A Parade in Belleville

As I sat at my desk studiously working on homework this afternoon, the sunlight came through my window and warmed my back, enticing me to give up my efforts and go for a walk.  I decided to go to Belleville–a largely multi-ethnic neighborhood in the 11th and 20th arrondissements of Paris where one of the city’s Chinatowns is located–to look at some of the cool street art in that area.

IMG_5387There’s an entire street in Belleville dedicated to street art. I caught someone in the act of a new creation.

The street art did not disappoint, but while I was walking along Boulevard de Belleville, I noticed a large amount of children dressed up and people selling balloons and candy. Thinking at first that it might just be a Sunday family activity, I then stumbled upon various drumming groups with large crowds gathered to watch.

IMG_5384This awesome group of lady drummers had some cool choreography.

IMG_5386People selling candy and balloons lined the sidewalks.

After my initial thoughts of “Is this a protest?” and “Why is that one group dressed in what looks like pink KKK costumes?” I decided to stay and watch awhile. Soon enough, the police had quartered off the streets and all of the drum groups had gotten in a huge line and I realized I was witnessing a parade.

IMG_5399Everyone was dressed up–even bystanders came with costumes.

One of the best parts about living in a foreign country is when you have no idea what’s going on so you just sit back and casually pretend that you are there on purpose. It took me a while before I remembered that Mardi Gras is this Tuesday, so the parade was obviously a Pre Mardi Gras celebration. The drums were so loud that it seemed like the whole street was shaking, and little girls in fairy costumes threw so much glitter that I think I inhaled some of it by accident.

IMG_5402Funny garb and giant paper maché puppets.

Spontaneity does not come easily for me, but when I find that I am “living in the moment” (cliché, I know) I grasp on tight to the seconds so that I will remember them forever. The parade this afternoon made my life ten times more exciting, and I walked back home with a smile on my face, glad that I had decided to take a homework break and enjoy the sunshine.


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