By Yoann Vallier
Of the railway signsposters, a more “vintage” decor and… a unique atmosphere that grabs you as soon as you walk through the door: the Head of the Trainsthe last café in the village of Tousson (Seine et Marne), is one of those timeless places that leave no one indifferent.
It must be said that the site has quite a past: for 40 years, the associative bar has hosted concerts in its small room, next to an old-fashioned cinema and its bar. The master of the place, Pierrot Beltante is a star, even if he flees the spotlight and prefers to highlight his volunteers. “I created the concept 40 years ago, when we hosted our first concert, he tells us. My grandparents owned this house and I had the idea of making it an alternative place, both cultural and social”.
There is no recipe
La Tête des Trains is an institution. For its concerts of course, with its musicians who every Saturday come to bring life and provide entertainment in this quiet village in the south of Seine-et-Marnais: “It’s not a musical bar. I want to welcome the musicians properly, that people really listen to them”, insists Pierrot.
Essentially a jazzy repertoire, even if the program has some surprises in store, sometimes with large groups who crowd on the small stage, and discover the proximity with the spectators: “There is no recipe, it’s a feeling that is done with the public.
But if the concerts are the most visible and well-known part of the house, Pierrot insists on everything else: “we develop activities to create social ties between people”. Writing workshops, yoga, sewing, the Wednesday film club which has its fans, and even conferences: “We are a space for social life, which allows us to tackle themes that meet the needs of the inhabitants.
Thus, the association will work with the CAF to work even more on the social side of what Pierrot readily describes as “a bizarre, offbeat and unconventional café. There is an ‘anar’ side to the way the place works”.
A unique place, certainly, which lives well, even if Pierrot is always looking for new resources to help him to animate it: “I am looking for volunteers to do the sound system and welcome the public. I know that the public has aged along with the place”. This is the challenge for Pierrot and his cheerful team: to continue to preserve the soul of the place and attract a new audience. 40 years later, this funny boat is determined never to lower the curtain.
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Tousson: The “bizarre and quirky” café-music that has been creating social ties for 40 years
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