16 December 2011

2 Days in Paris, Part 1

Wow. 2 jam-packed days in Paris.  And I'm actually going to talk about klezmer (but that will come a little later)!

So the little getaway didn't really start off too promisingly. I awoke at 6am after only 3 hours of sleep to get to Sch√∂nefeld Airport in time for my 9am flight to Paris.  After discovering that the EasyJet terminal at the airport kept very poor hygiene (particular in the washroom), I embarked the plane.  This was the singlemost turbulent flight I've ever been on.  In the take off and landing phases, I felt like a bridge-crew member on Star Trek, getting shaken violently left and right in unison with my fellow travelers.  The winds were so bad that on the descent into Orly airport, the pilot had to abort the landing and circle around for another try.  We finally got on to the ground on the 2nd attempt, much to my stomach's relief....

The trip from the airport into Paris was as smooth as can be, but with the multiple trains, took well over an hour.  I arrived at Jonathan's apartment right within our arranged window of time.  Jonathan is a friend from KlezKanada a couple of years ago . . .he's a great Jazz saxophonist.  We went to lunch and then he went off to work (teaching clarinet... sound familiar?) while i returned to the apartment to plot my time in Paris while taking shelter from a freakish, sudden hail storm.  Fortunately, it passed quickly and left lovely weather behind while I set off into Paris, first to the nearby Bastille.

My first stop after the Bastille was Notre Dame.  And wow. not only was it breathtaking (inside and out), but with the sun coming out, and starting to set, the light was absolutely amazing while hitting this beautiful cathedral.

From there, it was on to the Louvre.  While it wasn't open (not on Tuesdays), the setting sun made for awesome photos.

Finally, I wandered up to the Opera house and got on the Metro to get to Cabaret Sauvage, the venue where I would see Gogol Bordello.  Now, if you don't know who Gogol Bordello is, head to www.gogolbordello.com right now.  The concert itself was amazing.  Basically, the band was closing their acoustic tour in Paris.  For them, acoustic meant leaving the electric bass player and electric guitar player at home, playing with a 5-piece band  consisting of acoustic guitar (and lead vocals), accordion, violin, percussion, and back-up singer.  The room at Cabaret Sauvage was fantastic, with amazingly clear sound.  The place was pretty full, complete with crowd surfing, at least one woman throwing her bra on stage, and a plethora of encores, probably due to the fact that it was the last show of the tour. 

Finally, I made it back and got a decent night's sleep at Jonathan's, which I was really going to need!

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