Archive for the ‘last night in Paris’ Category

Saturday 12th August 2017
Our last morning in Paris was spent at Culture Rapide drinking coffee and relaxing in the early morning sunshine before gathering our belonging and making our way to Gare du Nord to catch the 3:30pm Eurostar back to the UK.

IMG_2778As always Paris has been good to us; catching up with friends, meeting new like-minded souls, eating a vast amount of fantastic food and spending time in one of our favourite cities where the pace is gentle and the people are welcoming.

Arriving back in London is an assault on your senses. St Pancras is buzzing with the sound of kids running around and families waiting to board trains for a multitude of destinations.
We hoped on board a Thameslink train (direction Bedford) without checking that it stopped at all the stations on the line; of course it didn’t! We ended up getting off at the first available opportunity, which happened to be St Albans, turned ourselves around and took this gentle reminder that we were no longer in Paris, things weren’t so simple here and we must remember to check everything, twice.
Arriving at our hotel in Kensington about an hour later than planned was not such a big deal. We checked in, dropped off our cases and bags and headed straight out to see what the area was like.
Our hotel is just around the corner from the Olympia which had just closed its doors on a 3-day beer festival and you can believe it when I say everyone there seemed to have had a ‘merry’ old time; I’ve rarely seen such drunkenness in the streets of London. Everyone was in good spirits and as well as the beer, seemed to have indulged in odd head-wear (chickens, unicorns and frogs seemed to be the most popular and I bet the company that had the stall selling these were in good spirits too). Also at the end of the street we are staying on is the London publishing offices for Universal Music Group, home to some of the world’s leading writers and artists across a huge range of genres and sub-labels.
This time next summer they will have moved into a new building at Kings Cross / St Pancras: https://umusic.co.uk/umusic-blog/fourpancrassq

Feeling tired and not in the mood for a big night out, we stopped in at a local Pizza Express, had a quick bite to eat and made our way back to the hotel for the evening.

Sunday 13th August 2017
Everything in London seemed a little odd today.
We knew about the Sunday Trading By-Law that is in place in England, but hadn’t remembered it all being so strange. We popped into a large TESCO store near our hotel to pick up a few bits ‘n’ pieces. It was 10:45am and although the place was quiet (for a mega store) there were still a fair few customers filling their trolleys. We were about to make our way to the cash desk when “Bing-bong customer announcement: I’d like to remind customers that we are not able to process any transactions until after 11am on a Sunday. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Bing-Bong”.
I found myself asking “why have you opened the doors then? What’s the point in letting people in if you can’t serve them?”  I wondered if it was so people could fill their trolleys and be ready to hit the tills as soon as 11am arrived?
Problem was easily solved as there was a little coffee place (they were allowed to serve us due to only having a few staff members) with free WiFi – soon we’d be able to process our purchases and start our day properly.

Later we walked along to Kensington High Street before making our way to meet our good friends Joe & Martin for lunch at The Windsor Castle. The bar was originally built in 1826 and is now a Grade II listed building. They have a lovely courtyard space with outside bars. We didn’t spend much time inside, but it seemed to be very traditional with lots of real ale pumps and dark wood. I imagine in the winter it’s a wonderful cosy place to spend your time, but on a lovely summer day we were best placed at one of the picnic style tables out back.
From there we wandered through Holland Park which was incredibly busy so we didn’t stay too long. We walking through Notting Hill Gate, Regents Park and finally hitting Baker Street. By this point in the afternoon it was time for another coffee before a spot of window shopping and the occasional rest in parks along the way before finding somewhere to have our evening meal. We ate at Cinnamon Spice – cheap and cheerful but full of wonderful flavour and spice (just as the name might suggest).

Sometimes it’s easy to look at London and see only the good bits; beautiful parks, historic streets, great venues and a multi-cultural community where everyone is welcome.
At other times it’s easy to see the city as a difficult place; dirty and filled with people rushing to and fro, no time for manners or stopping to admire everything on their doorsteps.
Today was somewhere in between. The grass isn’t always greener and perhaps after 3 weeks away from home (and our home comforts) I’m starting to miss Edinburgh and everything that makes our home city so great.

