Let’s be honest, visiting Paris can be a bit of a strain. If you don’t fly in or take the Eurostar you will certainly find yourself in hell. In the days before GPS, driving on the Périferique or ring road looking for the right exit en route to the South was the nerve-racking highlight of the holidays. Driving in Paris itself was and still is akin to suicide. You’ll hear that sort of madness in Parisian Thoroughfare. They claim that New York never sleeps but Paris is surely on amphetamines too, after Midnight in Paris comes more Paris, some brasseries, bars and restaurants stay open all night. Paris sera toujours Paris,
Paris will always be Paris, no matter what time of the day or night, there will always be something to like or dislike. Always something to keep you on the move too, you don’t want to miss out on the Swing de Paris, though finding the original sound today might prove to be as illusive as finding true love on the banks of the Seine. Just make sure to catch that 5am moment when Paris wakes up or Paris s’éveille. In 1991 this was voted the best French song ever by the readers of the Weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, beating Brel’s Ne me quitte pas. Faut le faire. And it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the City of Love.
When to go? That’s a good question, Paris can be very wet indeed, with the Seine in recent times flooding both in winter and summer. So spring in Paris or Le printemps à Paris might be the best time, why not go in Paris Mai (May) and reminisce about half a century of student protests.
It’s easy to catch the blues in a city that can seem too big, those boulevards can devour you, but it’s not the Paris Blues one feels on The Place Charles de Gaulle, but le cafard, a word coined by Baudelaire. He thought the words mélancholie and tristesse did not cover the feeling of inexplicable depression well enough. When there is No Moon in Paris you can always howl at the 20.000 lightbulbs in the Tour Eiffel. A cafard is a cockroach, by the way. If you find one in your budget hotel room grab a copy of The Paris Match and do your thing. Why not climb the rooftops, A Place in Paris where you might finally feel A Free Man in Paris, and maybe you’ll meet the aristocats there …
Arc de Triomphe etcetera A-List Playlist:
Clifford Brown – Parisian Thoroughfare
Unholy Modal Rounders – Midnight in Paris
Zaz – Paris sera toujours Paris
Django Reinhardt – Swing de Paris
Jacques Dutronc – Il est cinq heures, Paris s’éveille
Jacqueline Taieb – Le printemps à Paris
Claude Nougaro – Paris mai
Terry Callier – Paris Blues
Marianne Faithfull – No Moon in Paris
The Style Council with Tracy Thorn – The Paris Match
Matt Monro – A Place in Paris
Joni Mitchell – A Free Man in Paris
Beautiful Boulevard B-List Playlist:
Eartha Kitt – Under The Bridges of Paris
Rufus Wainwright – Coeur de Parisienne
Tony Joe White – Paris Mood Tonight
Les Négresses Vertes – Quai De Jemappes
Buffy Sainte-Marie – Guess Who I saw in Paris
Petit Yodé et L'enfant Siro - 1er jour à Paris
Joe Dassin – Champs Elysées
Nat King Cole – Azure Te
Beausoleil – Arc De Triomphe Two Step
Julie London – Lonely Night iin Paris
Pierre Bensusan – Près de Paris
Guru’s Wildcard Pick:
Madeleine Peyroux – J’ ai deux amours
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: We'll always have ... songs about Paris The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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