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Paris summer festival offers culture for all ... for free

By Rosslyn Hyams

Still a busy cosmopolitan city, Paris winds down in the summer. But in July the annual performing arts festival, Paris l'été, occupies some of the spaces vacated by schoolchildren and holidaymaking Parisians in public buildings and outdoors, including one of the municipal swimming pools.

As if France's winning the football World Cup wasn't exciting enough, Paris was gearing up for the opening events in the Paris summer festival on the very day President Emmanuel Macron celebrated the victory with the national team at the Elysée palace.

Now the festival is up and running, jumping and even moving very slowly (in Johann Guillerm's Transhumant for example).

Indoor and outdoor cultural events, peforming arts and installations or "happenings" are organised by the city in 28 different venues in and around the capital until 4 August.

Cue for international cooperation, fraternity and bridgebuilding. As well as showcasing French talent, some shows are from Belgium, Burkina Faso and Japan.

On Wednesday night a special, free entry, Paris-Lisboa concert was held in the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) featuring music talent from France and Portugal.

As a symbol of the 20-year-old Friendship Pact between Paris and Lisbon, the festival invited Sara Tavares, Hoshi, Capicua, Paris Combo and the Portuguese-Mozambican star of Fado, Mariza.

High culture or pop music, the festival aims to first and foremost entertain but if it adds a little food for thought, that's more than a coincidence.

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