June 21st is one of my favorite days in Paris. It the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, and a call for great celebration in Paris. June 21st each year is the Fête de la Musique. This music festival is a national celebration in France (and has spread to numerous other countries) where all musicians, professionals and amateurs alike, are encouraged to perform.
It's one of those magical days when you can walk around Paris and simply follow your ear to stumble upon an outdoor performance. In the afternoon I heard a small concert band playing in Square du Temple and then saw a group of participants ballroom dancing outside Musée des Arts et Métiers. It's a day when the city becomes alive and vibrant in a way unlike any other.
There is so much to take in just by walking around the city without a destination in mind. And there are lots of scheduled performances to consider attending, such as the Orchestra of Paris' free concert underneath the pyramid of the Louvre.
But for me, deciding my plans this year was simple. There is no where else I would rather have been than at a picnic on the Île Saint-Louis attending a performance by my dear friend, the talented Devon Graves. (In fact, you can have your own private fête right now - check out her music on Youtube and get ready for her album release coming soon!)
If you've been following me on Instagram, some of these views of Notre Dame probably look familiar. It's because the Quai d'Orléans on Île Saint-Louis has become a special place for me in warm weather. I've spent many long summer evenings watching the sun set and night settle in along these banks with friends. We've shared laughs, delicious food and wine, and even moments of sadness as it has been the place of a goodbye or two. It felt so fitting that the concert and picnic was held at this very spot, and we even got treated to one of the most vibrant and breathtaking sunsets I've seen there.
Long before I knew about this fantastic festival throughout France, June 21st was a special day for me. Six years ago on a beautiful, sunny day in New Jersey I married my best friend. Though back then I couldn't have imagined in my wildest dreams we would one day be living in Paris and celebrate our anniversary here with this view!
And so this is how I spent the first day of summer. I'll leave you with this classy picture of night falling at Notre Dame, though you should know as the night continues, Paris certainly does not slow down in the festivities. (I debated posting a last picture of the Lady Gaga impersonator dancing away at a café in my usually quiet neighborhood but didn't want to lose the dreamy mood the rest of the pictures set. But know that it happened!)
And check out my friend Expat Edna's fantastic post on how we celebrated last year!
Let summertime begin!
Did you celebrate Fête de la Musique or the start of summer?