La Guinguette: Or “Here! Hold My Goat!”

September 10, 2009

It has been brought to my attention that I do not talk about going out enough. Donc, I will try to remedy that with this post. However, this is going to be less than thrilling because the extent of my going out in Tours has been limited to one place. Though fortunately, last night’s outing at the Guinguette was extraordinary-in a way that can only happen in France!

I have described the Guinguette before, but I will do so again so that you can get a sense of the ambiance. La Guinguette is a bar on the bord de la Loire, which is only open for the summer. It consists of a bar, similar to a tiki hut, and a deck, with lots of tiny wooden folding tables and chairs, some picnic tables, and a few swinging chairs suspended from one of the two huge weeping willows. There are Christmas lights and lanterns everywhere, and there is a small stage at one end. It is lovely!

(Looking up at one of the willows)

I forgot to mention another very important detail about the Guinguette. Nobody cares if you bring your own wine! Our M.O is to buy wine elsewhere and bring it with us, because it is about a third of the cost, but we purchase a glass of wine each from the Guinguette’s  bar so we have a glass for the night and they profit at least a little from us sitting there for hours.

Last night was our second-to-last night, so there were quite a few of us sitting on the deck, talking to locals, and also sitting on the actual boardwalk next to the river. I was on the deck chatting with friends and enjoying the live gypsy-style violin music when I noticed two people who were dressed and behaving in a very strange way. They were wearing large hooded red cloaks and renaissance style clothing, all in red. There appeared to be one man and one woman, but I could only tell from their dress, since each was also wearing a bright red theatrical full face mask! They weren’t talking, not even to each other, and they were merely walking quietly throughout the crowd.

This went on for several minutes before I found someone to enlighten me. Biki came over to chat and told me that according to her host parents, the mysterious people would take your arm and lead you into a room where they would whisper dirty poetry to you in the dark. She thought it might be some kind of theater exercise!  This immediately caused all of us to avoid eye-contact with the cloaked couple, but we noticed that they really were walking up to tables, and that people would willingly get up and calmly follow them to the backstage room! Only in France…

However, that was not the only entertainment for the evening.  A large group of SBC students were fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of a very cute goat and her very drunk owner! Apparently he and his goat are somewhat infamous. He eagerly suggested pictures with the goat, and sometimes he would just let her go, and she would wander away and start eating the potted shrubbery on the deck.  Nobody really seemed to mind.

His plan to have her be lead by the man in the box didn’t go over so well though. The young man who was shuffling around and into people underneath a large cardboard box on the deck, was less than enthused when the drunk goat owner tried to stick the end of the leash through a hole in the box-the shirtless box boy merely stood up, removed the box, and walked away without saying a thing.  No, I haven’t figured out why exactly there was somebody inside of a cardboard box yet. I’ll let you know if I do though.

I really love France. And the apparent constant desperate desire of many French people to be terribly interesting and mysterious and strange. And I also love the willingness with which the rest of the population just goes along with it!

Oh, a final and important interjection: I know where I’m living in Paris!!! I will be in the 6th Arrondisement, on the Boulevard du Montparnasse. This means that I am on the Left Bank, close to central Paris, and (from what I understand) close to my classes as well! J’ai eu de la chance! Oh, and next time I update I’ll probably be there!!!  A bientot!

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One Response to “La Guinguette: Or “Here! Hold My Goat!””

  1. mom said

    Now I know why Henri takes his shirt off at our dinner parties…..he is just being French!

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