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March 1, 2011

Street Music in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine

by soundlandscapes

WALKING ALONG THE RUE du Faubourg Saint-Antoine from Bastille towards L’hôpital Saint-Antoine, past the clutch of wonderful half-hidden passageways, it’s easy to slip back in time.  Since the 13th century the Faubourg Saint-Antoine has been full of artisans plying their trade. An exemption from guild membership and the associated fees and taxes attracted carpenters, cabinetmakers, blacksmiths, ironworkers and a variety of other craftsmen to the area. Even today, if it’s furniture you want, the Faubourg Saint-Antoine is the place to be.

On a Saturday in late February I found other artisans also plying their trade.  On the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, just beyond the Square Trousseau, I came upon these street musicians thoroughly enjoying themselves.

As someone who is in love with sound, I couldn’t help imagining the cacophony of the 13th century carpenters, cabinetmakers, blacksmiths and ironworkers nearby.

The sounds of the 13th century remain firmly fixed in my imagination but I can share the sound of today’s artisans with you just as they shared them with me … but I can’t help wondering what our 13th century friends would make of it.


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