Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer Solstice 2006 (Paris)

There is something pagan about Paris that I love. Even its Catholicism, you feel, is just a front of its pagan roots.

Every year, on June 21, Paris turns into a giant block party. It's the day of La Fete de la Musique, or Music Festival. Bands pop up on every corner, sidewalk nook and plaza all around the city. One year, one street had a line of 40 pianos!

Our Latin Quarter was, of course, no exception.
B had a string of bands lined up to play and was nervous all day, watching the skies threatening to pour any minute, taking me along on shopping trips for necessities like toilet paper for the bar, and being generally restless.

Big Dog and I left him to his preparations and walked down to Rue Descartes/Rue Mouffetard where Verlaine once lived with Rimbaud. Here, too, there was music everywhere. A choir performance at the local centuries-old church, a loud grunge band (quite good) who turned out to be 3 elementary school kids... Near the Pantheon, a friar played with his band, and on the corner of Rue Soufflot, a Very French Gainsbourg-like guitarist played twangy, reverb-laden guitar.

"They like American music, don't they!"
"And they like American cinema," said Big Dog.
"I guess they like a lot of American stuff."
"Except the President."

Rue Royer Collard, B's street was also getting ready to party.

When we got back from dinner with friends, at 11pm, the tiny street was a zoo -- and it just got crazier and crazier...

until finally the cops came through at 2:30am to put a stop to the music.

By then, there was a bit of the devil in all of us.


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