Monday, April 10, 2006

our last night in paris...

(click on pics for larger versions)
our last night in paris was probably one of the best..but isn't that always the way. (believe me, i almost 'lost' my passport so as to stay a bit longer).
on this night, our last night, we went for fondue, then rambled about the streets for a bar with live music. i had noticed in my guide book that there was a cave like bar where bands played called 'le caveau des oubliettes' ('dungeon cave') we went, we could not miss this.
we found the bar, and wound our way down the tiny stone staircase into a series of tiny cellars connected by small rounded doorways. the larger of the rooms, was overflowing with people, and we could hear what sounded like gypsy jazz coming out of the room...the next smaller room was a bar, and a television broadcasting the band that was playing in the room we couldn't get into. we sat down, ordered some drinks, and watched the monitor. suddenly, we realized that the guy on stage playing his gypsy guitar must have been the re incarnation of django reinhardt. seriously, he was amazing, and his protege who played next to him, was also unbelievable. try as we may, we could not fit in the room with the band amongst all of the french hipsters, so we still sat and waited for a break in the crowd. after a while, the band took a break and came to the bar to get drinks. we asked if there would another set, and they said to wait a half hour. ernie made his way into the room (cellar) with the stage and we took our spots. the cave was full of smoke, as there was no ventilation and the nearly everyone in france smokes. i noticed that there were chains and neck braces hanging from the ceiling...i'm assuming that these were originally in the 'dungeon' and the owners thought it might be kitchy to leave them there. only, the thought that people probably at some point in history, were left hanging down in this hole to die, was not a settling one.
finally the band came back to take the stage (two classical guitars and upright bass) they started into the next song, i thought ernie's head might actually explode, the guitarist was incredible!!! it's a bit dramatic to say that his fingers were actually smoking, but they were...(mostly due to the fact that even as fast as he played, his cigarette stayed perfectly between his fingers, ashes flying).
at the end of the evening (early morning, as it was going on 2am) a lady came up to sing some gypsy songs with the band in french (of course) and the room erupted in dancing and singing.
note of warning: the metro stops running at 1230am and catching a taxi in paris at 2am on a saturday night is impossible. we were on the left bank, and our hotel was on the right bank, way up on the hill in montmartre...the thought of walking the entire way made us queasy. finally, we were able to beg a cabbie that was offshift to take us home. merci beaucoup, monsiuer, you saved our night (and maybe our marriage, since our tempers were beginning to get heated).
at the hotel in our beds, my head filled with french words and django guitar, i mostly stayed awake until we got up to catch our flight. i'm completely taken with that if i could only learn to roll my 'r's properly, i would be a peach.

post script: the name of the band we were watching was "moreno & marina".

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