Paris Journal 2006

Tuesday, August 1

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Gendarmes who can ride horses and play band instruments at the same time!  In the Marais.

Yesterday, Tom and I walked over to the FNAC Digitale store on the boulevard Saint Germain to buy cordless phones for the apartment, since the ancient cordless phone that was here died last week.  We finally figured out, I think, why sometimes you have to get a “facture” (bill, or invoice) from a salesperson before proceeding to the cash register on the ground floor, and sometimes you don’t.  The factor requiring a “facture” seems to be when an item is on sale.  When there is a price reduction, the cashiers seem to need a special piece of paper so that they can enter the sale properly and you will be charged the appropriate price.  The process is unnecessarily cumbersome, but so typically French bureaucratic.


Having successfully made the purchase, we walked down to the Luxembourg Gardens where we arrived in time for a concert that we did not know about.  The musicians were warming up their instruments, and it sounded like the music might be jazz, so we decided to stay.  Tom stayed to hold our space while I had to cross the park to find some metal chairs for us to sit in, since all the hundreds of chairs around the gazebo/stage were already taken.  The group turned out to be David Krakauer’s Klezmer madness!  (See  It was strange and fun.  He has successfully combined eastern European klezmer music with jazz/rhythm and blues and even classical. 


Sorry I don’t have photos of the Klezmer band.  I didn’t take the camera because that is too confusing when I’m going to FNAC.  I don’t carry a purse, for security reasons, so the camera stayed home.  Tom was fascinated by the drummer, who had to manage with some rapid and very weird beats.  Krakauer plays the clarinet, and he is a master.  I thought I had heard him before, and it turns out that I have.  He formerly worked with the Kronos Quartet, a group I heard at the Short North Tavern in Columbus, Ohio, on at least one Sunday afternoon quite a few years ago.  He wasn’t playing klezmer music then.


Other instruments included in the band were a guitar (played expertly by a very young woman), an electric bass, two accordians, and some kind of special electronic keyboard.


The concert went from 6 to 7:30PM, so this kept us thoroughly entertained until it was time to walk home for dinner.


Next week’s free concert at the Luxembourg Gardens is going to feature Theo Hakola, another American who spent a little time in Ohio.  (See



I forgot to mention, we just missed some kind of excitement at FNAC Digitale yesterday.  As we were leaving, three policemen were rapidly entering the store.  We did stand around outside for a bit to consult the map, but nothing happened immediately, and so we went on.  I will comb through Le Parisien to see if there is a news item about this.


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