Paris Fete de la Musique or Bastille Day

Old Dec 20th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Paris Fete de la Musique or Bastille Day

Which of these two festivals gives you the best experience of French culture? Which festival do you prefer?
buzzybuzz is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2005, 07:40 PM
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I was in Paris this year for the Fete de la Musique and it was such fun! My friend and I just wandered around the neighborhood we stayed in (bastille) and found dozens of bands to stop and listen to awhile. She thought it was amazing how everyone had a bottle of wine or beer and walked around drinking it. Seattle, my hometown, would never do such a thing so the whole experience was so festive and interesting.

As for Bastille Day I was in Avignon and sat by the river for the fireworks. I have no idea what was going on in Paris.
I'd love to be there for Fete De la Musique again with the schedule. I think there are some big bands that attend.
good luck!
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Old Dec 20th, 2005, 10:38 PM
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The best experience of French culture comes outside of holidays, since holidays by definition are special (and thus fairly artificial) occasions.
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Old Dec 21st, 2005, 08:44 AM
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Personally, I avoid Fête de la Musique like the plague, it just converts Paris into a giant Bourbon Street, with more beer than bourbon, and conflicting ghetto blasters instead of jazz. Plus, I know it's not politically correct, especially nowadays, but it's just an opportunity for the banlieue to descend on Paris and "have fun" their own way... which can sometimes be quite rough.
It's definitely not for the agoraphobic!

More or less of the same actually happens for Bastille day, but the little podiums with live bands in front of each mairie d'arrondissement, the bals des pompiers in each fire department, are still OK and typically Parisian. And you always have the fireworks and the military parade, if that's your kind of thing. Beware of fire crackers though.
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Old Dec 21st, 2005, 09:32 AM
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I don't think of either of those festivals as giving that great a glimpse into "French culture" per se. They're just big, sometimes rowdy, noisy street parties.

I enjoy both of them, but way way way far away from Paris, in small villages where things are more peaceful and the local people have bals dansants and outdoor feasts and such.

If it's a real "cultural" French festival you're interested in, I'd recommend visiting the Félibrée in the Périgord or some other longstanding regional fête.
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