Soundscapes: Les Guinguettes

Les Guingettes

Les guinguettes – traditional Sunday afternoon dances held along the riverbanks outside Paris – are still swinging, despite the withering August heat this year. I can’t dance to save my life, but Perrine and I were nonetheless curious when we saw an advertisement for a floating dance floor that has slowly been making its way down the Canal de l’Ourcq.


Navigating the sway of the boat in step with the beat proved to be particularly, well, tricky, but those who knew their box step from their cha-cha-cha had no problems spinning gracefully away. But even if you can’t dance, watching the spectacle of Parisians waltzing to old-time accordion music is a great way to while away a Sunday afternoon.

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Where:  Les bals barges have been moving steadily closer to Paris with each week, and will arrive at parc de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement on August 23.

When:  3:30-7:30, Aug 23 & Aug 30

How Much: Free! Ferries run along the canal de l’Ourcq and out into the suburbs for €1.

Music courtesy of the fantastic group, Le Balluche de la Saugrenue.