Close Encounters with French Culture
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:43AM
Christopher in Armchair Paris, Best of, French Culture, Marc Lavoine, Pierre Cardin

My friends here often say I have an uncanny way of meeting people.  Especially in a city where I am not a native and in France there are often cultural barriers. 

Over the years, I've realized that in France things work by introduction, and one person leads to another.  So for me, there's a seamless connection between everyone I've met over nearly ten years in Paris.  My friend MC, who loves to hear about all of the people I cross paths with, has convinced me that you might like to hear these stories too.  So here's a couple of recent meetings that illustrate how this works.  Let me know if you are interested in hearing more about the cultural factors in friendship in France further and share other stories of the interesting people I've met in Paris. 

Through my friend Caroline, who was visiting from LA, I got the chance to meet a long-popular French singer.  A true Parisienne who left for sunny Los Angeles nearly ten years ago, Caroline still maintains strong family ties to Paris. 

A few weeks ago, we met for a coffee one afternoon during a visit to Paris with her daughter.  In an offhanded way, she mentioned that she was going to a private concert that evening given by Marc Lavoine.  He's a French pop star with a consistent string of hits back to the 1980s, who has an especially poetic way of writing songs.  In the same style as Seal who is better known outside of France.  He's also managed to succesfully make the leap to the big screen, starring in several successful films.  When I told Caroline he was one of my favorites, she kindly offered to take me as her guest. 

I discovered the Marc lavoine's music in 2001, when first learning French.  I would listen to his soulful ballads while following along with the words.  I eventually memorized many of his songs and remain convinced that music is a great tool to master a language.  Read about his career as a musician and actor.

Marc Lavoine in ConcertThe concert was fantastic, there were less than 200 people at the event which was the launch of his concert tour, where he would play in front of thousands of spectators.   Afterwards at dinner, Caroline ran into another French friend of hers who was also visiting from LA.  It turns out he's Marc’s brother-in-law, so he introduced us to Marc who was eating with his wife on the other side of the same restaurant.  Very fun - except I didn't have my camera and Caroline who is not such a fan refused to delete any photos of her daughter from her camera to take my picture with Marc.  Oh well, still a nice memory.

A few weeks later, through Victoria, who leads our Perfume Workshops, I got to meet someone who doesn't need any introduction - fashion designer Pierre Cardin. 

She invited me to join her at a cocktail party celebrating sixty years of Pierre Cardin's career as a designer.  Victoria has known Pierre for some time, having worked with him for ten years befrore she changed careers to focus on her passion, Perfume.  Pierre CardinIt was held in the private rooms of Maxim’s which house his remarkable collection of Art Nouveau furniture.  At 87, he’s still in great shape and continues to run his company and have a hand in the design process.  One of the few remaining legends in French Fashion, he’s an iconic part of French culture.  If you'd like a private tour of Pierre Cardin’s furniture collection, I can arrange that for you.

So between writing new tours and meeting French icons it’s been a busy two months. LOL

I'm glad life has gotten back to normal and I look forward to meeting some of you this summer in Paris!


Article originally appeared on Paris Wise - Everything you need to know paris-wise (http://paris-wise.com/).
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