paris soundscape: musique dans l’air
Posted in music, paris, pia's photos, soundscapes June 6th, 2009 by piablog

Visiting Paris is a festival for the senses. For French Boy and I, its notably our taste buds that party like its 1999. The moments prior to this particular trip, we spent the train ride deciding where we would eat for every single meal. Since we only had 2 nights there, that being 6 meals – we realised we had to cull our list of favourites down substantially.

But to my surprise, it wasn’t the food and wine that stole my heart this time.

It was music.

No matter where we wandered, no matter what time of day or night, there was incredible open-air music coming from all sorts of places – from the habitual accordian player on metro line 12, to a saxophonist whose somber, slow tunes at midnight were reverberating through the thick stone walls of the Richelieu hallway of le louvre. Our weekend was marked by spontaneous musical intervals and for me, it was very special, being the week after my musical friend had passed away. I imagined he was there, in the air somewhere, waving a magical mystical conductor’s baton everywhere we went…

However, there was one particular interlude that moved me to tears. We were wandering around the palais royal and as we turned the corner there, out of nowhere, was a 12-piece string ensemble in full swing, performing la petite musique de nuit (4th mvt) , by Mozart – a song I have adored since I was a child. It whisked me right into the moment and I realised at that point that my mind had been everywhere else – thinking about loss, mortality, my family, past events, future projects… but then, for the first time in such a long time, I was right here, in the present, in the middle of Paris, captured in the moment by this music.

With wide eyes and whole heart, I listened, watched, and felt. My senses were enchanted.

I watched as a lady in the crowd waved her arm in the air and gently dropped it with each fall of each note. I watched the conductor – who was also playing a violin – as he came to the woman and played his instrument, just for her. The space between them was filled with admiration, love, passion, understanding and pure pleasure.

I was present.

The music filled my whole body and my heart heaved. As I took my next breath tears welled in my eyes. I watched this lady enjoy the performance without inhibition and I understood: this is life, and I am living it.

Please press the play button below…

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This one’s for you, Mum.

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  1. embrouillamini says

    Oh, Paris. I love that area around rue des Barres. L’eglise St. Gervais St. Protais is my favourite church in Paris; I wrote a hitotoki ( about one of its windows.

    June 6th, 2009 | #

  2. nadia says

    Oh such a lovely thing to hear and see. oh you have filled me things i need to start my day!

    thank you pia in paris!

    June 6th, 2009 | #

  3. valeria says

    belle, belle, belle! merci Pia! beautiful post. i believe thats cafe ruc in the background? i luv that place. thanks again!

    June 6th, 2009 | #

  4. josephine says

    love this soundscape! i was just thinking about “habanera” the other day. the photos are perfect, too 🙂

    June 7th, 2009 | #

  5. Secret Leaves says

    Your photos of Paris, both in this post and in the one below, are some of the prettiest I have seen. : )


    June 7th, 2009 | #

  6. Pippa Rex says

    I knew there was a reason I liked you. Everytime I revisit cities I plan where to eat – and eat and eat and eat. My memories of most places are food related. The music is also wonderful.

    June 7th, 2009 | #

  7. Lou says

    lovely Pia. I’m throwing a couple of euros in the big white suitcase…

    June 7th, 2009 | #

  8. Carol Ann says

    Love your blog- I am passing along the ” One Lovely Blog Award” to you today. Check my blog for the picture to attach to the face of your blog.
    To accept it you can blog about 15 blogs that you appreciate and enjoy…

    Carol Ann x

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  9. matchstic says

    Ohh looks so lovely! I arrive in Paris in 3 weeks! Woohoo!

    Pia, could you tell me where that photo is taken where you are looking up the street with the little cart and red geraniums in the foreground? I have to visit that spot – it looks so beautiful!!

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  10. Mary-Laure says

    How do you make those great recordings, dear Pia? Do you use some kind of recording device?

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  11. The Anthology says

    Your photos are always gorgeous, but I especially love how you cropped the one of the violins.


