When you are in Paris, you must go to Rue Mouffetard on Sunday around 11:00 AM. Take the metro to the Place Monge station, and you can do a little shopping, too, at the outdoor market there. To the rear of the market, rue Ortolan leads to Mouffetard, and once you cross Mouffetard, the street name changes to rue du Pot de Fer, which is a pedestrian-only street lined with cafes and shops. Exploring that street will be for another time. Mouffetard is cobble-stoned and one of the oldest streets in Paris. It was once part of an old Roman road to Rome via Lyon. On Sunday morning, a group of musicians gathers there and plays for tips. They looked like senior citizens to me, and yes, they were playing for money, but it looked as if they enjoyed playing music as much as the audience enjoyed hearing it.
Further on down Mouffetard, past all the shops and cafes, there was an outdoor karaoke song and dance show going on. Copies of lyrics to popular French songs were distributed to the crowd, and individuals were encouraged to take the mike and sing, and everyone was encouraged to dance right there in the street. I have never seen anything quite like it. There were 2 lead dancers who danced with each other and with members of the crowd. I thought Mouffetard would be a huge tourist attraction, but I really couldn’t tell tourists from French people, and, regardless, everyone at the karaoke show was having a good time.
On a more serious note, the church of Saint Medard is located adjacent to the song and dance show. This church was at the center of religious controversy because its priests espoused Jansenism, which the Catholic church declared to be heretical in the 1700s. Now it’s just a lovely old church, and there remains not a hint of its infamous past.
Sunday morning on rue Mouffetard is a people-watching treat and a great way to spend your day.
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