Archive for the ‘festivals’ Category

La Foire Africaine – Part VI – Behind the Scenes

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
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Following the opening ceremony on Friday evening, master of ceremonies Daffirma Ibamu escorted dignitaries around the exhibition hall to meet the exhibitors.

Appolinaire Timpiga Compaoré - Daffirma Ibamu

Appolinaire Timpiga Compaoré and Daffirma Ibamu with Bookseller
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

In the photograph above, Madame Ibamu holds the microphone while a bookseller talks about his books with Appolinaire Timpiga Compaoré, the major sponsor of the faire.

While I was walking around the exhibition hall on Sunday, I ran into Fofo Forey Fumey, a photojournalist whom I met at a recent photo exhibition. Fofo guided me to a press conference that was taking place in a private area where journalist Mica Manquat was interviewing dignitaries.

Ginette Côte d'Ivoire and Mariana-Guinea

Ginette from Côte d’Ivoire and Mariana from Guinea
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Two young women (pictured above) acting as hostesses greeted me in the press room. Then, I turned my attention to the conference that was taking place.

Mica Manquat Interviews Dignitaries at the African Fair

Mica Manquat Interviews Dignitaries at the African Fair
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

In the photograph above, Mica (wearing earphones) poses some questions for Appolinaire Timpiga Compaoré (in the center, to the right of the poster).

Marie-Michaël (Mica) Manquat

Marie-Michaël (Mica) Manquat, Journalist
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

As well as her work as a journalist, Mica publishes a blog (in French) about Creole culture in Paris.

I didn’t stay for the closing ceremony on Sunday evening, but as I was leaving I stepped into the hall and was greeted by the lovely sight of four women who had won honors at a recent Miss Afro-Ethnic France pageant.

Miss Afro-Ethnic France 2016

Miss Afro-Ethnic France 2016
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Acetou Camara of the Soninké community (on the right) is the winner of the title Miss Afro-Ethnic France.

Thanks to Astou Arnould, public relations specialist, who helped me identify many of the people whom I photographed!

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An African Fair in Paris – Part III – Food and Beverage

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
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Chez Maman Alice

Chez Maman Alice – The Dining Area
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I arrived at the exhibition hall around 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27 and decided that I should get lunch before walking around to look at the exhibits. I saw that the food stand called Chez Maman Alice had a nice area for sit-down dining, so I decided to try the food there.

One of the women invited me to take a table, so I entered the dining area and made myself comfortable. I ordered two beef kabobs, three beef samosas, a serving of rice, and a green salad. I also ordered a Heineken beer, which was served in a 67cl size can. It was a delicious meal, and the price came to only 11€.

Maman Alice and Her Staff

Maman Alice and Her Staff
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I took a photo of Maman Alice and her staff. From left to right are Marie, Adele, Maman Alice, Frida, Maroua, and Youdi. All but Maroua hail from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Maroua is Moroccan.

With a full belly, I was ready to explore the exhibition.

D'Jackson Suriam and Christophe Luijer

D’Jackson Suriam and Christophe Luijer — So’Kanaa
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Sokanaa machine

Christophe Luijer’s Cane-juice Extraction Machine
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I came upon D’Jackson Suriam from Martinique and Christophe Luijer from Holland, where they were selling fresh-pressed juice from the sugar cane. Christophe told me that he invented the machine that crushes a stick of sugar cane to extract its sweet juice. I tried a cup and found it to be wonderfully refreshing. Christophe calls his company So’Kanna.

D'Jackson Suriam with Océana Magazine

D’Jackson Suriam with Océana Magazine
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

D’Jackson is Christope’s partner at So’Kanna. He is also editor and director of a new international culture and lifestyle magazine called Océana.

Next…vendors and exhibitors at the fair.

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An African Fair in Paris – Part II – The Fashion Show

Sunday, June 5th, 2016
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Following the music and dancing, six models exhibited the ready-to-wear clothing of Martinican fashion designer Mireille Barclais.

Cressylia Dubousquet - Miss Multicolor France 2016

Cressylia Dubousquet
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net2016

Cressylia, who hails from Martinique, was elected Première Dauphine at the Miss Multicolor France pageant this year. Read more about her (in French) here.

Balbina D'almeida

Balbina D’almeida
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Balbina, who hails from Togo, was elected Miss Togo France Europe in 2015. Read more about her here.

