Monday, March 9, 2015

Mardi Gras

A couple years ago when Jude and I visited the Edgar Quinet art marche (every Sunday, rain or shine or snow or sleet or hail hail the gang's all here) we met a very nice man by the name of Basil Pashkof.  We were talking with a friend of his, a very kind lady who makes wonderful hats, when she turned and said we needed to be introduced to someone important.

Carnaval de Paris ~ 2015
 Our Man Basil leading the defile.

Basil is a kind, soft spoken man.  But it was clear he was passionate about one thing; making sure Paris shed some of it's conservativeness and could kick up it's heels.  To this end, Basil organizes not one but two defile here in the city.  They are the Mardi Gras and the Festival of Woman parades.

I didn't a first realize what a mountainous task this had been.  After reading one of Basil's long missives on the topic, I came to learn the "authorities" in this city don't seem to take to citizen marches very kindly.  Marches by the government (ie: le 14 juilliet)?  Fine.  Marches by the trade-unions (ie: the kind that bottle up the entire circle around la Bastille)?  Great!  Bring it on!  But happy citizens wanting to take over the streets for a little parade of their own?  Good luck trying to get a permit.

After years of working on city hall to take him seriously Basil met a man "on the inside" who offered to blend his Gras de Beouf with Basil's Mardi Gras parade.  The two men made for a strong duo and the rest, as they say, is history.

Carnaval de Paris ~ 2015
 Bolivians showing the Parisians how to Party!

I've missed the first two years defiles, so I was happy to be able to attend this year's event.

There is a strong presence of groups from Bolivia and Brazil.  Great music abounded.  Sturdy French men dressed as Knights Templar (or was that Knight Hospitalier?) stood guard around those who rode in automobiles.

This Sunday will be le 7ème Carnaval des Femmes, Fête des Reines des Blanchisseuses de la Mi-Carême!  

The City of Light isn't as conservative I was once believed after all.  Thank you, Basil.

[Photos album from Mardi Gras]

Carnaval de Paris ~ 2015
Hah!  Paris has it's very own Cruise Knight!  Who would've guessed?

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