It wasn’t until mid-week when I was informed that Monday would be a holiday, so we had a long weekend coming up right away- no Monday classes! I kind of wished this information had been presented/advertised sooner, as I would have planned a weekend trip further out of town if I could have booked earlier. As it was I had several local adventures, including some theatre, another Basillica, a flea market, shopping in the Marais, the Seine walkway, a jazz concert, the Arc Du Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, Spoken Word, and a day trip to Fontainebleu! No complaints about that list!!
So from the beginning…or, Friday/Saturday…
Friday night I wanted to see some theatre so I picked up a “Pariscope”- a magazine with a detailed list of all events and arts going on in the city this summer- totally worth the 0.50€ it cost! I was hoping to see a show I had already seen in English so I had some context, and discovered that Molière’s L’Invalide Imaginaire was playing at Comedie Française, and I convinced a classmate to come with me. We saw that there were reduced price tickets for ‘restricted’ view seats, and when we went to purchase them we realized they are even cheaper than we thought – at 5€ each! C’était bon!
The show was very funny, but one thing about comedies that is for certain: they are very fast- the actors speak very quickly most of the time, so it was quite challenging at times to understand exactly what was being said. We had to go over what happened afterwards when we went to a cafe (called Molière!) for drinks after the show. Friday was a warm day, and the evening weather here is often perfect for walking around and finding a good bar or cafe to have a ‘happy hour’ drink- I have noticed that many of the bars in Paris have 4 or 5-hour long ‘happy hours’! Basically, if you go after 5 or 6, luck is on your side. (And since pop/soda is about the same price as a beer or glass of wine (!), this makes a difference to this coca-cola drinking girl. (Also, here, you ask for a ‘coca’, not a coke, if you want to say it ‘correctly’.)
Complete side note: I am finding that Parisians are so nice!! I am currently at a cafe, and the girl next to me needed a phone charger as her android phone is about to die. I couldn’t help her, but a stranger on the other side of me heard her ask me and offered his charger. I also find that shop owners and locals are very encouraging when I fumble with my French, or ask where I am from because they can ‘hear a slight accent’ to my French. I’ll take that ‘*slight* accent’ as one for the ‘win’ column! 🙂
On the very hot and sunny Saturday I went up to Basillique Saint-Denis, at the suggestion of my friend Diana. A lot of the exterior was under construction, but inside you could defintely appreciate the grandeur and majesty of the building. Plus, the temperature inside was very cool, which was delightful. 🙂
The square outside was pretty busy, as there had been some sort of celebration/festival of Saint Denis going on. I was about to head back to the metro when I saw some tents on the other side of the square and discovered my first French flea market.
This place was crazy! There were clothes, housewares, cleaning products, jewelry, scarves and saris of every color and style, and it was a busy place- vendors calling out “allez allez allez allez” and other such things to get people to come over to their stall. I think that most people would have a hard time not buying *anything at all* if you had any cash on you- it’s hard to resist 3€ pumps- even if they only last for one night out!! ;).
I took the busy metro back to the centre of Paris and walked along the Seine, enjoying the many people out walking, biking, skateboarding and rollerblading in the sunshine! A brass band started playing just as I came to the steps by the Musée D’Orsay, and played some great covers of pop music with tuba, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, and percussion.
I also walked by the Bridge of Locks again, which, you may have heard on the news- had a section of the railing collapse from the weight of the locks on Sunday and police had to evacuate the bridge! Too many lovers…. Insert your own joke here… 😉
Another discovery in the Pariscope magazine is that it is Festival season in Paris! So now a jazz festival has begun. Saturday night I made my way to the Parc Floral De Paris to watch a jazz show on their outdoor stage; the concert is free with admission to the park – another evening of entertainment for 5€!
The Park is at the south end of the Chateau Du Vincennes that we visited last week, and is probably very lovely during the day, and is free to visit on weekdays. I’ll definitely plan to make it back there! I didn’t explore too much of it as I wanted to get to the concert. The band performing was called Paolo Fresu Quintet, and they were fantastic!
There were people all over the place sitting on the grass, on benches, and of course right by the stage where there was concert seating. I sat across the lake to listen, as the acoustics were great. It’s a common occurrence to see large groups of Parisians spending time with friends around the city, and here was no exception. Not only did I see an energetic group of people just outside the park playing badminton in a field, but there were a couple groups of people down the odd pathway playing la pétanque (bocce), but in the park at the concert there were numerous groups of anywhere from four to twelve people sitting on blankets, towels, and mats with a pile of food in the middle of them and boxes of beer and bottles of wine strewn around them. There were lots of families and some particularly hilarious kids were trying to do kart wheels and handstands nearby throughout the evening. It was a truly relaxed atmosphere (un air le détendu), and I loved it.
Be prepared- Sunday/Monday is the lopsided part of the weekend. Il y a beaucoup des photos!