Sunday's picture and a song - the big disco party by the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day 2012!


1:56 pm - Stéphane and I pass the Champ de Mars on our way home from the military parade on the Champs-Elysées and feel a sense of urgency when we see that people are already staking out their spots of ground using string and "RESERVED" signs.


Shortly before 8:00 pm - We arrive at at the security checkpoint at the Champ de Mars with a bottle of wine, some cheese, bread and prosciutto. When the policeman checks Stéphane's backpack, our wine ends up in the garbage. Mince, alors! After we're settled, we notice many of the people around us are drinking wine and overhear a woman say that she snuck the bottles past the policemen by pretending that she was pregnant!

One of the most important lessons that we learned is that people won't encroach on your space if you have a picnic blanket, although the woman on the left came as close as she dared. By the time the fireworks started, there wasn't an inch of free ground around us.




9:10 pm - The crowd continues to gather.


9:22 pm - I pass this group on my way to the Porta-Potty and am thankful that we arrived early enough to claim a spot in the interior of the Champ de Mars. The puddle is from the huge downpour on Friday evening.


10:45 pm - The energy is amazing as hundreds of thousands of people rise to their feet and start singing along with Grace Jones, Abba and the Bee Gees.

And now it's your turn to sing along! In honor of our first Bastille Day in Paris, Stéphane made his first YouTube video. You'll hear me singing "I Will Survive" with Donna Summer and the rest of the crowd around 0:50 on the video.


Click here to watch the official video of the fireworks display.

Photo credit: Stephane

Comments

  1. Well done Stephane! and you can sing in tune!

    Oh WHY didn't we book two weeks!

    Love Denise

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    1. Yes, why didn't you book two weeks, Denise?!? Now I know why there aren't fireworks on New Year's Eve in Paris - it's because the ones for Bastille Day are amazing and it's a lot more fun to dance on the Champs de Mars in July than it would be at midnight on January 1!

      I passed on your comment to Stephane and he was very pleased. I didn't realize that he was filming until after we got home so it was a surprise to hear my off-key rendition of "I Will Survive". Good thing that he didn't shoot any footage of my dance moves! ;)

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    1. It was an amazing show, although I'm not sure how it compares with the view of the 4th of July fireworks in Boston from the penthouse!

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    2. Yes, imagine having a friend with a grand penthouse along the Champs de Mars--how cool would that be!? There is something though about being in the middle of the hoi polloi and embracing it all, isn't there? Seems like a really good time.

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    3. In my opinion, the Champs de Mars was THE place to be last night. Tomorrow's post is going to be about some of the other options that we considered. All day long, Stephane and I have been talking about what a good time we had in the thick of the action. The only thing that was missing was a bit of wine...

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  3. Ooh, pretty! And Stephane has a much steadier hand and more patience than I do! I think the picnic blanket strategy is fair enough, but I must say I think roping off your area goes a bit too far!

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    1. I was impressed by the steadiness of the video too, especially since I didn't realize that Stephane was filming and kept knocking against him while I was dancing. The man's a rock!

      In addition to people roping off sections of the CdM, there were lots of people with tripods, which are against the law in most areas of town. I kept expecting the policemen to say something but they didn't. I guess that they were too busy confiscating all of the alcohol that people snuck into the secure area.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic experience with those that couldn't make it. Note to self: book trip to Paris early enough to get a great deal for Bastille Day 2013!!!!

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    1. You're welcome! Paris is a REALLY fun place to be on July 14. I hope that you're able to find a great deal and are on the Champ de Mars in 2013!!!

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  5. Loved this post....and as for the Boston 4th celebrations, I would go every year from the time I was a teen until I left New England.
    With Arthur Fiedler, John Williams and Seji Ozawa....what could possibly compare to a night on the Charles, crowded but no ropes needed and wine permitted in those days? I too, watched more than once for a rooftop and it was magical. Thanks for the video/post but even more, thanks for jumpstarting a wonderful memory!

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    1. Lucky you! Seeing the 4th of July fireworks in Boston has been on my dream list for a long time - ever since I first saw it broadcast live on television. I'll get there one of these days!

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  6. I love your pictures! We were by Concorde and buses kept getting in the way of our view!

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    1. Oh, that's a shame about the buses. I would have thought that Concorde would have been a very good location.

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  7. Terrific show! I love the disco theme and the way sparkling of the ET was synchronized with "I Will Survive." So fun.

    It's a shame about the wine. Hope it wasn't a pricey bottle. I wonder if you could smuggle it in a juice container. Not very classy, but red wine can pass for cranberry juice!

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    1. Fortunately, it wasn't a fancy bottle so we weren't too bothered. But I'm not sure that the policemen would have believed us if we told them that it was cranberry juice because they were smelling bottles to make sure that the contents weren't alcoholic. That's why we were so amazed that people actually made it past them with wine. Other than the woman who said that she was pregnant, I don't know how they did it!

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  8. Merci, MK! I am so sorry to have missed it! What a memorable experience for you!

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    1. Isn't that the eternal problem of being an expat - when we're there we wish that we were here and vice-versa! Still, I'm sure that you're having a wonderful time with your kids in TX.

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  9. MK: your reporting on the goings-on at the Champs de Mars was newspaper-worthy. Please convey my thanks to your husband for his terrific video of the spectacular fireworks. Love the accompanying music: disco lives!

    Patricia H

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    1. "Disco lives" - It certainly does! I was surprised that most of the young people around us knew all of the words to the songs and were singing along to "our" music!

      When I conveyed your thanks to Stephane, he couldn't help but smile. For a normally modest guy, he's quite proud of the video.

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  10. "Fabuleux, Stephane!" What a great Parisian memory (for you both), and thanks for sharing the moment (for us!)

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    1. You're welcome! It has been a while since Stephane filmed anything and the fireworks gave him a good reason to start doing it again.

      When Sara saw the video, she made a point of telling us that the 4th of July fireworks in Boston are pretty spectacular. She's proud of your city!

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  11. We, family, already have our lodging booked for July 14, 2013. This has me soooo excited. Will have to remember to pack something to sit on for Champ de Mars. We purposely got our hotel in that area so we could just walk back. Cannot wait!

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    1. Staying near the Champ de Mars is an excellent idea. Since we live relatively close to the Eiffel Tower, we didn't even attempt to take the metro home because it was way too crowded. A blanket or some sort of ground covering and a picnic is definitely the way to go.

      Good luck planning your trip to Paris. It sounds as if you've gotten off to a very good start!

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  12. That was amazing! I think you had the best seat in Paris. Thank you so much for sharing it! Vanna

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    1. You're welcome. The good thing about the location of the fireworks is that almost everyone on the Champ de Mars had the best seats in Paris!

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  13. amazing photos and video MK! thank you for sharing as i was not able to attend this year but will for sure next year. i am VERY impressed the show put on!!!

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    1. Yes, the show was impressive and all that...but much more importantly, how was the Madonna concert?! I'm still waiting to read your blog post. Did you take pics? How was the music? And what was the deal with the swastika? I keep seeing tweets about it.

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