photographs,  video

Sardana in the Jardin

Last week I was in Paris with Martin and my mother, and it was a wonderful holiday in a beautiful city. Perhaps one of the best memories of the trip was an unexpected spectacle when we visited the Jardin du Luxembourg.

It was our last day in the city and we decided to take it easy. We feasted upon galettes (buckwheat crepes) at noon and wandered down to the Jardin without any particular plan. After all the breath-taking architecture in Paris it was a welcome relief to be in this pleasant green space.

Medici Fountain

That’s the Medici Fountain near the entrance to the garden. We were lucky to have yet another warm, clear day so we drifted under the shade of the trees, listening to the sound of water, and admiring the numerous statues studded throughout the Jardin.

Just as we reached the pagoda we noticed a band setting up. Delighted at the prospect of a free concert, we pulled up a trio of chairs and settled in.

Cobla in the Pagoda in Jardin du Luxembourg

Shortly after the band began to play a group of people got up, formed a circle, and began to dance. It looked quite spontaneous to us, so we were perplexed, but enchanted by the sight. Honestly, the music and the circle immediately made me think of The Wicker Man!

Sardana in Jardin du Luxembourg

It was quickly apparent that many of the people in the audience had attended this concert specifically to dance to the music. We later learned that this was a traditional Catalonian folk band (called a Cobla), and the people were dancing a Sardana (circle dance). Many of them were chatting in Catalan as well as in French.

I shot a short video of the dancers and the musicians at work.

This band is Cobla Marinada. I bought one of their CDs as thanks for the entertainment.

It was a magical afternoon. As we sat there and listened to the various songs, and the people rose up again and again to dance along to the music, I was deeply moved by this joyous expression of community, and cultural spirit.

After an hour and a half we got up and moved on to explore the Jardin a little further, but when we passed by later the music continued to breathe up through the autumnal leaves, and the dancers sweated and smiled as their feet stepped high to the beat.

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