Another action packed day. As we take the bus into the centre of Paris we have the opportunity to stop and explore a music shop on the where a couple of harmonicas are bought. Beware Germany, harmonica duet is on the table.
As we further approach the city centre, we learn that in France, you give way to traffic that wants to enter the roundabout rather than that which is already circulating it, which, when there are few road markings, can be a bit of a free for all, especially when there are eight, yes. Eight, lanes of traffic.
Our second stop of the day is the Arc de Triomphe where we have an hour to look around the base of the arc, take some photos and see the eternal flame. From here we begin the long walk down the Champs-Elysees which takes up a lot of what remains of the day before our evening performance.
As we reach the halfway point of the walk, we come across a small hut with a large area for seating behind it. Stopping for a rest, some of our musicians approach the hut to buy a drink, to find that it is not only a small drinks stall, but a crepe stand. Can you get something more French? The only things to be said about this is that they had a very good day for business and that what they produced was top quality. Once we reach the end of the road, the group comes upon a garden, the very one we are to be performing in later in fact, but there is very little time to find the bandstand as many queue for ice-creams and drinks to cool us from the heat, which we are yet to adjust to.
Now running later than we would have liked because of Parisian rush hour traffic, we arrive at the band stand in Parc Montsouris where we performed our first full 90-minute set, apart from the few songs we had to cut to make up for lost time. No matter because we still gathered a crowd, many of whom stayed to watch our entire performance, even through the light rain showers, the wind and the heat. After the performance, city officials spoke to Mr Bryant, saying that we were one of the best groups to have performed on that stage, which just goes to show that the hard work we put in payed off.
Evening time comes and we are once again dining at the hotel restaurant where the food has improved tenfold from our previous experience, although the food was not to everybody’s liking.
This night there was no entertainment apart from what we had brought with us, as the staff wanted us all in bed so we could be ready for the next day.
Our last full day in Paris was one of more relaxation than the previous couple. After a breakfast of cereals, croissants and yoghurt (like the previous days) we boarded the coach which took us to the river Seine, where we found that we would be taking an hour and half river tour which would give us the opportunity to see some famous places which Paris holds, such as the Louvre.
After the tour had finished we once again climbed onto the coaches which took us on a short trip around the city, including the place where Lady Diana was killed. After the short drive, we reached our next stop, the Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck. An elevator took us to the very top floor where we had the opportunity to see the views of Paris from one of the tallest buildings in the City. A few steps up and we could walk on the roof of the tower where the views were even better than the floor below. As well as the views, there was the “Sky Bar” which sold both soft and alcoholic drinks; however, a small flute of champagne was all of 12 euros, never mind as some great pictures were taken, especially of the Eiffel Tower and the park next to it where we were to play later in the day.
It gets to half past four in the French afternoon with the sun still beating down, but the temperatures cooling down to make it slightly more bearable. The band is all set up and ready to play in Parc Champs du Mars, right next to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Sound check complete, we start with thirty minutes of big band and the UCC singers as well as a couple of solo performances, followed by the Wind band which includes the Queen Medley, Disney Medley and music for Wicked. Once again, we manage to draw a crowd from the surrounding area and have a few members of our audience up on their feet dancing to the tunes that we are providing for them. Once we have finished our final performance in Paris, we are congratulated with a warm round of applause from our listeners, all of whom are impressed with our work. It is at this point Mr Bryant becomes emotional as he realises that our UCC Music Paris Tour 2017 has come to an end and that he is proud of the bands for pulling together to make it a sUCCess when there were times when it looked like it wouldn’t happen.
Back at the restaurant for our final Parisian evening meal, there is an awards ceremony hosted by Mr Bryant and Mr Gordon, with certificates going to the people with the best hairdo, the most improved, and as stated earlier, the best show off, with the last being awarded to Appleby’s Robert McNicol.