From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


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Paris attacks: darkness in the city of light

Words are hard to come by after the horrible terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris last night, however, I felt that a short reflection was needed. It really hit me hard this time as they attacked more than this city and its people; they attacked life and the pursuit of happiness itself.

It was almost one year ago today, November 16th, 2014, that I was at a concert at the Bataclan. I remember how incredibly excited I was to see my favorite hip hop artist, Common, live for the first time ever. I remember entering the beautiful theatre and the sense of unity shared by everyone as we all smiled and sang the same lyrics together in unison. I was so close to the stage that I could almost reach out and touch him! What a thrill! We were all at that concert to enjoy his music and to dance and feel alive. I was on a cloud of happiness after that concert, filled with the feeling that the world was an amazing place. Last night the people at the rock concert probably had the same feelings of anticipation and excitement. They probably screamed and cheered when the concert began and felt the incredible rush that music can sometimes bring. Like myself, they were there to have fun and forget their troubles…but unfortunately their evening transformed into horror.

I have been several times to Le Petit Cambodge, the restaurant near Canal Saint Martin that makes super yummy noodle dishes (they are especially known for their “bobuns”) and that was sprayed with bullets last night. I have fond memories of sitting outside in their colorful chairs with friends one summer night and equally another time inside, with a friend, where it was super crowded and we were elbow to elbow with the people beside us (but we didn’t mind one bit). This place is well known in Paris and is very popular, and as the temperature has been fairly mild lately in Paris, I’m sure it was packed with hungry diners.

Basically, the thing that shook me up the most was the fact that it could have been me, or my friends, that were attacked by these monsters and I realize just how lucky I was have had a night that did not end in such a traumatic manner.

So as I’ve already said, they attacked more than a city last night. They attacked innocent civilians who only wanted to enjoy their Friday night in whichever way brought them joy. Parisians love their Friday nights (and Saturdays too)! They love to go out for drinks, enjoy a good meal with good company, dance at a concert and live in the moment! These terrorists attacked the right to sit out on a terrasse and enjoy a cheese plate with a glass of wine, or simply a round of beer with friends. They attacked the right to dance like no one is watching or to sing to a song that you have sung along to for years and that has perhaps got you through some tough times. They basically said that everything Paris stands for should die. But it won’t.

Today, while going to get my groceries I overheard a Muslim mother talking to her son of about 4 years old in the street. She said “There are Muslims, Christians, Jews and Buddhists and we should respect everyone and their religion”. The boy looked up, slightly puzzled, and she continued; “we should never treat others badly because they are different, because the world is full of differences, and that is what makes it beautiful.” I looked over at her and smiled, then the traffic light changed and I crossed the street. I couldn’t help thinking that if every child had someone to teach them such compassion and acceptance, then these monsters would not be able to brainwash impressionable young people with their hateful messages and turn them into inhuman killing machines.

I can only hope that Paris will recover from these horrors while keeping its soul and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those who lost a loved one. I also hope that other cities in the world who have equally suffered from similar attacks, but which are not as “famous” as Paris, will receive the world’s support as we have seen over the last 24 hours. My heart breaks for Paris, but it is the city of love, light, freedom, music, art, culture, drinking wine and skipping home in the streets after a great night out and, in my mind, will always be capable of healing and shining bright again.

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Paris Events: COMMON concert at the Bataclan

Last Sunday night (November 16th, 2014) I was lucky enough to go to the Bataclan in Paris to see Common perform while on the European leg of his Nobody’s Smiling Tour. Now this is a big deal for me as I am a super hip-hop fan and Common (from Chicago) is one of my all-time faves!  Quick backstory:  he was scheduled to play in Paris back in March 2011. I had my ticket and was super psyched to go see him. Then, either a day or so before the concert date, there was a fire at the Elysée Montmartre, the beautiful concert hall in the 18th arrondissement, and it was cancelled! I was crushed and have been patiently awaiting his return ever since! You now have an idea of the level of anticipation we’re talking about!

Got my ticket, ready to go!

Got my ticket, ready to go!

 So unfortunately I haven’t met many fans of rap, hip-hop and RnB in Paris (and the few I have, like myself, don’t have too much spare cash) so I went on my own. First time going to a concert solo, but nothing should stop you from doing something you love, right? Got to the Bataclan and saw a huge line-up outside…great…they weren’t letting people inside yet. So I got in line and waited patiently in the rain. Chatted with two ladies visiting from California who happened to see he was playing tonight and decided to get tickets. The 45 minute wait went by quickly and once inside I immediately made my way towards the stage.

Dj FAB warm up!

Dj FAB warm up!

The crowd is ready!

The crowd is ready!

What’s nice about the Bataclan (apart from its original architecture dating back to 1865) is that there is a balcony for those spectators who want to sit but the rest is general admission and whoever wants to get close to the stage just has to get there first. I made it as far as three people from me and the stage. Three people blocking me from touching him…but I was CLOSE! Dj FAB warmed up the crowd with some old-school hits and then the lights dimmed and slowly the music of Forever begins started playing. The first Dj appeared (Dj Dummy, super talented!) then the keyboardist, another Dj, the backup singer (who FYI, I didn’t catch her name but she had a beautiful voice)…and finally Common, dressed in a green and blue printed black hoody and black jeans. As he appeared onstage the entire room exploded with applause and screams!

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The entire two hours (well almost) that followed were beyond awesome! He sang a few songs off of his new album but the rest were his classics like Testify, The Light (loooove that song), Go and I used to love H.E.R. His energy was endless as he ran back and forth, jumped around and high-fived the people in the front row. He jumped off stage and into the crowd during the song Blak Majik (I was too far to the left to touch him) causing everyone to go wild.

In the crowd, but out of reach!

In the crowd, but out of reach!

The highlight for me was definitely when he sang my favorite love song of all time Come close. He actually chose a girl from the crowd to come onstage and then proceeded to serenade her. The girls glued to the stage in front of me were clawing their eyes out with jealousy as he slow danced with this lucky chick (after having her wipe the sweat from his face with a towel). I think every female (and, hey maybe even some males) in the room would have liked to have been her…including myself. I am a total groupie after all! I sang each lyric of the song with him, which was the hugest thrill. “Its just a fly love song“…oh yes it is. My night was officially made, and after a few more great songs like Love of my life as well as a freestyle rap, he thanked the crowd and left the stage!

Luckiest girl of the night

Luckiest girl of the night

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But we wanted more!!!! After a few minutes of screaming and stomping from the crowd the gang came back and he sang a very emotional song (from his new album) called Rewind that. The second verse talks about his friendship with J Dilla (the amazing hip-hop producer who passed away in 2006 from lupus) and he tells the story of how they met and worked together and how he watched his friend getting sicker and wished he had won a Grammy award (which he soooo deserved by the way) before passing away. The whole song will really connect with anyone who has lost someone they care about or that wishes they could, for some reason or another, go back in time. It was very moving and I got a little teary-eyed. That’s the beauty of Common’s songs. They often tell a story and they touch your soul.

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After that he ended the night on a high note with the song Celebrate, an upbeat song about living in the moment with your friends and celebrating life’s accomplishments. The crowd was all smiles and sang and danced together as one. He mentioned that it was his Mom’s Birthday, so we felt extra special being able to celebrate with him. Overall it was an amazing concert (I only wished it had lasted longer…oh and that I could have gone on stage and danced with him!haha) and I truly hope it won’t be too long before he is back in town!

P.S. For those of you who don’t know him (*gasp*) here is a link to my favorite song, Come close.

And for more info on the Bataclan theatre as well as its upcoming events: http://www.bataclan.fr/events.php