Fete de la Musique — Celebrating the Solstice

Paris is always a party. This Monday June 21 Paris brought in the summer with an all night music fest.  There is a metro ticket good for that day anywhere in the Isle de France and there are both official music performances and spontaneous displays on almost every corner.  We started near the Louvre looking for opera singers  scheduled for a nearby church.  The first signs of the festival was a chorus in the square across from the Louvre.

A small spontaneous group that had tried to set up in the courtyard of the Louvre (the Paris Orchestra was playing under the pyramid so security wouldn’t let them set up) were singing nearby.

From here we wandered till we found our opera singers at the Oratoire du Louvre, which was a perfect setting for these fine sopranos. The rest of the night was a wander through crowds of revelers in the lights of a Paris night.  We began with a stroll across the Pont des Arts, the foot bridge that crosses the Seine at the Louvre. (the picture at the top of the piece is Ed on the bridge in the moonlight) The sun had just set and it was beautiful.The bridge leads from the Louvre to the Institute de France which is an organization that supports foundation for academic and cultural efforts. There were a couple of small bands on the bridgeand a large band on the steps of the  Institute de France.As we walked down towards the Pont Neuf and its equestrian statue of Henry IVthere were marching bands on the streets, pick up groups along the way, marching groups of drinkers with drums and this small group drumming down below alongside the river.At least some of the carousers had too much drink and not enough music and were brawling along the way.But mostly it was happy and loud and whimsical like this odd car with bubbles and a fountain on the bridge between Notre Dame and the Isle St. Louis.(we had to go over to the Isle to get Berthillon ice cream — cassis and cocoa amer for Ed and grand marnier and pear for me.  I love pear and it is a flavor common in France in ice creams, pastries, cookies — everything.)  Near Berthillon we saw some young women singing opera outside a real estate office where a street dinner had been held earlier.We finished the evening by circling the Cathedral before heading back to the 17th at 12:30.  Notre Dame at night is my favorite sight in the world. 

I can’t quite capture it on this little camera — it is truly magnificent.

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