Bastille In Paris

Bastille Day is the name given to the French National Day, celebrated on the 14th July each year. I had my friend Emily over from London so this weekend was my busiest yet. On Friday night we went to a club called Duplex on the Champs Elysées, which I had been informed was going to be a classy night out (although there was free entry for women, the entry for men was upwards of €26!) but the fact that it was an Ibiza themed night meant it was slightly trashy, however I did come home with a hawaiian lei so it wasn't all bad.


Fete Nationale Fireworks
The Bastille Day celebrations started on Saturday, where I managed to get free tickets to the Longchamp Garden Party/Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, which was an afternoon of being posh at the horse racing! I had such a great time, especially considering that the finish line was directly in front of us, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.


One of the winning horses, with the Eiffel Tower on the skyline
Waiting on the races to start with Emily, Fayida and Lucy
We then left the Longchamp racecourse to go to one of the Bals des Pompiers with our friend Hellen. Potentially one of the most random but best nights of my life, the Bal de Pompiers is a night where the local firemen open their doors and allow their neighbourhood to come in and have a night of live music, meet them and fundraise. The queue was insane to get in, it went right down the road, took about an hour, but we persisted and I'm glad we did, I had such a great time, the firemen were lovely and so were the people that turned out to the event ;)

One of the bars, staffed by firemen

Despite getting in at 4am and only having 3 hours sleep, Lucy, Emily and I headed down to the Bastille Day parade on the Sunday, where we couldn't actually see much so instead headed towards the bridges of the Seine to watch the flyover. 



Watching the flyover by my favourite bridge, Pont Alexandre III


We then gave up, headed home and slept for what felt like a hundred years, before going to see the fireworks by the Eiffel Tower on the Champ de Mars. We originally sat about 100 foot away from the tower, at about 9pm, where we watched an orchestra play a lot of classical music, which was really lovely, and gave us plenty of opportunities to take as many photos of the Eiffel Tower as possible.



The fireworks started a little after 11pm, but we didn't get a very good view of them as we were so close, so we walked backwards and got the most amazing view ever. The theme of the fireworks was Liberté, égalité, fraternité, French for "Liberty, equality, fraternity", the national motto of France. The fireworks show was so moving I almost felt French!

Here is a video montage of the fireworks that I took, they were just beautiful and so impressive and the video is naff in comparison!



Getting home was a bit of a stress, we walked to Bir Hakeim station along with the rest of the world, but the Gendamerie (military police force) who I have a bit of a soft spot for made sure getting in to the station and onto the trains went as smoothly as possible.


Of course I couldn't write a post about Bastille Day without mentioning Bastille! We were lucky enough to go to a free outdoor concert last Wednesday where they were playing, it was a truly surreal evening but I had such a great time, even if all the French people disappeared when they came on as nobody seems to know them over here.



Another crazy week in Paris!

A tout à l'heure,

Sophie

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