Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to boogie down! The official schedule for July 14, 2012. National Day in France.


I took this photo this morning. Do you notice anything different about the Eiffel Tower?


Take a closer look. Those of you who have an acute sense of observation and were alive in the 1970s and early 80s will probably recognize that big sphere as a disco ball. That's right! Paris is getting ready to boogie down to the tunes of "It's Raining Men", "YMCA" and "I Will Survive" when it celebrates National Day on July 14. Put on your platform shoes, bell bottoms and tank tops and join the fun at the Champs de Mars.

Here's the official schedule, compliments of the Tourist Information Center:

Military Parade, Champs Elysées, 9:00 am

9:00 am: Organization and inspection of the troops
10:00 am: Arrival of the President of the Republic (François Hollande)
10:40 am: Opening flypast, troops parade
11:40 am: Closing flypast

During the afternoon, the units will meet the Parisians at 11 locations, including Invalides and Nation.

Lunch on the grass, Palace of Versailles, 11:00 am-4:00 pm

Huge picnic on the banks of the Grand Canal. Free entrance, no booking required.
Dress code: white. Edit: The picnic at Versailles has been cancelled due to the bad weather!

Fireworks, Eiffel Tower, 10:45 pm (30 minutes)

Theme: "Disco Years" (70s-80s). Click here to see the official playlist.

Firemen's Balls

In the fire stations, nights of the 13th and 14th from 9:00 pm to 4:00 am.

According to this post by Paris Museums, "the firefighters will host this event with DJs (and some of the pompiers even do Full Monty-style stripping)." When I left a comment expressing my disbelief, Andrew responded, "Why do you think they call them "Firemen's Balls?" and sent a link with photographic evidence via Twitter.

And Also ...

Louvre Museum: Free entrance all day
Opera Garnier: Free representation of the ballet La Fille mal gardée, 7:30 pm (according to availability of places)
Longchamp Racecourse: Garden Party with races and many animations
Stade de France: Madonna's world tour concert, 8:00 pm (booking required)

Banners are fluttering in the breeze along the Champs Élysées.
Vans full of policemen in riot gear are already on standby.
Please be aware that there will be some changes to the regular public transportation schedules because of the activities. This notice was posted in my bus advising of the stops that will not be serviced during the Military Parade.

Comments

  1. I love the 14th of July in France!!!!! I'm so sad that I'm missing it this year!!! Really.

    We had a wedding to go to on Saturday (sort of a dual celebration, it's also the bride's birthday) that I have to miss because my consulate appt. in on Monday. Boo.

    Thanks for posting these great photos and the schedule. It makes me sort of feel like I'm involved. I love how regal the Champs looks with the French flags! That gets me every year.

    Enjoy this festive day! Have they practiced setting off the military planes over the city yet? The first time I heard that, I thought Paris was getting attacked!

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    1. :) and I thought, viewing (with very bad eye sight I confess) MK's 'disco ball' I was seeing a chopper flying through the ET.... was paniking for a second - so much prefer the disco ball!

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    2. "Firemen's Balls" he he he.

      I couldn't resist.

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    3. Kiki, Even though I would have liked to see a helicopter fly through the ET, the disco ball added a lot more to the mood on Saturday night!

      Mlle Ella, I hope that all goes well with your visit to the consulate this morning. In spite of your sketchy passport, fingers crossed that you'll walk out of there with your visa and will be on your way home soon. At least if those ducks ever release you from Long Island!

      We missed the 14th of July last year because we were in the USA but we don't plan on missing it again. When we lived in Switzerland, we used to see the fireworks across the lake on the French side but it's definitely a lot more fun to be in the thick of things in Paris.

      I'm sure that they must have practiced the flyover a couple of times but I never heard the planes. I know what you mean though because I had the same thoughts once when we were living in Germany. It was before they raised the ceiling on practice flights and the first time they flew over I was sure that WWIII had started.

      Firemen's Ball - Andrew (Paris Museums) is naughty!

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  2. DISCO MUSIC AT THE TOUR EIFFEL! Why did I not hear about this sooner? I've never done anything spesh for le 14, I went to Paris once when I was living in the north, but with the train times I got there too late for the parade and had to leave too early for the fireworks, so other than queuing in the Pompidou for about an hour before the like 40 degree heat got too much and I left (it was about 30 outside, so I'm guesstimating the temperature inside a big plastic tube) it was like any other day.

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    1. Is it plastic, or glass? Either way, ah memories of when it used to get hot in summer... PS I just saw you linked to me, thanks!

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    2. Love that play-list - it should be so much fun! Wish I could be there. GM

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    3. we have the same prob with the trains back.... and we KNOW it's a terrible mass-movement on events like this :)
      Anyway, I always like to be on the Tour de Montparnasse - you see the ET for one thing and all the stuff going on, and USUALLY there are hardly any queues although maybe it's different on July 14th!

