Saturday night we headed out to the edge of Paris, the 20th Arrondisement, to spend an evening at Le Vieux Belleville an intentionally old fashioned bistro decorated with pictures of Edith Piaf and a young Maurice Chevalier. Le Vieux Belleville (The Old Belleville) promised classic chanson singing in a cozy bistro setting.We got there about 8:30 and started with aperitifs while waiting for things to heat up.
We assumed this would be a pretty touristy event but hoped that since it was so far out of central Paris that it wouldn’t feel that way. And it didn’t. The folks behind us in this picture are from Normandy. Several of them live in Paris now and others were visiting. The people on our right were from Paris and next to them were a couple of Belgians. There were a couple of people from Oz and a couple of Germans, but most of the conversation in the room was French and we didn’t spot any other Americans.
It was a friendly inclusive crowd that put up with our horrible French and dredged up their school girl English and in some cases very fine English. These folks were enthusiastically including shouts and hand gestures to punctuate an old French drinking song.
At 11:30 or so things started to break up; I am outside looking back in while Ed gets in that one last song.
The bistrot is steps from the edge of the hill overlooking Parc Belleville and one of the most stunning panoramas of Paris. The cafe in this picture is across the street from the bistrot; I had stopped here for a drink and the view on my street art walk on our last trip. (https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/graffitti-street-art-vandalism/) At 12, as we headed through the rain towards the subway for the long ride home it felt like a moment from Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.