Dialel Ba

Dialel Ba
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Dialel hails from Senegal. She was finalist in the Miss Senegal France pageant for 2016.

Koudia Mbaye

Koudia Mbaye
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Koudia hails from Senegal.

Cressylia's Children

Cressylia’s Children
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Cressylia and Her Children

Cressylia and Her Children
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Cressylia’s daughter and son took the stage to model children’s wear.

Khoudia Presents Mireille Barclais

Khoudia Presents Mireille Barclais
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

At the end of the fashion show, Mireille Barclais came on stage to acknowledge the audience’s appreciation of her beautiful clothes.

Next…food and beverage at the fair.

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4th of July Celebration on the Ourcq Canal

Sunday, July 5th, 2015
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Tom Reeves and Monique Y. Wells

Tom Reeves and Monique Y. Wells
Photographs by www.DiscoverParis.net

Yesterday evening we got aboard a boat to take a 4th of July cruise along the Ourcq Canal. Organized by the Seine-Saint-Denis Office of Tourism, the tour featured jazz entertainment by the Kalini Trio, Chicago-style hot dogs by Little Kitchen, and craft beer by Deck & Donohue, an artisanal brewery.

Kalani Trio - Caroline Wyatt - Arthur Links - Gabriel Midon

Kalani Trio with American Caroline Wyatt on vocals and French Arthur Links and Gabriel Midon on guitar and bass
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

American Mike Donohue and French Thomas Deck, founders of Deck & Donohue Brewery

American Mike Donohue and French Thomas Deck, Founders of Deck & Donohue
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Darin and Sandriene Bieck, Founders of Little Kitchen

American and French Husband and Wife Team Darin and Sandriene Bieck, Founders of Little Kitchen
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Inside the Boat

Inside the Boat
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Marianne of Tom's River New Jersey

Marianne of Tom’s River, New Jersey
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

A number of Americans were on board, including Marianne from Tom’s River, New Jersey. She is currently studying natural medicine in Hamburg, Germany and came to Paris for a brief stay.

Mike Donohue Pours a Cold Beer

Mike Donohue Pours a Cold Beer
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Chicago Hot Dogs and Chocolate Fondant

Chicago-style Hot Dogs and Chocolate Fondant by Little Kitchen
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

All the ingredients were there for a great 4th of July celebration: good music, cold beer, and generous hot dogs. A good time was had by all!

Celebrating the 4th of July

Celebrating the 4th of July
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

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On Bastille Day, Celebrate France’s Joie de vivre with Books by the Members of the Paris Writers’ Connection

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
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Paris Writers Connection

 

French FlagBastille Day falls on July 14, only a few days away. To celebrate that day, we asked the members of the Paris Writers’ Connection tell us what they like about Paris. Happy Bastille Day and happy reading!

 

Vicki Lesage, author of Confessions of a Paris Party Girl

Vicki LesageMy favorite thing about Paris is my neighborhood boulangerie and the routine of getting my daily baguette. Even though there are two boulangeries closer to my apartment, I still venture out to my favorite one because the perfection of their baguettes is worth it. And now I bring my two-year-old son with me so he can share in this quintessential French experience. He knows how to order the baguette (hilariously addressing the boulangère as “Madame Baguette” in the process), pay for it (if I hand him the correct change in advance), and carry it home like a true Parisian: eating just the end off.

Confessions of a Paris Party GirlVicki Lesage proves daily that raising French kids isn’t as easy as the hype lets on. She penned three books in between diaper changes and wine refills: Confessions of a Paris Party Girl, Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer, and Petite Confessions. She writes about the ups and downs of life in the City of Light at VickiLesage.com.

Buy now: http://www.amazon.com/Vicki-Lesage/e/B00HUZQUI4

 

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Tom Reeves, author of Dining Out in Paris – What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light

Tom ReevesThere are many things to like about Paris, but for me the most pleasurable is the quality of the restaurants that one finds here. French chefs, restaurant managers, and staff have mastered the art of preparation and presentation of the food that they serve, the spirit of service, and the arrangement of the dining space. Each week, my wife and I look forward to dining out and then reporting on our experience in our weekly restaurant review.

 

Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first took an unpaid sabbatical in 1975 to travel to France to learn the language, see the country, and pursue a diploma in French language, literature, and civilization. Returning to California in 1978, he eventually realized that while he had left France, France had never left him. He moved back permanently in 1992. Reeves’ latest book Dining Out in Paris – What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light helps Paris-bound travelers understand French dining customs so that they feel comfortable when entering into a French restaurant for the first time.

