Fireworks! That’s the first thing I think of when I think of Bastille day. That, and the parade down the Champs Elysee. Here’s how my Bastille day goes most years – we go see the fireworks in town, then the next day, on the 14th, we laze on the couch and watch the parade, which starts at 10 am and finishes in time for lunch. The parade is miltary, with all the French armed forces, police, and firemen – tanks, horses, jet planes, and helicopters. There are marching bands, parachutists, and this year the French army dropped a bunch of frogmen into the lakes in Versailles for an exhibition. They managed to kill a seagull – the silly bird flew straight into the helicopter – but otherwise everything went without a hitch. This year was the 100th anniversary of WWI, with special guest star Donald Trump posing as president of the USA. I watched anyhow – seriously people, I can’t miss the parade. The best images, for me, have always been of the jets streaking over the Place de la Concorde, where the Luxor Obelisk is standing. Over five thousand years of history encompassed in a single glance.
Last night, in Mantes, Julia and I went to the riverside to watch the fireworks. We sat at a table set up on the lawn, listened to a rock band, had a drink, and watched amazing fireworks. Auguste was with us – he’s not afraid of the noise and bustle – he loves begging for french fries – (children run around with little boxes of french fries & fried dough from the food stands). There was a parade with a marching band and people carrying red and green paper lanterns. At 11 pm the fireworks started, and they were splendid.