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October 31, 2010

More From rue Mouffetard

by soundlandscapes

I spend a lot of time walking the streets of Paris hunting for interesting sounds to record. Sometimes I walk in vain – interesting sounds can be an elusive commodity. More often than not finding good sounds to record is a matter of luck rather than expertise – it’s about being in the right place at the right time.

My sound hunting wanderings take me all over the city of Paris but there are some streets that I return to again and again, partly because of their history, partly because of their character but mostly because of their atmosphere – rue de la Huchette, rue St Jaques, rue de Lappe and the street I went to yesterday, rue Mouffetard, about which Balzac said, “No neighbourhood of Paris is more horrible and more unknown”.

The street market at the bottom of rue Mouffetard

It is true that in Balzac’s day rue Mouffetard had, to put it kindly, a reputation! But it’s reputation today is quite different. It is now a lively, bustling street full of history, character and atmosphere and it just keeps drawing me back time and again.

Sitting in the bistro Le Mouffetard last Saturday afternoon with a glass of Leffe and a copy of Le Monde, I was half  watching the world go by and half reading the news of terror plots from cargo aircraft, when a sound drifted in through an open window.

A three man jazz ensemble had installed themselves across the street and they were just beginning their afternoon’s work. I went to investigate.

Rue Mouffetard never fails to provide something interesting for this chasseur de son to record. This was one of those elusive moments that comes from being in the right place at the right time.

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