Part 1 - Paris
It's the end of Day 5 of the tour and we have arrived in Paris at our little loft in the 11e arrondissement. Food is on the agenda. Où aller manger?? That's the question, always the question. Henry-François, our fearless manager/tour manager/bus driver/bandgear/photographer/part-time lighting technician gets word from his old school buddy Nico that the "Pause Café" in the 11e is a good spot for food and drinks. Off we go.
Some say Paris is boring, and that the people are cold. That may be true. Perhaps it's just one perspective. But I find the personalities of the staff in most cafés and restaurants kind of hilarious and charming. The workers in these establishments generally want to keep things simple. Order something quickly, don't change your mind and don't ask for separate bills. Got it?
The architecture in Paris is kinda cool too. The layout of the city, the fact that there is a little brasserie/cafe on every corner. The fact that most of these restaurants serve up variations on pretty much the same thing (meats and cheese and veggies all cooked in lotsa butter) is pretty great. You never have to walk very far to find an espresso or some flank steak. Tsé Genre!?
So we're off to eat at Pause Café. I treat myself to a little glass of bubbly and enjoy the evening special - "Joue de porc" with some nice veggies. Nothing too crazy, but a nice simple meal.
The remaining hours of the night were spent watching the rest of the band bet away their perdiem money. I'm not much of a poker player. Off to bed, merci.
The next morning I got myself a decent "Café crème" and almond croissant nearby before heading over to Le Pop Up du Label, our venue for tonight's show. It's a cool venue/bar restaurant that apparently gets pretty bumpin' on the weekends. It's now Friday March 25th and ya, we're about to rock it pretty hard here au Pop Up. The venue is on the street level with a pretty tight stage plopped into the corner. In the opposite corner, I discovered a photo booth marked "FREE" on top. Naturally I gravitate towards it, and proceed to take many selfies.
So we setup, soundchecked and proceeded upstairs at the Pop Up to a little table where we were served up some home made lasagna, salad, un petit vin rouge. Very nice! This is another thing that I really enjoy about touring Europe - the occasional home cooked meal, provided by the venue. Of course, the obvious perk is you save some coin, but it's also generally a tasty treat. And this was. Just judging by this lasagna, ya I would recommend some drinks and dinner here. The other meals they served up that night looked pretty good too. It's an open kitchen design, with a bar in the back and a few small tables. This place kinda reminded me of a kicked up Casa Del Popolo vibe. This bar/venue is in the 12th arrondissement, where it seems more and more establishments are setting up in this more "American" style layout. I enjoy the Parisian corner brasserie/restaurant vibe with the terrace etc... but this place is a cool alternative. Go!
I think the rest of my TFE crew members would agree that we went on to play our best show of the tour so far. In my 1st blog post I mentioned that the sound of the room plays a big part of how we feel onstage. Well the sound in this room and onstage was great, allowing us to have a bit more fun this time.
You can check out a nice review of the show here:
Some photos of the show here:
If I could nerd out on gear for a minute here, I would say that D&B PA systems are the best. Le Pop Up has a nice D&B kit set up here. Our restless soundman Adam may have had only 16 inputs to work with on a little Soundcraft board, but the crowd was bumpin' and we all enjoyed the sound that night. German designed audio products!! C'est bon ça.
Ah yes, I should also mention I took a brief stroll before the gig to explore the neighbourhood, to better digest my lasagna dinner. I found myself walking around the Gare de Lyon, where I was approached by some prostitutes. Uh, non merci. Up the street is the statue of Bastille which a nice sight to see. The opera house is also nearby. I'm sure an evening at the opera would be great...next time.
Later on that night we were invited by the French Indie label Naïve to an after party at the Lipstick bar in the Pigalle district. This is pretty much the big dress-up-go-out-andgetwasted part of Paris. People on the corner trying to convince you to go to strip clubs, donair restaurants, the usual. Lipstick was crammed that night with a nice mixed crowd of 30-40 yr old go getters.
They serve up some pretty tasty €10-15 cocktails, but if you want a cheap €3.50 pint, well they got that too. And shooters served up in some cute mini jars...nice touch! We concluded the evening at a standard Donair joint. Where exactly that was, I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure it was close to the SEXODROME.
Part 2 - Lyon
Yesterday we hit the road for Lyon (on typical Franklin "running late but not stressed" time). In the comfort of our enormous Mercedes Sprinter Van, I reversed the seat in front of me, spread out and caught up on some zzzs.
Upon arrival into Lyon, we nearly burnt out the clutch on our trusty Mercedes van climbing the slope of the city to the venue. Little did we know we were about to play at the smallest venue I think I've ever seen - Kraspek Myzik, a tiny bar/venue stuck in the hill of Lyon. We were greeted with all the drinks you can handle and a nice chicken, ratatouille dinner. Again, a nice home cooked meal provided by the venue. Bonus!
Well if we thought that the stage in Paris was small, we were wrong. This stage was small!! Me, Martin and Ken managed to setup our gear within the confines of the stage, whereas Jon had no choice but to set himself up literally amongst the audience. It got hot and sweaty as we plowed through our set, definitely the sweatiest one so far.
I would have loved to venture off to see some other bars in Lyon, but the beer was flowing at just the right price at Kraspek (...$0.00) so we stayed here until the end of the night.
- - -
Fast forward 8 hours....
This morning our objective was to get to Cologne, Germany before sundown, but first....Easter Sunday Brunch!! Upon recommendation from Marion (another one of Henry-François' local friends) we were off to chow down at Butcher. As the name would suggest, it's a Steak House/Burger place. But on Sundays they serve a great brunch, and some fine coffee too. Not a lot of options, just the brunch plate for brunch-ers, but it's got pretty much anything you would want to have for brunch (poached egg, homemade sausages, bacon, pancakes...damn!) Ya the coffee was so good here that I had to order another double espresso. You should too!
After a brief jaunt along the Rhone River, we all hopped back in the van, and were off to Germany. À la prochaine!
(if you're in and around the 11th arrondissement)
41 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France
Le Pop Up du Label (Good Food and Live Bands/DJs)
14 Rue Abel, 75012 Paris, France
Lipstick bar (Pigalle district)
5 Rue Frochot, 75009 Paris, France
If you can afford it, get some D&B speakers!
Need a big tour van?:
These guys rent a whole fleet of tour vans for bands. Nice guys too!
Steak and Burger house.
30 Rue Lanterne, 69001 Lyon
Mr. Tom peanut bar is a pretty solid choice for a snack bar. A nice blend of salty and sweet with a crunchy, caramel-y thing going on. Mmm
Just walk along the Rhone River, it's beautiful.
I'm not sure exactly how many times I've been to Paris, but it's always beautiful. Sure the people are a bit depressed or grumpy or whatever, but the food is good and the wine is cheap. And it's old. Older than Canada anyway, so I mean for a musician/tourist like me = always a good time. I will be back because eventhough I've been to Paris many times already, there are still a lot of things I haven't seen and wines I haven't tried.
Lyon - also very beautiful. With the main downtown area that longs the Rhone River, it's really quite scenic. I wish I had more than 12 hours in this city, I would have explored more. The Sunday morning market vibe was great.
France your are charming.
À la prochaine.