I’d been looking forward to Bastille Day for weeks.*
Not only because it meant a four day weekend, but also because I’d recently watched ‘Paris When it Sizzles’ and had imagined dancing through the city in a haze of champagne, just like Audrey Hepburn. Even though it didn’t quite turn out that way, we had a wonderful day. And I wore a breton top and red lipstick, despite looking like a walking cliché. When in Paris…
We started early and made our way to the Champs Elysées for the parade. It’s a short walk from my apartment and we found the crowd quite easily. The security was impressive – our bags were searched, and we were patted down twice before we even reached the street, and then once again when we got to the section for spectators. After the terrible attack in Nice later that day, I’m more grateful for that security than ever.
The weather wasn’t great, and it felt like forever until the parade got going, but when it did, it was incredible. Thousands of people in uniform, music, horses, tanks, and a huge flyover from jets and hundreds of other military planes. But after standing in the slight chill for a couple of hours we decided to head back just before the parade finished, with a short detour via Ladurée for a pistachio croissant.
One of our friends, S was in Paris for work that day, so we met him at Victor Hugo and went for lunch at Café Kleber. I walk past this place every day on my way to work and was intrigued – it turned out to be the perfect place to people watch and have a leisurely summer lunch. A glass of wine and a big bowl of pasta, and I was happy.
Back to the apartment again for a quick change and we were ready for the rest of 14th July!
*I’ve since found out that Parisians don’t refer to it as ‘Bastille Day’ because of its violent connotations. So it’s Quatorze Juillet, all the way.