There’s always a risk when you hold such high expectations of a place. That you’ve built it up so much in your head, no reality can possibly live up to it. Yet I went to Paris with an assuredness like no other. I’d fantasized about Paris for so long, there was almost no way I could be let down. My imaginings were blissfully stereotypical – full of days being “chic” in cute little cafes, snacking on cheese and baguettes and admiring the Eiffel Tower.
Given that this trip was a special one – for my 30th birthday – Hai sought out an apartment with a view of the tower where I could look out and gaze at its twinkling lights by night, a dream of mine.
My birthday also happens to fall on arguably the most important day on the French calendar – Bastille Day or the French National Day – meaning that the party essentially came to us.
The 14th of July starts off with the oldest and largest military parade in Europe, including impressive aircraft formation flybys along the famous Champs-Élysées avenue.
The highlight of the celebrations, however, has to be the fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower. The best positions on the Champ de Mars, the grassed area in front of the tower, are snagged early, so most people pack a picnic to enjoy while they wait out the many hours until summer sundown and for the fireworks display to begin.
The fireworks were the most impressive we have ever seen. Fully choreographed to music and illuminating the tower in colourful light, the French go all out for this special day.
Interestingly, the celebrations are rounded out at fire stations across the city! It’s the one time of year that fire stations are opened to the public and, what’s more, for huge parties that go until the wee hours of the morning! Packed with fire fighters acting as both hosts and party-goers, it’s one interesting disco.
Here’s our first vlog in our Paris series that shows our arrival in Paris, the view from our apartment and all the celebrations from July 14th.
We’d love to know what you think in the comments section below. Thanks for watching.
If you’d like to see pictures and read more about July 14th, and what celebrating it in Paris meant to me, click here.
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