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August 12, 2011


Rue Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle

by soundlandscapes

I CAME UPON IT by chance.  I was strolling along one of Baron Haussmann’s creations, the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle – one of his Grands Boulevards.  I stopped to admire the wonderful art deco Rex cinema – worthy of a complete essay to itself.

I walked a little further on and my eye caught some stone steps, the kind of steps that you just know you have to explore.  I climbed the steps and discovered that I was in the Rue Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, named after the Eglise Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, which sits on the left, half way up the street.

Before reaching the church, the garden behind this metal fence caught my attention.  From deep within I could hear birdsong.  I sat on the wall to the right of the gate, listened and began to record.

Sounds in the Rue Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle:

What I heard was the birdsong behind me competing with the sounds of exuberant children and both competing with the ebb and flow of the traffic as the traffic lights turned from green to red and then back again in the Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle.  With the traffic lights at red and the traffic stopped I could hear pigeons cooing on the street in front of me and then, as the lights turned to green, the flapping of their wings as they flew off searching for a traffic and probably a children free zone. I doubt that they found either.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 15 2011

    What a nice moment to chance upon. I wonder, once you’ve taken your recording do you pause a moment longer to enjoy it for yourself? I’m increasingly guilty of listening to the world in anticipation of what’s good for the recorder, rather than for the simple pleasure that a sound can provide in its living context.

    • Aug 15 2011

      Thanks Jay, you make a good point. I think I’ve got to the point where ‘sound hunting’ and listening for pleasure have become pretty much the same thing. I always hear things before I see them, that’s become a way of life. My style is to use the minimum of equipment so I create my ‘sound map’, get myself in the right place, turn the recorder on and enjoy the sounds around me. It seems to work … most of the time!


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