I miss you already, rich white people who think you’re in Spain! I’m back in Montpellier, where the livin’ is easy and dogs are led on strings by heavily pierced heroin addicts sipping 40-centime beer at 9.30AM.
I know this, because I just came back from the store and passed three of them.
I have arrived just in time for the Fête de la Musique, one of my favorite French things (baguettes and Veuve Clicquot being the other things). Always held on the 21st of June and a nationwide event, Fête de la Musique turns every town – from Paris to the tiniest mountainside hamlet – into an open-air music venue. Bars, cafes, restaurants, churches, opera houses, parks, slightly large intersections – you name it, you’ll find music there.
One of my favorite bars unfortunately sets up Honda-sized speakers and blasts reggae; even more unfortunate, DJs blasting reggae seems to have overtaken this once-traditional festival here in Montpel. However, there are hidden gems of live music if you’re willing to stroll around and get lost.
Last year we saw a great jazz band, and a cover band that segued from “No Woman, No Cry” into the Police’s “So Lonely” in breathtaking fashion. We ended the evening sitting on the steps of the Church St. Roch, grooving to a spot-on AC/DC cover band that had the crowd on its feet the entire time.
If you’re in France for the Fête de la Musique, put on your walking shoes, bring along some change to buy refreshments from outdoor stands, and see what you can find. Many towns have maps printed in their local paper or website pages dedicated to the festival, but there is nothing quite like turning a corner and discovering a small group formed around live musicians playing in the summer sun.
Bon Fête de la Musique!