Friday was June 21, the date each year of La Fête de la musique (the Festival of Music). I had stumbled across it two years ago and been simply blown away. Hundreds of free musical performances, in all genres, take place simultaneously across the city. Central Paris (at least) is thronged with happy people, many of them young and attractive (and drunk). My 2011 blog post, including links to several video clips, is at this link. I was interested to learn that the event is intended to be world-wide; the closest thing we have is New Year’s Eve, but the summer solstice is more conducive to outdoor fun.
Jared and I started the day with another walk across the 5ème, which he remembered fondly from his student days. It was cloudy, but the flowers in the Jardin du Luxembourg were still pretty.
Jared raised a question that I hadn’t previously focused on: How do those palm trees survive the winter? On closer examination we confirmed that each was in a large pot, so they could be moved into an Orangerie (a large greenhouse) during the winter months.
We had lunch at a nearby brasserie: two quite acceptable salades Niçoise.
We had another Vélib’ issue after lunch, even though there were lots of bikes: I got one right away with my annual card but the terminal (borne) at the nearby station was frozen. The next closest station was a considerable walk, but there we both got bikes. I headed home and Jared went shopping.
I had been chatting on line for a few days with a young Parisian man named Hugues (pronounced, roughly, “Oog”). It suddenly developed that he had time for an apéro that very afternoon. We met at the LB, which I like because you can people watch on both rue Montorgueil and rue Tiquetonne. Jared and I had made previous plans to cook dinner together that evening, and on a whim I invited Hugues to join us. The three of us had a lovely time cooking and eating a fish dinner made with fresh ingredients Jared had just bought along rue Montorgueil.
After dinner the three of us met up with Geoff, who introduced us to yet another cozy and friendly gay bar, Les Souffleurs. My first year in Paris I lived for a month just a couple of blocks away, on the same street, but I never realized that this place was there. I don’t much enjoy the big noisy style of bar, but I found this place sympa. I’ll definitely be back!
We bar-hopped to Le Labo, a modern bar a few blocks away where Hugues had installed the lighting and video screens. The technology was impressive but the crowd was sparse and I see no reason to go back. At the end of the evening Geoff headed home and Hugues walked Jared and me back to 59, rue Saint-Sauveur. On any other night the métro would already have stopped, but it runs all night on La Fête de la musique.
Hugues is not fluent in English so our on-line chat and nearly all of the evening’s conversation was carried on in French. Geoff is fluent in French, while Jared and I are both pas mal, so the language barrier wasn’t an issue. There were even a few amusing times when Jared and Geoff lapsed into English and I translated for Hugues.
Mot du jour: « rencard ». Slang for a rendezvous, but I prefer the definition in Google Translate: “hot date”.
Bonus mot du jour: « célibataire ». Jared did a double-take when Hugues said he was « célibataire ». I clarified that this meant “single,” not “celibate.”