It was on top of my ‘to-go-list’ this year and I made it! The 14th of July in Paris. In French also known as Quatorze Juillet and in English known as Bastille Day. I got one word for this experience, AMAZING. The Parisians certainly know how to organize a national holiday. Let me tell you about my experiences of Quatorze Juillet.
First, Paris kicked the day off with a military procession on the Champs Élysées. The military and all police forces were present. President Hollande placed a wreath at the Arc de Triomphe and then he drove towards to Place the la Concorde. Then we had to wait for a long time and just when I almost lost my patience, the magic happens! Here I was waiting for… the French Air force!! Nine fighter jets flew above the Champs Élysées with the colors of the French flag (see picture). After that many other aircraft’s and helicopters followed. There also was a privet jet, I wonder who was inside?
Then all police forces went their own direction. We were lucky and saw an impressive helicopter demonstration near the Air France building. There were fun activities everywhere. During this holiday, many local stores were open, it wasn’t a problem to score something to eat.
At night there was a concert with many famous French names. I remember that I was in my hotel room for a while and watched the French news. I saw some live TV about the Eiffel Tower and some information about the upcoming firework. It was a funny thought that I was not so far away from that tower. I was ready for some firework!
The firework was truly amazing, they did a really good job. The only dark side for me, were all those people! The reason they all came to see this firework is because, the Parisians don’t have any firework during New Year’s Eve. So, everyone is there at the 14th of July. It became too overcrowded and for a good spot at Trocadero, you had to stand there before dark. Firework at Trocadero won’t be a problem if you tolerate big crowds, don’t mind a bit of eye poking and love to get squished like a banana in a smoothie! Normally, I try to avoid big crowds and hide myself somewhere quiet. But this time, I just had to be there. And believe me, it was worth it!
Last thing: I just wan’t to give you the advice of leaving the firework a bit earlier. This because all metro-stations that are near by, are closed. The nearest metro-station is the one at the Champs Élysées. So, if you want to avoid all those people in your metro, make sure you leave a bit earlier. That’s the only way to increase your chances for a relaxed ride back to your hotel. That or rent a bike!