There’s no more lively place on a Saturday afternoon than Boulevard Saint-Germain around the old church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement. It used to be one of the creative centers of the city but now is noted for the fashion industry and tourism. The two famous cafés, Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, are just across the street.
Down the Boulevard toward the Odéon métro station is a favorite area for café-sitting and people-watching, two Parisian pastimes we love.
Of course, those attract entertainers of every stripe. On Saturday we found a Parisian Dixieland band, “La Planche A Dixie,” playing enthusiastically and well in front of a shoe store next to a crowded café. It attracted quite a crowd, including two couples who couldn’t resist the impulse to dance. Charming.
Christian Giovanardi, the washboard (planche) player, organized his band in 1995. Since then, with a changing cast of members, it has cut several CDs (on sale at the impromptu concert) and performed on cruise ships.
The band has a good web site in English and French.
Other spots around Paris that frequently have music are the métro station at Châtelet (a Russian band is our favorite) and under the arcade at Place des Vosges, near the Marais.
Here’s a short video clip. If it won’t play, click this link.
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