Travel

Afropunk, The World Cup, Vibes: A weekend in Paris

I’ve always been adamant that I was never going back to Paris, since my last visit in 2016. I’ve visited so many times and just felt no need to ever return.

I felt that I’d seen the sights, took one too many photos outside the Eiffel Tour, my feet know too well the steps to get to Sacre Coeur and snails tasted kind of O.K.

This all changed when I saw this year’s Afropunk line up, and saw D’Angelo’s name on the bill.

Let’s do this!

Booked my festival ticket, my Eurostar ticket and was ready to sort out some form of accommodation.

Then the Twitter feeds came in.

D’Angelo cancelled.

Upset, was not even the word. I was so in love with the Brown Sugar album, this is who I psyched myself up for.

Any who, he bad been replaced my Maxwell. Wizkid was replaced by Mr Eazi.

I rocked up in Paris on the Saturday morning. I ended up getting a standard premier ticket which cost me £160. Very pricey! But as it was my birthday recently, I got a hook up from Los padres. This helped a lot!

Standard premier has more leg room and you get a little breakfast too.

On arrival, I checked into my Air BnB in the La Villette area, before meeting up with a friend. I headed to Porte de Clinangcourt on the metro which is quite cheap at €1.90 each single journey.

was surprised at the vintage garments and all the beautiful and colourful African attire which they had on sale. I’d never been here before on all my Parisian visits.

After, we headed to Baisson de la Vilette and had a little picnic after buying a few things in a local supermarket. All part of being a budget traveller!

Grab a deck chair while you can!

There is even a cute mini Eiffel Tour. It’s a really nice place to spend the day. It’s also known as Paris sur is place or Paris on the beach.

After our lovely day out, we headed to Afro Punk in the same area.

I encountered some beautiful artwork too. This area is not to be missed it you’re an art aficionado.

When you encounter artwork that looks like you!

I walked over to the Big Hall in la Villette. I hadn’t ever come across this side of Paris. Parc de la Villette is one of the biggest parks in Paris, which even features a few bars and clubs.

At Afro Punk, as you enter there are many stalls, selling different AfroCentric products.

Some people just taking it easy on the grass

Rep your country or even Wakanda!

The Saturday acts for Afropunk included Mr Eazi, Sza and Goldlink was another cancellation. We were told the day before, not impressed!

All the stalls were outside, but the concerts all took place inside the Grand Hall which was disappointing as it was so hot and stuffy. Outside would have been perfect.

Mr Eazi had a great selection of songs, but during his performance, I did find that he was relying heavily on his backing track.

Nneka on the other hand, absolutely had the crowd going! Even if you’ve never heard of her or are not a fan. There was no denying that she really showed up in her performance. I am more familiar with her old songs from 2008/2009 than I am with the recent ones.

Sza was raw! Real talent, a lot of profanity which is not my thing to be honest. But, I know everyone seems to love her and I could absolutely see why! She looked flawless.

My girls and I popped by for the after party at a place called Trabando which is also in the park, just a two minute walk from the concert.

I’d been up so early from that morning. I flaked by 1.30 am and pretty much wanted to enjoy the next day too!

On Sunday, I was more looking forward to the World Cup. Afropunk said they’d be showing the match. However, it was going to be shown inside. I’m not about that life!it’s a sunny day mate, I wanna be outside!

So I spotted some French people carrying the flag and asked where they were watching the game.

I left the group I was with and decided to head over to find the spot they had mentioned. I couldn’t find it!

I did however come across a group of people who had some screens out in a shaded part of the park. They were sat around ready for kick off. I just decided to take a seat and join in. I was the only woman there at that moment, who had come as a spectator. Any other woman I saw there was selling or serving food.

I sent a text to my friends who were at the venue and they decided to join.

I bagged myself some fried fish and rice and peas from a Guadeloupan lady.

The vibe was awesome and when it was half time, the locals were also playing music. To be honest, it felt like Wakanda! Yes…Wakanda.

It didn’t stop there. Around the corner we heard some drumming and music, which sounded similiar to AfroCuban music. I believe that band were from the French Antilles.

e headed over to the venue to catch the rest of Afropunk. I was quite sad to leave this little spot, and part of me wished that Afropunk had this authenticity.

Damian Marley killed it and it really struck me that his performance was probably the biggest highlight. His stage presence, clarity of his words when he was performing, high energy was everything.

His son even did a cameo at the end to top the show, which was the cutest.

He did a full medley of some of his father’s songs, including Exodus and War. He really showed his diverse talent as a performer, but I would have preferred to have heard more of his material from Distant Relatives album. Anyone who had heard that album, knows exactly what I am talking about.

Without a doubt, he was one of the best performances that weekend. True Jamaican vibes. We know how to make a good time out of nothing!

Maxwell was the headliner for the evening .

I didn’t have much expectation of Maxwell, but all I can say was WOW!

I was still fixated on D’Angelo. But Maxwell was on point! When he performed ‘This Woman’s Work’. There was no difference between the record and his live performance. He hit the notes perfectly.

I managed to get really near the front. He really engaged with his audience too. Top performance!

Afropunk: In the words of Stromae. You’ve been formidable!

Being in France at the time of the World Cup. Amazing timing!

It would have been nice to see some more of Bastille Day, but what I’ve learnt from travelling is; you can’t do everything.

The French celebrations were crazy! Allez les Bleus!

I loved seeing the diversity of people in Paris, which reminds me of London. But with the World Cup and Bastille Day in the same weekend, the ambience was second to none!

I’ve officially seen a new side to Paris and have kind of change my mind about it! I think I like it!

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