Parisians Celebrate Revival Of Guinguettes Traditional French restaurants, where people would come to dance and enjoy lunch along the banks of the Marne River -- are back in fashion. Gomgiettes were first made famous by the Impressionists, most notably by Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party."
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Parisians Celebrate Revival Of Guinguettes

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Parisians Celebrate Revival Of Guinguettes

Parisians Celebrate Revival Of Guinguettes

Parisians Celebrate Revival Of Guinguettes

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Traditional French restaurants, where people would come to dance and enjoy lunch along the banks of the Marne River — are back in fashion. Gomgiettes were first made famous by the Impressionists, most notably by Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party."

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Let's go, now, to a sun-dappled river bank outside Paris to dance the day away. It's a centuries old pastime that lives on in restaurants known as guinguettes. These dancing establishments had their heyday in the early 20th century when Impressionist painters caught them on canvas. And here's Eleanor Beardsley offering a taste of that world today.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: An organ grinder warms up the crowd with some old French classics. Octave and Edna Blanchard are regulars at Chez Gegene.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC AND SINGING IN FRENCH LANGUAGE)

OCTAVE BLANCHARD: (Through translator) We love the guinguette tradition and we come often. We dance everything. The waltz, the tango, the passa doble, the Charleston.

EDNA BLANCHARD: (Through translator) And we met at a guingette, in 1970.

BLANCHARD: (Through translator) Yes, that was 40 years ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BEARDSLEY: Parisians donned their Sunday best and headed for a day of boating and dancing along the river. The new fashion caught the attention of the Impressionist painters. Pierre Auguste Renoir captured the carefree revelry of an afternoon at a guinguette in his "Luncheon of the Boating Party." Michel Devoucou plays the accordion in the band.

MICHEL DEVOUCOU: (Through translator) If people came back from that time they wouldn't be lost at all. They'd feel right at home. All the songs we play existed 70, 80 - even a hundred years ago. The difference is is that people drank a lot more back then because they didn't have to drive. The horse knew the way home.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BEARDSLEY: While the crowd today is mostly seniors, 26-year-old Nicolas Ferrer is one of a growing number of young people now going out to guinguettes.

NICHOLAS FERRER: Unidentified Man: (Singing in French language)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BEARDSLEY: Unidentified Man: (Singing in foreign language)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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