Every Sunday, come rain or come shine, in the Square Médard on the rue Mouffetard Christian Bassoul and his merry band of musicians, singers and dancers entertain themselves and others in a style reminiscent of a bygone era. Song sheets with the words to many of the traditional French songs for the set list are distributed to anyone and everyone within earshot and all are encouraged to join in the fun. This particular “petit bal musette” has been performing since 1975 meaning that it’s celebrating its 40th anniversary this year a clear indication of just how popular it is in this little corner of Paris off the beaten tourist path. In fact, on the day our photo group visited we were jostling for space with a film crew from France 5, a TV station that was making a documentary of Christian et al in honour of this achievement.
There is a core group of performers who, apparently, are always on hand regardless of the weather. Christian is their leader and he is a charismatic, lady-loving, accordion playing entertainer (who also happens to speak perfect English). He welcomed our group with open arms and encouraged our photos. Our goal? – to try and capture the energy, the history and the simple joie de vivre of the event.
Personally, I plan to spend a few more Sundays on the rue Mouffetard. Not only is the mood set by le petit bal infectious and fun, the location is wonderful with cafés surrounding the square offering good eats and comfortable places to sit. Shooting le petit bal also gives me an excellent opportunity to practice using different techniques to capture movement and mood in a welcoming setting (often hard to find these days). The following gallery includes some of my favourite photos from our day. You’ll notice that I was quite focused on movement and feet, both of which I found fascinating. I hope you enjoy them – how about letting me know which one(s) are your favourite?
If you want to learn more about le petit bal musette, or check out some of their music, click on this link: Petit Bal Musette website