Buy now: http://amzn.to/1nkgCyu

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Lily Heise, author of Je T’Aime…Me Neither

Lily HeiseThe thing I love the most about Paris is its joie de vivre. This is manifested in different ways, but I truly feel that Parisians celebrate life. They take the time to sip un petit café at the bar or a laugh over a glass of rosé en terrasse. They savor their meals over hours instead of gobbling down a quick bite. They spend Sunday afternoons in the park or taking in an exhibit at the city’s vast array of excellent museums. This energy keeps me here and keeps me alive!

 

 

Je t'aime... me neitherApril Lily Heise is a Canadian writer and romance expert based in Paris. Her writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, Frommer’s, City Secrets, and DK Eyewitness Guides and other local and international publications. She is the author of Je T’Aime, Me Neither, a lively novelized memoir on her romantic misadventures and continues to share dating tips, stories, and travel features on her blog www.jetaimemeneither.com.

 

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Rosemary Flannery, author of Angels of Paris

Rosemary FlanneryThe truly great thing about Paris is its constant surprises. This evening Radio Classique offered a classical music concert sponsored by the RATP in the great hall of the Miromesnil metro station. The space was packed, the acoustics were perfect, and the violinist, Nemanja Radulovic, a brilliant young star. Tattooed, his huge mane of hair waving as he moved, his passion for the music was palpable, and the familiar pieces resounded as never before. This was not the first time Radulovic played in the metro: it was here at the age of 14, having moved with his family from Serbia to France after the Yugoslav Wars, that he began his career, busking for money. I felt truly grateful to have been part of such an original evening, and thought ‘only in Paris’. . .

 

Angels of ParisRosemary Flannery is an author, photographer and tour guide. She arrived in France in1989, just in time for the bicentenary of the Revolution and the inauguration of the Louvre museum and its Pyramid. Passionate about Parisian architecture, she wrote Angels of Paris: An Architectural Tour of the History of Paris, celebrating the illustration of angels in the city’s facades, fountains and rooftops. Released in 2012 by The Little Bookroom NYC and distributed by Random House, her book will be published in French this September as Les Anges de Paris: Voyage au coeur de Paris, by Editions Exergue.

 

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Leonard Pitt, author of Walks Through Lost Paris

Leonard PittParis is made for walking. There are walks I’ve been doing for over fifty years and they only get better. Like turning a rich soil and taking in the pungent aroma of fresh earth that flairs the nostrils with pleasure. An early morning when the cafes are just opening is best, before traffic, crowds, and tour buses. The city breathes Zen.

 

 

 

Walks through Lost ParisLeonard Pitt is an author, actor, and teacher. He lived in Paris for seven years in the 1960s and learned nothing about the city. It was only much later, in the 1990s, when he became shocked upon learning what he did not know that he started reading and researching everything he could about Paris and its history. As someone once said, “If you want to learn about something, write a book about it.” Leonard has written three books about Paris. His first, Walks Through Lost Paris was a bestseller in the French capital. In addition he has written, Paris, A Journey Through Time, and Paris Postcards, the Golden Age. His new book, My Brain On Fire, Paris and Other Obsessions, is a memoir. It will be published later this year by Counterpoint Press.

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On Bastille Day, Celebrate France’s Joie de vivre with Books by the Members of the Paris Writers’ Connection

Noël Gourmand

Friday, December 26th, 2014
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The second annual Noël Gourmand (Christmas Wine and Gastronomy Festival) is over, and what a great festival it was! Held from the 19th to the 22nd of December at the Brongniart Palace, it was a wonderful opportunity for Parisians to come into contact with producers of fine French fare from all over the country.

I attended on the last day and had the occasion to meet and talk with a number of producers.

Nathalie of Sous L'Equateur

Nathalie of Sous l’Equateur
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I met Nathalie, who was distributing chocolate ganaches produced by Sous l’Equateur, an artisanal chocolate maker located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. She offered a divine cream-filled milk chocolate that contained bits of hazelnut. She told me that the company also sells fresh-roasted coffee on the premises.

Alban Laban

Alban Laban
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I met Alban Laban of the company of the same name. He raises free-range ducks on his farm, located in the Pyrenees in southern France, and transforms them into canned products (such as rillettes de cananrd and cassoulet au confit de canard) and fresh products (such as saucisson de canard and foie gras au sel).

