Again, I am a horrible blogger because I don’t update! So, this past weekend was Bastille Day! I have never been to one in Paris before, and it was quite the experience. It seems that there are activities going on all week. Monday I went to Canal Saint Martin for a pick-nick; the weather has just been so lovely lately. I love Canal Saint Martin as there is always something interesting to look at there. Plus, I love being on the water, and there are plenty of adorable places to eat and drink along the canal. One can even order pizza and have it delivered to your spot on the water. How cute is that? I will do a more in depth post later, but today is about Bastille Day!
I have noticed that people do not say happy Bastille day! It always seems to be Happy 14th or Happy Holidays (in French, of course). I guess that makes sense as this day was not really an independence day. So, the arrondisement at Republique set up concerts every night of the week leading up to the weekend. Thursday a friend texted me to meet her and some other people so I scurried on over. I did not know any of the bands, but they were pretty good and quite modern French bands. The girls I went with told me they were becoming more and more famous, so I will leave it at that.
This picture is along the Seine for a coffee expo.
Saturday, the 13th, there is a big party at every fire house called the Bal de Pommiers. In short, it is like a giant frat party with French people. I asked several fireman the purpose of the party, but none really knew the point. They told me it was just “for make party! to drink!” It must have been some kind of tradition bringing the town together, but whatever. I went to one in the 15th at Grenelle. It was not one of the biggest ones as those can take hours to enter due to really long lines. However, we got right in and “offered” a donation at the entrance.
I went with a Meetup group which has been a really great way to meet new people and do things I would not normally do. I would have had no idea about this particular Bal, and I probably would have ended up at some lame overcrowded one. Let me just be frank about that night: it was one of the weirdest, but interesting nights I have ever had in Paris.
It all started when one girl and I were offered the chance to share a bottle of champagne with ex-gendarmes,. They were nice…. but, we quickly said goodbye when the bottle was finished. We were on a mission to take pictures with firemen hahahahaha.
Much much later, I somehow ended up in the “VIP” section. VIP at bal de pommiers does not mean much. However, it did mean all the free champagne we wanted, drunk food in the form of canapes and macaroons and private bathrooms inside the fire house (when the plebeians were forced to use portapotties) (plus, the firehouse looked like a giant frat house, and there was a whole front of a fire truck in their dining area too!).
The following were posted in the meetup group:
So, me and 3 other girls chilled there until we started talking to the people next to us. One of the guys ended up owning a bar two blocks down. He kept telling us that he had champagne we could drink at his bar. It was 4 am at this point, and we figured we might as well go because the metro didn’t start until 5 am and the Bal was over.
I was a little sketched out, but we got to his bar and it was actually more like a brasserie. Somehow we ended up dancing and drinking until the early hours of the morning. At one point, it was just me and another girl left. There were three firemen and then the bar owner. Well, the other girl and the bar owner were in their own little world. The firemen were like…. “Well, yes! You know the French kiss!? yes yes!” (I dont know why French men think this is such a clever pick up line… le sigh).
I was like nooooooooo waaaayy. I was starting to sober up at that point, and no way was I going to make out with three firemen. However, they kept persisting. I figured I would use the old “only if you make out with each other excuse,” thinking that they would never do it. Well. Never suggest that French men because it will happen. Seriously, that would never ever happen in America. Ever.
The cutest one then hopped up onto the bar and starting acting like a tiger. How can you resist that? Eventually, day light started to come in and everyone was hungry. At this point, there were more firemen and women. Somebody went to go get croissants and we all went back to the firehouse to eat breakfast in the chief’s place. I did not get home until 9:45 am hahahaahhahahah. Such a weird night.
I slept the rest of the day until the late afternoon when I was meeting a friend to go watch the fireworks. As it turned out, I was the English speaking one of the group. All the others were Brazilian, but whatevs! We found a place despite arriving kind of late and we had a pick-nick as a fabulous orchestra and opera serenaded us with classic pieces from Carmen.
Every year there is a theme, and this years was “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” which means liberty, equality, and brotherhood. It was really patriotic which I do not usually equate with the French. The fireworks were synchronized to music and re-mixes of famous freedom speeches like MKL’s I have a Dream, Nelson Mandela and other French ones I did not recognize. The fireworks were amazing as it was on the Champs de Mars and the Eiffel tower was the centerpiece. I dont want to admit this, but I got kind of emotional. It was just so pretty, and it reminded me how much I love Paris. Paris and I at the moment are on a plateau. We are finally together, but it seems like we do not know what to do with each other now that I am finally here. I love this city so much, and Bastille Day was a great way to remind me of that.
One day I will be invited this fancy looking party at Ecole Militaire. My fireworks pictures sucked as usual, but I feel the need to share anyway.