    June 8th, 2009 | #

  12. Alessia says

    Exquisite beyond words. This made me weep, I miss Paris so much.

    I’m loving these soundscapes, please keep them coming!

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  13. Jeska says

    yes, we herd lots of music too, people singing in the arches of the louvre and playing violins in the courtyards of Place des Vosges.

    Hoping this week is as lovely for you.

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  14. jennifer says

    how wonderful.

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  15. aileen says

    i’m completely enamored and intrigued by this post. it only makes my desire to one day travel and spend time in paris that much more heightened…
    – aileen

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  16. heather thibodeau carleton says

    Pia – thank you for the pictures and sound scape. Oh, how I miss Paris, and you my friend just allowed me to visit on this cold gray Portland morning. Thank you!!!

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  17. nyla says

    Sigh….. that was magical, Pia. Thank you! I am now primed and ready for my visit to Paris in two weeks (hurrah!) Your book will be my constant companion. I plan to visit a few of your choice shops!

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  18. Amanda Nicole says

    Oh my, what an enchanting scene! I love how you can hear the clink of the coins dropping while the music plays. I love the soundscape!

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  19. Maia says

    Wonderful shots, Pia!
    I recently got my mum (who was born in Holland) hooked on your blog. I knew it would be right up her alley. She loves it, and has been browsing your photos late into the night.

    June 8th, 2009 | #

  20. laura says

    what a beautiful moment you had there – i’m certain your friend had a (conducter’s) hand in orchestrating those emotions for you. lovely post!

    June 9th, 2009 | #

  21. the paris apartment says

    It’s like a surreal dream! And your photos are just fantastic! Thanks for sharing this beauty!

    June 9th, 2009 | #

  22. Sam says

    This is lovely! I was there that day having lunch at Le Nemours in Place Colette. We spent more time watching the lady than the musicians!

    June 9th, 2009 | #

  23. Aran says

    so beautiful pia… images and music that transport us. thank you!

    June 9th, 2009 | #

  24. heather says

    My new camera no longer records and I sadly miss that feature. Love these soundscapes of Paris. Always. Thanks so much for sharing such sweet sounds.

    June 9th, 2009 | #

  25. Stacy says

    Pia – you 4th to the last photo, the coble street where the cafe is, that is my favorite street in Paris. It’s perfect!

    June 10th, 2009 | #

  26. pia says

    thanks guys!! i love making soundscapes for you.

    stacy – me too, it is totally my favourite street, and i make a point of going there often, it has such a beautiful feeling about it.

    sam – i can’t believe you were there that very same day, that very same moment!! That is unbelievable.

    mary-laure – right now i use a rather complicated piece of machinery that only french boy knows how it works. We are looking into something simpler.

    mathstic – the street is rue des barres. it’s right next to one of the wanders in my book!

    carol ann – thank you so so much!!


    June 10th, 2009 | #

  27. B says

    This is lovely! It’s so hard for me to find something that brings me into the present that I really appreciate how special this must have been for you!

    June 10th, 2009 | #

  28. Ashlinn says

    You truly brought tears to my eyes- before I even listened to the music! You write beautifully.

    June 10th, 2009 | #

  29. Danielle says

    Ooooooh, j’ai les frissons!

    Paris, je t’aime. Un jour, j’irai te visiter…


    June 11th, 2009 | #

  30. Prêt à Voyager says

    beautiful and touching post, pia.


    June 11th, 2009 | #

  31. Sam says

    Yes Pia, I was there! Small world! I live in Paris and my parents were visiting that day. I was taking them around some of my favourite places in Paris. Garance Dore (blogeuse extraordinaire) was also at the cafe I think.

    June 11th, 2009 | #

  32. Anna says

    Tears just filled my eyes as I was reading your story. What beauty. I am thankful that you shared that with me. I leave next week for my first trip to Paris. I am enjoying exploring your blog! Love from Anna in Texas

    March 22nd, 2010 | #

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