Every year in early spring, for the past 30 years Parisians have enjoyed a jazz festival that showcases all genres of the medium interpreted by artists from around the world. Known as the Banlieues Bleues, it takes place over about two weeks in multiple locations around the north eastern suburbs of Paris, Seine St Denis. The festival appears to have had a definite impact on the regeneration of the area which was a quiet residential area.
The festival brings together traditional and new styles of jazz from Afro Cuban to New Orleans to acid, blues, gypsy music and experimental jazz performed by both new and established artistes. In fact the festival is all about introducing all sorts of beats, blends and sounds and introducing new exponents of the genre who are encouraged to distribute their music at the festival. Not only is it an opportunity for festival goers to be introduced to new music and new interpretations of jazz standards, it is a platform for performers to present new compositions and for new performers to showcase their skills. Some performers in addition to displaying their musical virtuosity dress up their concerts with the use of costumes and dance. The festival noted for the high quality of its music is packed with superb musicians and provides a rare treat for jazz lovers. Jazz fans can attend individual performances of their choice or get a festival pass to see any three performances and get reduced rates for any other performance they may wish to attend. The staging of performances in multiple locations around the city allows festival goers to discover new cultural venues.
The Banlieues Bleues festival was created by a cultural association who bears the same name as the festival and received institutional and public support to make it happen. They are dedicated to the creation and dissemination of information on modern musical forms not only in regional neighbourhoods but at a national level and raising public awareness of the various types of jazz music.
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While it was in 957 that King Lothaire created the very first of fun fairs, the Foire du Trone funfair remains even today, becoming the most popular funfair in whole of Europe. Initially referred to as the Saint-Antoine fair, it was actually more of an open market than the animated affair that it is today. This unique and spirited event features over 350 attractions spread over a mind bogglingly vast area of over 10 hectares with no less than over 1400 professionals to attend to the various rides, stands and main allures available here.
Every year from April to June, Foire du Trone spreads its vivacious wings over the Pelouse de Reuilly in Ile-de-France in Paris. The bright and blinking lights, the almost ecstatic laughter of the participants, the delicious aroma of street food sizzling over outdoor fires create a joyful and effervescent atmosphere. The rides available here last for a good 10 minutes or so as opposed to the usual rides of 2-3 minutes available everywhere else in the world. While L’Extreme is a hair-raising ride designed to knock the breath off the riders’ chests, the Tragada is a slightly less intimidating ride which spins in a circular manner making sudden tilts, stops and jumps. Even those who are not so interested in riding stop and gaze at the comical yet exhilarating scenes of almost hysterical individuals defying gravity and torque, spilling over peals of laughter during these rides.
Another popular and a less intimidating ride is the enormous Ferris wheel available during the days of the fair. Once at top, breath is knocked off the chest by the spectacular unparalleled view of Paris not to be had from anywhere else within the city. Do take a camera to record the moment. It is a magnificent view indeed.
The amazing array of street food available here is not to be missed at any cost. From Greek sandwiches to guimauve, a pastel coloured marshmallow treat, the food here is varied and astonishingly singular. The games available here to entertain the visitors excel all standards while the overall ambiance is one of blithe and mirth.
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The French capital of Paris continues to be the most widely visited tourist destination in the world. Renowned for a variety of attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, the so called ‘City of Lights’ is a place of exceptional beauty. However, there is more to the city than these world famous attractions and intrepid tourists who explore deeper will find a myriad of lesser known attractions that are both fun and interesting. These include parks like the Parc de Bercy and the Jardin du Luxembourg; the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, dubbed the most romantic cemetery in the world; and the Centre Pompidou.
The Centre Georges Pompidou, or simply in English the Pompidou Centre, was the brainchild of former French President, Georges Pompidou. The new centre was supposed to be a repository for modern art. A competition was held and people were invited to submit designs for the proposed gallery. Out of over six hundred entries, the design by Gianfranco Franchini, Renzo Piano, and Richard Rogers was selected. The design had a futuristic, high-tech feel to it and featured plenty of metal and glass. The Centre Pompidou officially opened on the thirty first of January in 1977, although it was a different president, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who inaugurated it.
The Centre Pompidou houses a massive public library; the Musee National d’Art Mordern, which is easily the biggest modern art museum in Europe; and a research department that studies acoustics and music called IRCAM. The modern art centre has attracted millions of visitors since it was opened and receives around eight thousand visitors daily. Tourists in Paris with a love for art should definitely stop by.
When it comes to palace hotels Paris few can compare to Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris. One of the premier luxury hotels Paris, it enjoys a central location close to many of the city’s famous attractions, which is very convenient considering the city’s traffic clogged streets. Combining tastefully decorated interiors with a plethora of modern amenities aimed at making a stay more comfortable and enjoyable, it is the ideal place to stay.