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Transitioning to the rentrée

Rock en Seine at the national park of St. Cloud near Boulogne traditionally marks the end of summer & the debut of the rentrée or back to school time. Friday’s lineup was the most appealing to me with Bloc Party among others like the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and Amy McDonald. Vampire Weekend was a great discovery & probably my favorite set. When Bloc Party’s singer made the announcement that Oasis would be no-shows (referring to them as “inbred twins”), I was actually rather relieved. Seeing them at Austin City limits festival in Texas a few years back was frankly enough to last a lifetime.


Another end of summer tradition is Fete de l’Humanité, a 3-day outdoor music festival in the northern banlieue, le Courneuve, to celebrate solidarity. Supported by various left-leaning organizations, thousands turn up for debates, discussions, concerts, arts & crafts, carnival rides, world cuisine, and on-site camping. Manu Chao headlined the main stage on Friday night and wow… the atmosphere! The energy! The excitement that lasted the entire 2.5 hours he played was unforgettable. Dancing and moshing around like a maniac felt so good after a long & stressful work week.
La Plage at Glaz’Art is still going strong following free concerts all summer long. Last Sunday afternoon there was a DJ and live music outdoors on a faux beach complete with deck chairs! Although the sun wasn’t shining, it wasn’t hard to pretend that it was still summer…

As a brunchaholic, I was most interested in the 12 Euro bio brunch with cupcakes by Chloe_S, a Betsey Johnnson-esque graphic designer & cupcake maker who has mastered the art of US-style cupcakes adapted to the French palate. DIVINE.

We all arrived hungry & in various states of hangover, so the coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice were refreshing. We had to wait a bit until a modest plate of scrambled eggs, a few slices of carrot and small savory cupcake arrived – more like a snack than brunch! We then turned to the tower of cupcakes being sold a la carte at the table right next to us. Mmmm… flavors included lemon with caramel/butter/sea salt frosting, chocolate raspberry, and carrot cake w/ cream cheese icing – all moist and delicious. By the time the official dessert was served – a giant fruit cup and, yes, another cupcake – we realized we were going to have to shake some ass to cancel out the excess calories.

That wasn’t hard to do once the five young exuberant lads called Misteur Valaire from Montreal were on hand to entertain. Their funky grooves reminded me of BranVan3000, the Avalanches, mixed with a bit of the Beastie Boys. Some svelte hipsters started boogieing down in front of the stage and we joined in while most everyone else observed lazily from afar. But by the end of the set just about everyone was on their feet doing the electric slide with the band! Download the bands entire album for free here: http://www.misteurvalaire.ca/

It’s also the Rentrée du Cinema (Welcome back from holidays – cheap movie week) with movies at just 4 Euros a ticket – a steal! We saw Eyes Wide Open & the much anticipated Public Enemies, which ended up being slightly disappointing. Despite a stellar cast and believable portrayals, it was uninspiring and excessively violent.

Thanks to the rentrée and all of its offerings, I can let summer go.

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