NEXT UP:
Sacre Noir @ SINK! The Blueberry Bar, Shoreditch for Plugged In Switched On

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Thursday 10th August 2017: RKC session and interview with Jerome

There is a wonderful band of synchronicity running through this final Sacre Noir tour and today is really the culmination of old and new connections coming together.
We have been very lucky over the last few years to have gained support from a few online radio stations, this in turn has helped us grow our audience and has opened us up to a whole new audience who many have otherwise never have heard our music.
A few of these online legends have been based on our home-turf (Scotland’s very on Donald Strachan and a very clever Jack Russell who writes for Ralph’s Life blog) and we’re just lucky that these folk have a great online following and are truly dedicated to promoting new and underground music.
From our connection with Ralph’s Life we made friends with others at Radio Kaoss Caribou and the man behind it all (Jerome) came to our show at BDA loved what he saw and invited us out to the RKC studios for a live session and interview – of course we said “yes”.
Image result for radio kaoss caribou facebook
RKC is a non-profit organization and are fully unsponsored which both Alexis and I really appreciate. It suggests that the DJs and producers of shows are really genuine in their playlist choices; it’s music they love and want to share, not music that they are being paid to promote.
You can listen to our interview here:
https://www.mixcloud.com/RadioKC/sacrenoir-radiokc-paris-interview-2017/

Friday 11th August 2017: Last full day in Paris

We spent our last full day in Paris shopping and eating in the famous side-streets and soaking up the Parisian atmosphere before heading back to the apartment and packing our bags ready for our return to London.

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We made a pit-stop at Eric Kayser’s boulangerie on Rue Monge to sample the delights of this world famous baker.
“The Maison Kayser story began at 8 Rue Monge on Friday the 13th, September 1996. It was the natural conclusion of its young founder’s journey. “

I got the classic Lemon Tart and Alexis got a fruit crumble – both were fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concert at La Dame de Canton, Paris (with AsOne)
This was our last full day in Paris for this trip and tonight we return to La Dame de Canton for a show with our favourite French band – AsOne.
Before that there was time to visit markets, wander streets, drink coffee, sit in parks and eat some lunch. We also found time to do some promotion for the show whilst spotting some great street art & funny menus (seriously).

Chip Butty (seriously)

Chip Butty (seriously) – The Sunken Chip

After what turned out to be quite a busy day, we got ourselves together for the show. Packing ourselves and the equipment into the tiny lift in our building was the first challenge, but that was pretty much the only challenge of the evening.

Sign at La Dame de Canton

Sign at La Dame de Canton

Jumping on the METRO at Gambetta, changing at Nation (the area we stayed in last summer) and finally arriving at Quai de la Gare in under 30 minutes all seemed too easy. We arrived at the venue (an old Chinese junk boat which is moored in the Seine) and AsOne were already there, getting up & getting ready to sound check.

AsOne sound check at La Dame de Canton, Paris

AsOne sound check at La Dame de Canton, Paris

It was great to see them all again – they really are a great bunch of musicians and lovely people to hang out with too. They’ve been taking some time out since last year to write & record new AsOne material (which I can’t wait to hear), Chloe has her solo project & Miam (her cabaret duo project) and Damien has recently started a new project too, so this alongside family life and work commitments I’m amazed they found time to do anything together. Playing shows with bands where there are 4+ members reminds me how easy we have it with the Sacre Noir set up. There are 6 members of AsOne and I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that must be to organise. However, as they sound checked I started to remember just why I love this band so much and was just thankful that they do manage to organise themselves.
Our sound engineer for the evening, Romain, was great! He was just back from touring with IGIT (French Folky, Bluesy singer / songwriter who fuses electronics & loops to offer a modern Tom Waits style setting for his distinctive voice) and made everything seem very simple. He was friendly and relaxed and patient with our stilted French. The team at La Dame de Canton have been truly great to work with; incredibly supportive and professional from start to finish, we love working with people like this.

Sacre Noir live at La Dame de Canton, Paris (photo by Chacal Fréville)

Sacre Noir live at La Dame de Canton, Paris (photo by Chacal Fréville)

It was a great night. We ate, drank, played and danced, enjoyed the music and company and when time came to go ‘home’, we left knowing that this wont be the last time we meet with AsOne. There is a definite connection between the two acts and maybe one day we’ll even tempt them over to the UK to play some concerts here.

AsOne / Sacre Noir - Paris July 2015

AsOne / Sacre Noir – Paris July 2015

We gratefully accepted a life home to Gambetta with all the equipment from Roberto (AsOne collaborator & poet / musician). As we drove through the city in the early hours of the morning, the street lights sparkled, the bars and late-night cafes began to close and the bakers started work at the Boulangerie et Patisserie.

The evening ended with the discovery that my left eye had become blood-shot (like seriously). . . too much sun is what Google told me was the most likely cause.
So off to bed for one last time in this fantastic city as tomorrow we head home to another.