Bastille Day otherwise known as La Fête Nationale to the locals turned out to be a whole lot of fun for us tourists. The celebrations start the night before with the Bal des Pompiers (Fireman’s Ball) where all fire brigades host their own local fundraising party with music, cheap booze and lots of dancing all night long. It doesn’t hurt that cute firemen in smart uniforms were serving the drinks 🙂
Now after all that dancing the night before you’d think that we’ll get a sleep-in to rest our aching feet? Nope, we dragged ourselves out of bed early and walked for ages to get to avenue des Champs-Élysées to watch the military parade and fly-over. That was worth all the crowd jostling and standing just to see the jets fly over with plumes of red, white and blue smoke. Very cool.
More crowd jostling on Pont de l’Alma two hours before nightfall to get a prime spot for the fireworks, because we refused to camp out for 8 hours in Champ de Mars (the park right in front of the Eiffel with the best view). Our view wasn’t too shabby with the Seine spread out in front of us. And the fireworks? Best we’ve ever seen. I was thoroughly mesmerized and my mouth was literally gaping when the fireworks concluded with the biggest, brightest and loudest bouquet. Some moments stay with you forever. Watching the fireworks in Paris on Bastille Day 2013 is one of them.