Chantal of G.A.E.C. Chambon

Chantal of G.A.E.C. Chambon
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Nearby at another stand, Chantal (from a farm located in the Franche-Comté region, not too far from Switzerland) was cooking a batch of morbiflette, a hearty dish made from onion, sliced potato, chopped bacon, and Morbier cheese.

Gloria of Lou Peyrou

Gloria of Lou Peyrou
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I stopped by the Lou Peyrou stand an ordered a sandwich made from a sliced baguette and Saint-Nectaire, a cow’s milk cheese from the Auvergne region. Gloria, who served me, was also selling aligot, a traditional dish made from melted cheese, butter, and mashed potato. While I was waiting for her to prepare my sandwich, I saw numerous customers come by to purchase copious portions of this waist-enhancing fare.

How in the world do the French stay slim eating these rich foods? It is one of life’s great mysteries.

Anthony of L'Eurélienne

Anthony of L’Eurélienne
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Around the corner and in a side room I came upon Anthony of L’Eurélienne, a microbrewery located on a farm in the Loire Valley near the town of Chartres. Anthony told me that they brew their beer from the barley that they grow on the farm.

I spotted cuvée de Noël (Christmas beer) on the beverage list and ordered a 25cl glass. Served fresh from the tap, it was an unfiltered, unpasteurized, double-fermented, brown beer that I found fully satisfying and refreshing. Anthony said that it is flavored with star anise, cardamon, cinnamon, and licorice root.

I wondered if Elisabeth Pierre, who wrote Le Guide Hachette des Bières, had sampled this company’s beer. There are so many great artisanal breweries in France!

Jean-Pierre of BiPiA

Jean-Pierre of BiPiA
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

While at the bar, I met Jean-Pierre of BiPiA, a producer from the Basque region of France.  As he finished his coffee break, he invited me to come by his stand.

When I got there, I immediately noticed the three Basque flags on the wall behind him.  I saw that he was selling Espelette pepper in all its forms: in preserves, sauces, and condiments, as well as in jellies and purees. Although I didn’t see it at the stand, Espelette is also sold as whole peppers strung on cords.

I left the Noël Gourmand fair in good spirits. It had been a great opportunity to taste wonderful French regional products and meet the producers directly. I look forward to attending this event next year!

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I Love Italian Food – The Fuori Salone

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
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I Love Italian Food

Monique and I got an invitation to attend the I Love Italian Food festival last week. It was held at the Showroom Poliform Varenna on rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement. What a great celebration it was!

Charline Dayer and Mary Kay Bosshart

Charline Dayer and Mary Kay Bosshart
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

We met a number of Paris bloggers there, including Mary Kay Bossart of Out and About in Paris.

Ferrari Maximum Trento DOC

Ferrari Maximum Trento DOC
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

We got there just a bit early. While we waited for the food stands to open, we sipped a bit of bubbly called Ferrari Maximum Trento DOC. Ferrari is a sparkling wine produced in Trentino, Italy. It’s not a prosecco—it’s produced according to traditional champagne methods, including second fermentation in the bottle. I enjoyed its dry, elegant flavor as much as any champagne that I have ever tasted.

Open-faced Sandwiches Above: sun-dried tomato; Below: olive paste Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Open-faced Sandwiches
Above: sun-dried tomato; Below: olive paste
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Finally, the food stands opened and we went upstairs to sample a wide variety of Italian fare. I tried a couple of delicious open-faced sandwiches.

Parmareggio Brand Cheese

Parmareggio Brand Cheese
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Parmesan cheese had been cut from the wheel in large chunks. This was the first time ever that I have been able to sample as much as I wanted—it was almost like being in a dream. I enjoyed its sharp, almost pungent, flavor and its gritty texture.

Beretta Brand Mortadella

Beretta Brand Mortadella
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Moving from one stand to the next, I tried several slices of Beretta brand Mortadella. I must have been in heaven, because nobody stopped me from taking as much as I wanted—for how long could this dream last?

Slicing the Sausage

Slicing the Sausage
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The man at the sausage stand just kept that slicing machine a-whirring.

Michele Fanciullo

Michele Fanciullo
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Michele Fanciullo, who works as a personal chef in Paris, prepared some wonderful pasta dishes. One of them was flavored with truffle.

