Get Ready for a Full-Frontal French Weekend
Bonjour! I'm Sarah, the Rue Amandine summer intern. After nearly a year of living in Paris, I still find myself a bit of a tourist. Luckily working with two elegant Parisiennes is helping me. This coming weekend is going to be one of celebration and unity amongst the French. And I am going to do my best to fit in. On Saturday the 14th of July is Bastille Day. On Sunday, it's the FIFA World Cup final. Oulala! The streets of Paris erupted on Thursday as France learned it would be heading to the Finals. Choruses of "On est en finale" filled the air. If that was a celebration for winning the semi-finals, imagine if France goes all the way... Here's what you will find me doing this weekend:
1) Looking up.
While many people flock to the Champs Elysees to watch the famous Military Parade, I have decided to avoid it. Apart from the claustrophobic crowd, my small height means that I won't be able to see anything. That being said, I absolutely love the air-show so I'll be heading to the Bastille area to see the planes fly over on their way to the parade. A little cheat.
2) Watching the fireworks
Easily one of the most iconic events of the Bastille Day celebrations, the firework show over the Champs de Mars (framing the Eiffel Tower perfectly) is mesmerizing. It is so special that you basically need to bring a tent and 3 bottles of sunblock for the day and camp on the grass in order to get a decent spot. Alternatively, I'm going to head to the Pont Alexandre III bridge and watch the magic from there.
3) Dancing at the firemen's ball
One of my favorite traditions, "les bals des pompiers, is an absolute hoot. Every year the hardworking firemen of Paris open up their stations to the public and throw one massive party. Think flowing champagne and very agreeable eye candy. I'll be going to the one in the Marais which is held in the station which formerly housed the old Hotel de Chavigny. It is one of the most festive and the lovely setting is an added bonus.
4) Watching the match at a bar
On to day two of the festivities. Normally I am not a football fan but the contagious energy of the fans has definitely converted me. While I have a television where I'm staying, I will be at a bar soaking up the electricity of the crowd and waving my newly acquired French flag. The area around Strasbourg St Denis should be particularly vibrant so I'll be looking around there for a place to sit.
5) Learning some songs
Before the weekend begins, I need to brush up on some popular songs. In the past I've been mumbling my way through the Marseillaise and it's high time I join in the singing. Hopefully in unified celebration on Sunday. While chanting "Allez les Bleus" and "On est en finale" has been easy, this might be more of a challenge... This weekend is going to be one for the books. Hopefully Amandine and Isabelle give me the day off on Monday to recover (hint hint).