Just Above Sunset
August 8, 2004: Friday night - La rando du vendredi à Paris...

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Ric Erickson drops a line from Paris –

With all the publicity I've been giving Paris Plage in the sunshine and yesterday's rain - it seems only fair to mention that the year-round Paris Friday night roller rando carries on, rolls on, rolls around Paris for 3 hours every Friday night.  Attached photo taken on Avenue du Maine, shortly after 22:00 start tonight from the Gare Montparnasse.  Some liberal things never change.

Click here...

And this –  

Saturday night dancing on the Quai Saint Bernard turned out to be much livelier than I remembered.  In the several mini-bays on the quay there were tango dancers, samba dancers, salsa dancers and up higher on a platform there was a big mob doing Cuban things - sponsored by Radio Latina and the Bar La Pena.  Four sets of music and thousands of Parisians and visitors.  Some total-night photos made possible by the passing bateaux-mouches with their lights.  No sign of any governor in charge; absolutely peaceful anarchy.  Across the river, Paris Plage packed by people out for air and warm freedom, with more freelance music and applause for 'Hotel California' played solo under a bridge.  The audience added to the choruses.

Okay, as understand it, someone was playing 'Hotel California' at the fake beach in the middle of Paris, folks were applauding and singing along, loudly belting out “Welcome to the Hotel California….”  Most odd.  Here in the heart of Hollywood, at this specific Hotel California, your editor was at his desk listening to French pop stuff – old Patricia Kaas stuff, and that odd Mylene woman.  Bienvenue à l'hôtel la Californie as they say.  This is too strange.
Ric's comment?
You got it.  But there were other people further along playing a bit more French.  I had come from the left bank Quai Bernard, where there were tango, samba, salsa and Cuban dancing - but none to live music.  The Hotel California guy was alone with a guitar and a microphone, under a bridge for the sono effect, and wasn't too bad at all.  Had a good crowd who appreciated him.
The dancers on the Quai ...

Click here foir large version...

Paris Plage ? - Ric’s photo and text at Eighteen More Days of Paris Plage from 31 July.

And there is this general explanation.


In was back in 2002 that this brave project was launched to turn two miles of the Right Bank of the Seine (near the Pont Neuf and Hotel de Ville) into a beach, complete with white sand, palm trees, sunbeds and parasols, for the summer season. It has returned every year since - welcome to the Paris Plage. The €1 million initiative, branded by the Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoe, as "a bit crazy", has become a permanent annual event. The Parisians literally took to the beach and showed what a good idea they thought it was! In addition to lounging on the sunbeds, visitors can take part in a range of free sporting activities, including petanque and volleyball, and dance in the old-time dance cafes, known as ginguettes.


A beach with palm trees in Paris?  Why not?  Everyone needs a little beach time.

Ric also mentions the word liberal because of this week's item here - August 8, 2004: Rehabilitating the word LIBERAL - and Elvis? - on that term, where he has a bit to say on the matter from his home in Paris.  And that liberal fellow John Kerry speaks French, non?

I sent this back to Ric -


I wish I could capture the rumble as the hoard of rollerbladers approaches - and I do remember the first time I heard that low rumble in the distance.  As an L.A. guy my first thought was - Shit, another damned earthquake! - but then I got it, and they rounded the corner from rue des Rennes and right onto boulevard St-Germain under my hotel window and off toward the Odeon.  Cool.


Ric shot this back -


Apropos 'rumble' - the patience of held-up automobilistas is astonishing. While the horde passes, somewhat slowly if there's a lot of them, the conducteurs cool their Friday night heels with nary a beep from a klaxon. With traffic stopped, yes, you can hear the rollers - but it's more of a swishing sound.  So, as they traverse Paris the first thing you notice is the fall-off of traffic noise.  Why did it get quiet?  Then this wagon train of party people on little wheelies comes along, passes for ten to twenty minutes, and the end is swept up by six police vans and a couple of SAMU ambulances with the twinkling blue lights.


Yes, they pass in a swish – but you hear a distant rumble first.

So Paris has this thing on Friday evenings when thousands of rollerbladers take to the streets en masse.  It is odd, no?

Every Friday evening of the year, from ten (22h00) to one in the morning (01h00) and the route for 8 August (Le parcours du 06/08/2004) is here:

Click here...

And the website is pari-roller.com (click on the little UK flag for the English version) -


You can watch or join a group at Friday Night Fever starting from Gare Montparnasse. At 22h00 (that's ten at night) rollerbladers take off for an eighteen-mile tour around the city (with police escort). If in town, give a call for details - Rollerbladers Association: Loi 1901 23-5 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau Tel 01 44549442


But I think you can just go join in.

Ric sort of did once – see Paris: - Friday, 30. July 1999: The Friday Night Roller 'Rando' for the real deal.

But at ten at night here in Hollywood on any Friday it is already seven the next Saturday morning in Paris.  Ah.  Over.  Missed it.  Again.


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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....