From now on I am not going to listen to anybody when they try to tell me anything. When I told a friend I was going to spend August in Paris he did everything within his power to persuade me against it. It was going to be unbearably hot. It was going full of tourists. Everything was going to be shut down. It was going to destroy any happy impression I’d ever ever had of the city. Luckily I knew this chap of old to be of a ‘glass half empty persuasion and, though slightly unnerved, I ignored him and so here I am, under the grape vines.

Okay on a hot day you can barely move. My local café shut up shop last week. The airlessness on the metro sometimes hits you like a blow but, though you don’t hear it sung about so often, there’s an awful lot to be said for August in Paris.

For example, perhaps realising the people who remain in the city of a more penury stricken persuasion, the city lays on the most wonderful free events. I mean you have to love a city that ships in 18 tons of sand to create a seaside along the river and pull it off! The Paris Plages at the Seine briefly takes on a sort of Venice beach quality as its banks fill to the very edges with sun bathers, buskers and boules players.

An evening spent sipping wine at sunset, with two new friends, an improvised picnic of camembert, crackers and macaroons, listening to a crowd gathered around a piano, singing Jacques Brel songs, will remain a treasured memory.

As will the free concert listening to Piers Falconi playing in front of the Hotel Du Ville. Previously the venue of much historical mayhem and bloodshed (as is most of the city) I was not only grateful but relieved to be there under more convivial circumstances. Especially when Rachel managed to score back stage passes to where free champagne rather then the blood of revolutionaries, flowed liberally. That’s another thing I’m finding about Paris, you can never be sure where the night might take you.

Like yesterday, at the ‘Cinema en Plein Air’, there is something magical about sitting under the stars watching a classic film. This being Paris it was never going to be Police Academy 3, rather ‘Fitzcarraldo’ with a wild eyed, buck toothed Klaus Kinski playing Caruso on a gramophone in order to raise money for his crazy dream.

And then apart from all the events, it’s Paris! Come back to me in a year and I might be calling it ‘dirty, cranky, crotte littered Paris’ but for the moment the honeymoon bubble remains intact. And as for my friend, I might send him a postcard. ‘Glad you’re NOT here’

Advertisements