specifies a location’s distance north or south of the equator. The longitude specifies the location’s distance east or west from an imaginary line connecting the North and South Poles, called the Prime Meridian. Latitude and longitude are used together to specify the geographical coordinates of a location on Earth. Latitudes, represented by the Greek letter phi (F), are called parallels and longitudes, denoted by the Greek letter lambda (?), are called meridians. (

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - The Adrian Leeds Group, INC Adrian Leeds

Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

(ready for La Fête de la Musique)


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P.P.S. Stock up on your summer reading while suporting SOS Help at the Bag of Books Sale, Saturday, July 5 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the steps of St. Joseph’s Church, 50 avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris. You pay only 5€ per bag…what a deal! For more information visit SOS Help


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