Every summer on June 21st in every city in Europe (plus various others on almost every continent, including in the US in NYC, LA and of all places Carrboro, NC...right down the road from me) there is an evening of free music known as la fete de la musique... at least in France it is. I wrote my paper and did my 5 minute presentation for my French class in Angers on this very event so I have lots to tell.
It started in the early 80s in Paris as a way for people to enjoy music freely in any and all venues and by 1985 or 6 it became a certified event and began to spread to other cities and eventually, today, it is almost a worldwide event. Literally any type of music you can think of, any type of venue and all night long. There are organized concert venues from outdoor stages to art museums to restaurants and bars and then there is the occasional impromptu drum circle or man in a window playing a guitar. We saw it all. I did my research online for the paper and then I took my guitar and walked around Angers the whole night watching bands in play from the Place du Ralliement to the crowded rue St. Laud and up and down just about every other street outside of restaurants and bars. It was quite an experience. All free and loads and loads of people. It was just beautiful to see that many people enjoying that many kinds of music. And people would always stop and give each group a listen. For once it wasn't about the money but about the music. If you are ever in Paris on June 21st you must tell me about your experience. Here is a picture of me playing my guitar in la Place du Ralliement.
As it happens in other regions of France, neither in Angers does a rule exist on how many kisses on the cheeks people should exchange when they do the bise.
It can be two kisses or four, but not one or three. I've realized that people kiss mostly twice, especially when they greet people they often meet, but four kisses are not to be excluded. If you don't want to get wrong, wait and see.
July 14th is the French national day that commemorates the day of 1789 when the people took the Parisian prison of the Bastille and set the few prisoners free. That act marked the begin of the end of the ancien régime.
The national day is remembered every year with great celebrations and, when I was in Angers, I could see a firework performance called Patchwork européen. The fires were accompanied with music and colours referring to the different European countries. A very suggestive spectacle.