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    4. @Gwan It was a huge glass disco ball. I saw the number of mirrors in a newspaper article but can't find it now. If I come across it later, I'll post another comment. I''m happy that you had a good 14th of July in Tours with your patriotic tricolored nails!

      Stephane and I are lucky that we could walk home after the fireworks. We didn't, however, follow your example (bad!) and walk along the highway to hell! ;)

      @GM The playlist was fantastic, although I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that there weren'y more French songs on it. Stephane liked it so much that he downloaded the songs on his ipod so that he can listen to them on his way to work. I can just imagine him dancing as he goes!

      @Kiki I hope that you had a great July 14th!

      Are you in Paris on the 1st of August? We celebrated Swiss National Day in Paris last year. Come to think of it, you must not have been there because you're a singer and none of the Swiss were singing the anthem!

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  3. I love this MK! I knew I could count on you to tell me what was going on for the 14th. I'm afraid that we wont wake up early enough for the parade (although I really want to). Do you know where the best spot is to see the planes? I heard/saw them practice and it was terrifying but mesmerizing! I also want to go to the 17th's Fireman Ball! Sir L has yet to be convinced for that one. And we have tickets to Madonna... I'm very bummed to be missing my first Bastille day fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.. but Madge only tours every few years! ENJOY!

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    1. You're going to see Madonna!?!?!? Deets!!!! How fun!!!!

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    2. @Kristen How was the Madonna concert?!?!?! I hope that you write a post about it with photos. I thought of you when I saw some tweets from people who were at the concert. I'm sure that you must have had an amazing time. Did you make it to the Firemen's Ball in the 17th?

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  4. Well I hope there's lots of Bee Gees and Abba at the party, and Donna too. Then into the glorious 80s with Blondie, early George Michael, Culture Club and the best of the new wave sounds. What a fun party it should be. And the disco ball in the Eiffel Tower is great. And I hope you've pulled out your slinky halter top dress by Halston for the big night. What will Stephane wear?

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    1. Bee Gees, Abba and Donna all made an appearance at the party. Probably the best song of the night was "YMCA". Imagine a couple hundred of thousands of people all moving their arms in unison to form the letters. We also really liked the fireworks during Grace Jone's version of "La VIe en Rose" - they were heart shaped!

      No slinky halter dress for me - it was way too cold!

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  5. I think Les Invalides is free as well, if case anyone has any desire to see the Napoleons! ;)

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    1. Thanks for the heads up about Les Invalides! I hope that you had a fantastic 14th of July!

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  6. I am sorry to be missing the Fete National this year. Should have booked two weeks!

    Ww have done three previous and really had a good time. One year Michael went to Lingchamps and there were lots of family activities fireworks and a barbecue in the evening fewer crowds

    The 70s dance sounds fantastic.

    Oh I miss Paris!

    Love Denise

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    1. Denise, I would have agreed with you about booking two weeks if I hadn't read your recent blog post and seen the photos of your lovely grandchildren. It's much better that you were able to spend time with them at the sweet shop than dancing on the Champ de Mars...although the 70s and 80s dance music was really fantastic and brought back great memories for Stephane and me!

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  7. just fyi, MK you can get some great night photos on the CE as street lights will be off....will prevent that cursed lamplight glare. (I only know this from the Facebook site "Better Paris Photos")

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    1. Thanks, Nancy. I didn't make it to the CE but it's very helpful to know about "Better Paris Photos". I'll check out their Facebook page.

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  8. Oh lovely MK; being in the area the first (and last!) time this year (all other years we were always in the Savoy Alps for 10 days of singing...) - we really really planned to go to the all-white-Versailles-pic-nic and now I see that the weather forecast is absolutely awful!!!! My-oh-my, what shall we do?! It's no fun to be dressed in white and have the champagne glasses on a soddy ground, is it?! On the other hand; this just might force us to celebrate on our 'home turf' - they always also have a fireworks do and it might be easier.
    We will only come home at midnight anyway - having spent some days in Switzerland... you know why! I feel very lucky indeed to have house-sitters every time I'm away; at least they can oversee the damage of the rain falls while we are walking about in summer dresses here near Berne :)

    Thank you for this lovely 'schedule' you took the trouble to work out.

    Love, Kiki

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    1. We were hoping to do the Versailles picnic too - it's a shame that it was cancelled, especially when the weather turned out alright in the end.

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  9. The picture you took of the Tour Eiffel with the disco ball hanging there is simply stunning! Hope you'll have tons of fun on July 14th and lots of pictures to share.

    Regards,

    Patricia H

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    1. Thanks, Pat. I actually stumbled across the ball when I decided to go for a coffee at one of the cafes at Trocadero. When I passed the ET, I did my token glance and then a second and third when I saw the ball. My first thought was, "What's that doing there?" before I remembered that the theme of fireworks this year was disco music. It was a real aha moment!

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