Paris: dining and street performers?
I've enjoyed reading this board over the past few weeks getting many ideas for our upcoming week in the 3rd. Husband and I are looking forward to eating nice but casual French food and/or drinking red wine. The kids are looking forward to watching street performers. Are there any ways to combine these to please both parents and kids? Either sit down (dinner or lunch on a terrace) or picnic or ?? Where are the street performer hotspots anyway?
Thanks so much for any suggestions.
Friday/Saturday nights, there's generally Hip-Hop dancers at the Place de la Bastille, near Rue de la Roquette. If you're lucky, you might see some serious breakers who have been at it for a long time. Nowhere with a view of the scene has anything worthwhile to eat or drink.
Weekend afternoons, you might find music on the place between Stalingrad et Jaures, near the Quai de la Loire. Again, picnics only.
Also weekend afternoons, usually Sunday afternoon, but sometimes Saturday, there is or used to be a Kurdish marching band that would go through the 11th, in the area between r de la Roquette, Bd de Charonne, rue Alexandre Dumas, and Bd Voltaire. It's been over a year since I've seen them, so they might be gone.
I've sometimes seen street performers in the Butte-aux-Cailles area, too.
Street performers are concentrated mainly in the tourist zones. Tourist zones tend to have the highest concentration of mediocre restaurants/ cafés. So there's the rub.
Obviously street performers have no set schedule. Probably your best bets for stumbling across them are in front of Sacre Coeur, the place Georges Pompidou in front of the Centre Pompidou, and "La Mouffe"/ rue Mouffetard/ place Monge/ place Saint Médard in the 5th.
I find Sacré Coeur a bit of a zoo-- and worse, thanks to the very aggressive bracelet/ souvenir sellers around the furnicular stations and steps up from the place Saint Pierre, the tackiness of the rue Steinkerque (the usual route from Anvers métro), and the contrived Frenchness of the tourist-trap pick-pocket paradise place du Tertre... more pleasant if you use the meandering Montmartrobus from the place Pigalle to the Place du Tertre-Norvins stop... and hanging around for a street performance with the other not always well behaved tourists on the steps of Sacré Coeur means BYOB.
The Centre Pompidou "parvis"in the 4th is a little more civilized with lots of cafés lining the square....my fave is the trendy Café Beaubourg... most performances do, unfortunately, occur in the middle of the place Pompidou and will require one of the parents to take the kids for a closer look... some performers do make stops at most of the cafés but this cannot be guaranteed.
"La Mouffe" in the 5th is quite a popular street-performer territory... especially at night. But, again, no guarantee that there will be any when you go. Occasionally there are some in the morning at the place Monge outdoor market (Wed + Fri + Sun) but more usually at night all along the rue Mouffetard. A good vantage point: La Cave la Bourgogne (especially for wine-lovers) on the rue Mouffetard @ square St Médard.
There are some restos/ wine bars with trad French or jazz music nights that might appeal: Les Pipos on the rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique/ rue de la Montagne Ste-Geneviève in the 5th ... trad music evenings on Fri and Sat, usally accordéon player/ singer and sometimes a vielle à roule (hurdy-gurdy ?)... prob after 8pm or so but check... but oops, closed for a few weeks in August; and the front bar at La Mascotte on the rue des Abbesses in the 18th... "musette" Sundays at lunchtime... usually trad French songs and, gulp, singalongs.
My neighborhood market square in the 18th (Poteau/Duhesme) frequently has street bands (klezmer, Dixieland, traditional French) on weekends. I have no idea who decides who comes when but the Maire/Mairie must. Alas there's not a place to eat a real meal at that I'd recommend to watch them from, but maybe it's time for me to give Les Jolis Mômes another shot.
Depends when you are there. During the Fete de Musique (sp) there are groups performing all over Paris.
If the weather is good there are almost always skaters in the square on Rue Rivoli right in front of the Palais Royale. There is another smaller square a bit to the north where you can sit outside the Cafe Nemours and listen to some very good classical music performed students. They are not always there and I have no idea if there is a schedule or what it may be.
I have also seen a group doing old time swing on Rue Montorgueil on weekends but not in recent years.
I've not seen that many street performers in Paris; most of them school based fanfare (*) in and around the Palais Royal; no real sit down places to watch.
There are shows in the Jardins du luxembourg, that would be fun for a picnic (http://www.senat.fr/visite/jardin/)
You might catch some street performers while sitting around the square near Beaubourg.
(*) I've seen "Les Plaies Mobiles" play there a couple of times.