Yesterday was France’s annual Fête de la Musique, a nationwide celebration of the fifth art. According to the Ministry of Culture, more than 10,000 organized concerts were held throughout the country.
What I love about la fête, though, are the unofficial performances — the impromptu jam sessions and street corner acts that pop up all around the city, day and night. I stumbled upon this dark duo at 11 a.m. as I was strolling near the Panthéon. Their Goth mumblings didn’t rock my world, but they sure made me smile.
The newspaper, not the city dweller. Le Parisien is the daily journal of the Ile de France and, like all great metropolitan papers, it is a little bit informative, a little bit sensationalistic, and unflaggingly proud of its roots. When you're reading Le Parisien, you know you're in Paris. Even if you are a transplant like myself, the stories from the streets around you — les sans-papiers (illegal immigrants) who are on strike against the restaurants that employ them and the government that refuses them working papers, the installation of a new floating bridge on the canal de l'Ourcq, the day's traffic and air quality reports — pull you in and make you feel as though you belong, as if you're a part of things, maybe even a tad parisienne yourself.
Of course, that's not always a positive thing, Parisians having the reputation that they do. Yet Le Parisien even celebrates that — the very worst of its denizens' traits — with an advertising campaign that has a good, cynical laugh over what it means to be un parisien.