Fête de la Musique 2015, Paris

Fête de la Musique 2015, Paris

Every year, Paris celebrates the summer solstice with the annual Fête de la Musique – showcasing a wide variety of free music concerts throughout the city. With music on show from all different types of genres, there is something for everyone to hear and experience during the Fête de la Musique.

With so many different performances, it was really difficult to decide where to go and who to see. So thanks to the handy A Nous Paris guide, I was able to make the most of the day. First off I headed to the Jardin des Tuileries, where there were a number of live jazz ensembles. With people enjoying the music and sun under those famous Manet trees, it was easy to see why so many love Fête de la Musique.

From there, I headed over to meet some friends at Place de la Republique and also by the Canal Saint-Martin. This was one of the main areas for those attending Fête de la Musique. With a massive stage, and an even bigger crowd, it was an awesome place and atmosphere to hear some music.

Not only were live performances displayed on main stages like the one at Republique, but throughout the city. Just walking down the Rues of the 5th Arrondissement, we bumped into an assortment of live performers on street corners and even some on a truck!

However, the personal highlight of attending the Fête de la Musique was going to the Centre Culturel Irlandais. Despite having to shut their doors due to overcapacity, we were finally able to enter the cultural centre, and I am so glad that we did! There we saw some awesome music, including the beautifully enchanting singer Lisa Hannigan (video below). We were then treated to the wonderful Brass ensemble Booka Brass Band – who were awesome! (another video below) Performing some original songs, as well as some jazzed up covers, this brass band knew how to make the audience dance! Which, as in true Irish style, included an impromptu Céilí – no better way to end an Irish gathering!

I recommend going to Fête de la Musique if you’re in Paris during this time, or anywhere else in the country (and now it’s even an international festival!) There is a feeling of unity during this Festival, bringing all walks of people and music lovers together. This day was just another list in the things that have made me fall even more in love with the city.

You can view more of my photographs here on my Flickr account.

Marche Républicaine

Marche Républicaine

Yesterday was a day of unity and defiance in Paris, as nearly four million people joined in France’s biggest rally in history. The purpose of the march was to pay respect and remember the victims of the attacks this week, to show solidarity, and to show the nation’s values of liberté, égalité, fraternité.

I am truly honoured to have been able to be part of this moment in history, and my own experience of the march was unforgettable. As we waited to walk, the atmosphere in the Place de la République was extraordinary. This was really an occasion of harmony, as people of all ages, religions and nationalities were part of the rally.

Adorning the crowds were messages of ‘Je suis Charlie’ and ‘Nous sommes Charlie’, not only in French but in various other languages including Arabic. Other declared ‘Nous some la République’, ‘Je suis Musilm’ and one noticeable sign I saw, read: ‘Je préfère mourir debout que vivre à genoux’ (‘I’d rather die standing than live on your knees’). There were also hundreds of flags high above the crowds, including many different nations such as French flags, and flags of African and Asian countries. Not only were signs and flags present, but also many people held pens and pencils, as well as oversize pencils, as the symbol of freedom of speech and the press.

Throughout the event various chants were sung across the crowds, with people shouting ‘we are not afraid’, roars of ‘Je suis Charlie’ and ‘Charlie, Charlie, Charlie.’ One striking chant was when everyone applauded the police and gendarmes shouting ‘merci police’, which I thought was incredibly poignant. During the rally the French national anthem La Marseillaise was sung in harmony by all those attending, an inspiring moment of unity for the French nation.

Before commencing the rally, President Hollande stated that ‘Today, Paris is the capital of the world’, and I really felt that it was. This day was a historic moment when all walks of life united to show solidarity in the face of darkness.

You can see more photographs that I took during the march here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157649834826668/

 

 

Place de la République, #jesuischarlie

Place de la République, #jesuischarlie

At 11am on Thursday 8th January I decided to go to the Place de la République, where the night before vigils took place for those whose lives were taken away the previous day during the Charlie Hebdo attack. Surrounding the monument at the centre of the Place were many tributes, which included candles, pens and flowers. Furthermore, as I walked around it was hard to not notice the repetitive inscriptions of ‘Je suis Charlie’ on the ground. What was poignant was that these sentences were not only written in French, but in a variety of languages including Arabic. It was incredibly moving to see the what was left from the previous night’s gathering, and below are some of the photos that I took.

This Sunday I will be attending a Marche Républicane to pay hommage to the victims of all these attacks.

(See more on my Flickr album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157649782372850/)