Les Francofolies

Sunday June 18–Montreal

We have the day off, and fully intend to take advantage of an opportunity to do Francophone record shopping. But first Andrew makes us breakfast, as if having three virtual strangers and all their gear strewn about was an insufficient act of generosity. We hit three stores and find a jackpot. Tons of record singles—France Gall, Francoise Hardy, and Jacques Dutronc, and a Harmonium (70s Quebecois prog rock) album with a trippy butterfly drawing on the jacket. At Primitive, we meet Marie who informs us that the Michel Polnareff album Nick has in his hands is a huge steal. She gave it up from her own collection just this morning because she felt she “didn’t deserve it”. She is happy it will be traveling all the way to Portland, and recommends the store across the street, called Francophonies. As we leave she says, “Don’t be scared of the Celine Dion.” That was an understatement, as the store is an unofficial Celine Dion Museum, with about ten glass cases full of Celine paraphernalia, including her first albums, her perfumes, a complete discography, around 100 photos, and menus from her Montreal diner, called “Nickels”. I hope she knows about this place and visits regularly, as this man clearly wins the #1 fan award. More scores abound here, including a sweet Dutronc single, on which he looks like a Vegas Magician in his tux and mustache.

We get smoothies. They hit the spot, although our bodies might be confused by the introduction of fruit and vitamins. The boys note that the girls here are gorgeous, including the woman who made the smoothies.

A small crowd has gathered around Café Barouf to watch the France/Korea game from the street. We stand with them for a while but leave before Korea scores, thankfully.

The Fringe Festival is going on, and somehow this translates into a ten block long sidewalk sale, punctuated by drink tents. The main goods for sale appear to be socks, mangoes on a stick, and women’s sunglasses. Brazil has won in soccer, so people in green and yellow are having parades, impromptu dance parties, honking, screaming, all day long.

Claire, Andrew’s partner, makes butter chicken for dinner and rhubarb pie. We’ve won the kindness lottery.

I wonder how one orchestrates a move to Montreal from, say, Portland. . .

3 Responses to “Les Francofolies”

  1. Ellen says:

    We need to have a record listening party when you guys get back. I should’ve sent you with my Francophonies frequent buyer card. Celine’s #1 Fan insisted I take it, despite my obvious American accent, which I thought was nice of him. I keep it in my wallet just in case I happen to end up in Montreal one afternoon. Dans mes rêves…

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