|Paris Match, July, 1989.|
On July 13, 1989, we arrived in Paris for a planned 1-year stay; of course we chose that date to be sure we would be present for the biggest Bastille day of the century, and we weren’t disappointed! That night, we watched the incredible show at the Eiffel Tower, which was very close to the apartment where we were spending our first night of our year there. The next evening, we joined the millions of people trying to get a glimpse of the parades and fireworks along the Champs Elysée.
I didn't take photos, but I did save a copy of Paris Match published just after the event. Our viewpoint was much less dramatic than the ones in the magazine!
|The parade moving toward the Arc de Triomphe.|
|Also in honor of the 200th anniversary of the French Republic, the newly built Pyramid of the Louvre was dedicated.|
Our only other Bastille Day in Paris was in 1975. Our good friends Michelle and Jean (then a couple, later not) took us around Paris on the eve of the holiday to see the celebrations. We spent a long night of roaming around Paris. Not only at fire stations, but everywhere in the streets and squares of the city, we saw people dancing to live music by a variety of bands and small ensembles. From what I read on tourism sites on the web, recent celebrations have been much more crowded than the ones we experienced: I think we just went into the fire station and watched the dancing without having to wait in line.
At the time, Michelle and Jean had a minuscule apartment in central Paris, as well as a large house far out in the suburbs; they loaned us the apartment for our week in Paris. After our long walk around the city, we went to bed very late. A few hours later, around 6 AM, a lone trumpet player -- no doubt coming from a gig at a fire station -- strolled down the now-empty street outside our window, playing cool jazz on his trumpet: our wake up call for Bastille Day. I know we saw a parade go by but I'm not sure where or what time. I think it was near the apartment, which was on the Left Bank, not near the Champs Elysée.
|For the 1989 celebration, many people wore "Revolutionary"|
hats and clothing. A bit later in July, 1989, we attended
another celebration at a friend's country house, where we
met these costumed children.
For 2020, many of the festivities, like the major parades and the street dances, have been scaled down or cancelled. The Champs de Mars, where we sat on the grass in 1989 to watch the fireworks at the Eiffel tower, will be closed this year, with a limited fireworks show visible from the river. If I understand correctly, the French are being pretty disciplined in order to reduce the spread of the virus. It’s miserable that just about every day I think about something that isn’t happening!
This post will be shared with "Paris in July" hosted at Tamara's blog; © 2020 mae sander.