Mantes la Jolie went all out on the fireworks show again this year – we sat in our usual place on the lawn near the bar & grill because the bridge is always packed with people, so it’s nice to have a seat at a table, a cold drink, and watch the fireworks. It’s true that from the lawn we don’t have the view over the river – or see the fireworks reflected in the Seine. But it was gorgeous anyhow. This year, the colors were mint green, gold-pink, and red, white and blue – of course! I love the different types of fireworks. This year, the new thing were huge, arching fountains that climbed up the sky in a ladder of gold spray.
There were halo fireworks, with blue spheres exploding outward in a perfect circle, surrounding a bouquet of gold sparkles. There were multi-colored globes, like Christmas lights springing up in wavy lines. And my favorite – huge chrysanthemums that exploded with a boom that shook the air. There was music – and this year the show started with John Lennon’s “Imagine”, and ended with a resounding “Freedom” by Aretha Franklin. I thought that one of the differences here in France and the States with the “Fête National” was that the French didn’t wave little French flags (I didn’t see any) and there wasn’t the national anthem playing with the fireworks. France needs a new PR minister – they handed out glowing lanterns to the kids instead of flags (I like the lanterns better, but they don’t whip up a fervor of nationalism). But tomorrow is the big parade down the Champs Elysee; soldiers, horses, tanks, planes, flags, the national anthem, and parachutists – I’ve never seen it in person, but we always 1) run outside and look at the jets fly overhead and 2) watch it on TV and my favorites are the Foreign Legionnaires and the “Guarde Republican” on horseback.