Monday, April 2, 2012

Rue Mouffetard and the Luxembourg Gardens

One of the top items on our Paris "To Do List" (yes, Anne has one!) was to revisit Rue Mouffetard, a vibrant market street that becomes even livelier on a Sunday afternoon when singer/accordionist Christian Bassoul makes his weekly appearance.  We saw Christian for the first time about 3 years ago and were thoroughly charmed, so we couldn't wait to see him again.

Christian sets up right out in the street and plays all the old French chansons -- the kind of music that Edith Piaf loved to sing.  A crowd gathers around him, and song sheets are distributed so you can sing-along and dance right there on the square.  Every so often a hat is passed around for donations.  It is truly one of the most magical of Paris moments.

Sexy women sing:

And the not so sexy sing, too:

And everybody dances right there on the street:

At one point, Christian played the old tune - "Never on Sunday," and we got drawn into a Greek-style dancing circle.  Everyone was having so much fun.  A man in a wheelchair was in the center of the circle, twirling around on two wheels with his legs high in the air - as tho dancing on wheels in his mobile chair.  It was such a wonderful, inclusive feeling -- all of us drawn together by music and a sense of camaraderie on this beautiful spring day.  And Christian was at the center of it all.

We were lucky enough to actually meet and talk with Christian.  What a nice guy!  Christian told us that his accordionist friend had played the music in the movie,"Midnight in Paris."  (If we understood correctly, Woody Allen heard this man playing at one of Christian's Sunday afternoon get-togethers and asked him to perform in the movie) .  Anne, who loved the movie, was totally impressed.  Then, Christian got this friend to play the music from the movie, and he dedicated it to us, his "friends from Pennsylvania!"  Paris really is a place where dreams come true.

Christian with his "friends from Pennsylvania!"

Our next stop was another favorite spot of ours: Luxembourg Gardens.  On this beautiful early spring day, the park was jam-packed with Parisians soaking up the warm temperatures:

It was almost like being down at the New Jersey Shore.  Or like a modern version of Seurat's painting "Sunday Afterrnoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte."

We love to watch the children launching wooden sailboats on the famous Luxembourg Gardens pond, but it must have been too early in the season for the lady who rents the sailboats.  However, the pond and the Luxembourg Palace behind it were still lovely:

Back at the apartment, we enjoyed what has become our late afternoon ritual out on our balcony: updating our journals

and satisfying our thirst:

P.S.  Don't worry -- we only drink a little from each bottle, not three bottles a day!!

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