La Fete Nationale–A Magnificent Day in Paris
Bonjour mes amis,
It goes by many names: La Fete Nationale; Bastille Day; Quatorze Juliet (14 July). Whatever you call it, the experience is “formidable” as the French would say.
The stage was set by the weather (gorgeous and not too hot). Jim Bilbro braved an early morning and went to stand on the Champs since he had never witnessed the Bastille Day parade in person. We shared some tips, but still he was frustrated at not being able to stand at the front of the queue despite being there around 7:30! Peggy, Bernie and I chose to go to the bridge right across from l’Hotel de Ville which makes a perfect viewing stand for all the fly-by’s. It is also the only bridge with benches. We arrived just before 10am and got a perfect seat. It was us and a few Buddhist monks.
The opening statement of the parade is the impressive fly-by with streamers of the French flag-bleu, blanc, rouge (blue, white and red). This always brings tears to my eyes. There were three little children right behind us who would shout “Vive la France” each time an airplane flew over us. Really neat.
After we viewed all of the French aircraft overhead, we went back to our neighborhood to our favorite and frequent little cafe, Le Bouquet St. Paul to watch some of the parade as it broke up. St. Antoine is one of the arteries used to disperse the various parade vehicles.
Jim joined us for an early lunch eventually. Also all of our rue St. Paul neighbors were out and about so we had a little reunion! Just wonderful to see everyone. Chantalle whose apartment is on the same floor as our apartment had lunch with us. We miss our regular spot very much but given my knee, we made the right decision for this year to have an elevator at the current apartment.
We left for our cruise around 6:30, and it was from start to finish, just great fun. Throngs of people are bustling around on this particular night as the fireworks from the Eiffel Tower are a big deal. Our meal was surprisingly delicious and very interesting with a few truffles even gracing our entre and main course. Here’s the wonderful dessert from Lenotre, one of the famous Parisian bakeries.
Because it was such a lovely evening, Bernie and Peggy each got some beautiful before-fireworks photos. Bernie got a beauty of Notre Dame and also of our apartment building as we were floating by. I’m sure Peggy will post some of hers on Facebook.
Now to the fireworks extravaganza. I had probably 300 photos to go through to try to select the best of the best. Shooting fireworks is NOT an easy skill. Half of these are Bernie’s and half Peggy’s. We hope you enjoy them! We were not at an outside table next to the viewing windows so somewhat of a challenge for them. Jim’s video which is posted on Facebook is probably the best representation of our experience. Kudos to him for posting it last night at 2am!
Our journey home was typical of the madhouse of humanity, security, drunkenness, food trucks and lots of litter, but we made it safe and sound back to the apartment about 1am. What a day and what a memory. Now back to normal as I’m changing the bed and washing sheets this morning!
Have a great day,
Linda, Bernie, Jim & Peggy
July 15, 2015 @ 11:10 am
What a day! Experiencing a national holiday with all the festivities; a river cruise; a delightful meal or two; and sharing it all with friends sounds like a magical day. Your photos almost make us feel that we are there.
July 15, 2015 @ 11:21 am
Thanks, Cindi. It was truly an oh-la-la day!
July 15, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
Looked like a picture perfect day! No parade for me either. I’d been right there with you on the bridge! Thanks for sharing all the pics.
July 15, 2015 @ 12:50 pm
Yes, the parade is definitely something to do in person one time, and then the bridge is a great alternative that not many tourists know about!
July 15, 2015 @ 2:41 pm
I’m not sure, today, which I like best…your writing or the great pictures! And, I love the excitement of a crowd which you really weren’t in but could enjoy as you watched the break up of the parade. And, isn’t it fun to be showing all this to friends who aren’t strangers to Paris? Bbc
July 15, 2015 @ 3:44 pm
Maybe we can share this with you all one of these days!
July 15, 2015 @ 3:33 pm
What a great post Linda! You captured the best of the day and evening. It was long and exhausting, but every minute was packed full of excitement. We’ve also been in recovery mode today.
July 15, 2015 @ 3:43 pm
Thanks, Peggy. Our connection was so slow this morning, it took forever to do all the pics but I was pleased when done!
July 15, 2015 @ 4:55 pm
The pictures are so wonderful, I felt as if I were ringside – including the drunks and the security! And I am savoring all the beautiful food in my mind. The entire celebration was captured to perfection by all of you. Thanks for sharing.
July 15, 2015 @ 5:28 pm
Layne, thanks for your kind feedback. Glad that you enjoyed.
July 15, 2015 @ 6:15 pm
The firework pictures are stunning! I can only imagine the thrill of seeing them in real time.
July 15, 2015 @ 6:19 pm
Yes, Jemelee, it was quite an experience. I forgot to mention in the blog that the fireworks display lasted a full 40 minutes!
July 15, 2015 @ 6:57 pm
Nice shooting! Fireworks are a real challenge for me. You did well. I love the light on Notre Dame.
July 15, 2015 @ 8:55 pm
I will definitely share your compliment with Bernie!