Pouring Italian Wines

Pouring Italian Wines
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

On the lower level, where the wine stand was set up, Monique got a glass of Nebbiolo D’Alba red from the Piedmont region of Italy.

Stephane Durot Preparing to Spritz

Stephane Durot Preparing to Spritz
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Returning upstairs, we went to see some food demonstrations. Bartender Stephane Durot (of Franco-Italian origin) demonstrated how to make the Spritz Lambrusco, a drink that he invented one day when he ran out of prosecco. His clients appreciated it so much that it became known as the Spritz Stefi (Stefi is short for Stephane).

Olga Urbani Talks about Truffles

Olga Urbani Talks about Truffles
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Olga Urbani, fourth generation family member of Urbani Truffles, gave a presentation on truffles.

Rosanna Di Michele

Rosanna Di Michele
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Rosanna Di Michele of Cooking with Rosanna demonstrated how to make a pasta dish.

There were other specialists giving demonstrations, but we were not able to attend them all.

Stephane Durot poses with Nicoletta Bernazzani, the event coordinator Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Stephane Durot poses with Nicoletta Bernazzani, the event coordinator
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Thanks to all of the people who worked hard to produce the fabulous I Love Italian Food festival. And yes, I do love Italian food!

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How to Find a Party in Paris

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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Party People

Finding a party in Paris can be as easy as walking down the street. Take me, for example. Yesterday afternoon I was walking up boulevard Saint-Michel towards place Edmond-Rostand. All of a sudden I saw a huge cloud of thick white smoke rise up. A fire? I asked myself. An explosion? No! It was a party!

I rushed to place Edmond-Rostand and arrived just in time to see a caravan of vehicles emerging from rue Sufflot and turning left onto rue Gay-Lussac. Pressing forward through the crowd, I was able to make my way to the lead vehicle, which happened to be a beer truck…the most important element of a party! The truck emitted loud, pulse-pounding music while young men busied themselves serving draught beer to the crown. I got mine!

Surfing

Party for the Fun of It

Party for the Fun of It
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

This blowout was organized by the students of the Ecole Polytechnique to announce the annual Point Gamma extravaganza, “the biggest student event in France.” It was, in other words, a party to announce a party. What a great idea!

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Tasting Kassave au Chocolat at the Foire de Paris

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
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Preparing Kassave on a Giant Skillet

Preparing Kassave on a Giant Skillet
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

While at the Foire de Paris last week, I stopped by a stand operated by a company called Kassaverie Saveurs. It appeared that the cook there was preparing crêpes, that paper-thin pancake that the French are so good at making. It turned out, though, that she was making kassaves (also spelled cassave), a pancake made from manioc flour. Manioc is a starchy, tuberous root that has to be ground and then soaked before it can be eaten. The finished product is a flour that looks like grated coconut.

When I requested a chocolate-flavored kassave, the cook spread a heap of manioc flour on a large skillet and then added globs of chocolate to the heap. After a while, she covered the confection with another helping of flour and then flipped it like a pancake. When the pancake displayed a light-brown toasted color on both sides, it was done!

Kassave au Chocolat

A Slice of Kassave au Chocolat
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I took the kassave home, where I tasted it at room temperature, rather than warming it in the oven. Its texture was dry, grainy, spongy, and chewy, similar to the texture of day-old, whole-grain bread. The manioc flour tasted slightly sour, but otherwise did not have remarkable flavor. The part of the pancake that contained chocolate, though, tasted somewhat like a Hostess Sno Ball. My lasting impression of this confection was that eating it was similar to eating a chocolate sandwich that had been prepared with two slices of dry whole-grain bread.

A video (in French) on manioc production in Guadeloupe can be viewed here.

Kassaverie Saveurs is located in Guadeloupe.

Kassaverie Saveurs
3, Allée des Hibiscus
Cité des Sources
97130 Capesterre Belle Eau
France

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Tropical Stars Shine over Paris

Saturday, May 10th, 2014
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Collage of Caribbean Singers

Big-name singers from the Caribbean performed last night on an outdoor stage at the Foire de Paris.

VBJ Soul Men

VBJ Soul Men
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Of all of the performers that came on stage, only one group, the VBJ Soul Men, sang hits that Americans will easily recognize—they gave a powerful rendition of “I’m a Soul Man.” Their Web site (in French) can be found at the following link http://vigonbamyjay.fr

A good time was had by all!

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