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Our Man in Paris is Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis. His weekly columns appear here and often in a slightly different version the next day on his site from Paris, with photographs. Right now MetropoleParis has paused publication for maintenance, so posts there, and here, will be somewhat occasional, as Ric is rather busy. Still, here's a slice of Paris life, off the beaten path - last Friday night in Montparnasse. And also see this from Ric, published here last month - a photo essay on Paris Accordéon, 80, rue Daguerre.

Café Insolite

Paris, Friday, January 6, 2006 –

Folks are digesting New Years or maybe watching television. It's cold and breath fogs but wild youth is on its way to somewhere with cast iron stomachs. What else are they doing in the streets? I got a call that the accordion is at the Café Insolite tonight so I went over to the marché and the avenue and found the Rue Couédic around the corner from the Café d'Orléans. Not far away but a place I never noticed before. Inside the usual gang hogging tables and Dany and Nini doing the accordion, with local civilians hanging off the bar that seems to be serving mussels to the whole world. Dany and Nini have strong lungs, pumped up from years of practice in cafés and bars with a loud joker lurched off the bar. French songs that go with accordions all have a thousand words, twenty choruses, and require big voices, much louder than any jukebox. Some folks dance, everybody claps, more mussels are spread around and the joker keeps on rattling away. Nini asks me to tell them if the photos are good so they can add prints to their 'book.' Dany tells me she lives in my building, on the ground floor where the concierge used to be. I didn't recognize her, not for three years, without her accordion. On the way back three basket boys are harassing the old hermit who lives on a homemade sofa on the avenue. The kind of basketheads the guy eats I think.

The accordion night is once a month and Dennis told me the place is usually packed, but it's cold and January.

Café Insolite, Paris, 6 January 2006


Text and Photo Copyright © 2005 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis

Note on principal translations: insolite

- adj - out of the ordinary, strange (étrange), bizarre

Additionally - as masculine noun - unfamiliarity (étrangeté)


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