If you were in Paris this past weekend, you will probably appreciate the irony of that title. Summer is most definitely already here. Especially if this past week’s heat wave was anything to go by. But despite what the thermometer might say, summer does not officially start in France until June 21st, otherwise known as La Fête de la Musique. It also happens to be one of my favourite days in France.
A Celebration of Music
La Fête de la Musique was first celebrated in 1982, and since then it has been celebrated every year on June 21st. It was created by Maurice Fleuret, the former Director of Music and Dance in the French Ministry of Culture, as a way to celebrate music in all its forms. June 21st was chosen as the date for this event because it is the longest day of the year, and Fleuret wanted to fill that day with music. 40 years later, all I can say is mission accomplished.
Today, all across France, thousands of musicians will play at cafes, restaurants, public parks, gardens, street corners, and any other open space that is available. To register your performance, you only have to fulfill two requirements. One, your show has to be free of charge to the public. And two, all musicians have to donate their time. La Fête de la Musique is not about making money or selling tickets. It’s about sharing all kinds of music with everyone, everywhere. And the atmosphere every year never fails to be anything less than exuberantly joyful.
La Fête de la Musique is Back!
Like everything else in the world, La Fête de la Musique has been a somewhat muted affair these past two years. This year, however, promises to be business as usual. Personally, I can’t wait to wander around the city once more, listening to the sounds of hundreds of musicians play for thousands of jubilant Parisians. There will be dancing in the streets, and I just might be tempted to join in. Which is saying something given my spectacular lack of dance skills.
I often get asked why I love living in France, and there are a thousand answers to that question. But today the answer is simple. I love living in France because every year there is an entire day dedicated to the joy of music. What’s not to love?
Laura Moore is a professional storyteller who loves history and the many stories that make Paris one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Join one of her signature tours to learn the story of a city.