Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Liberte, egalite & a bit of shopping
Headed off in the morning to see some of the Bastille Day parade along Champs Elysee. Along with about 500,000 others.
We ended up in a side street, near the Arc de Triompe, with the kids hanging off the fence of the Quatari Embassy to see what was going on.
When the parade finished we wandered off down Ave de Friedland, which it turns out is one of the streets that the Army was using to marshal it's vehicles for their return to base.
So we ended up with our own private parade.
The dress uniforms - from the tank drivers with their snappy cravats, to the Elysee Palace guards with their swords - were amazing, and to a man (and the occasional lady solider) they all looked very proud to be taking part.
We grabbed a bite of lunch and then hit the shops for a few hours - the kids all bought new sneakers, and the boss ended up with a new pair of Jimmy Choos. Apparently between the sale price and getting the detaxe back, they were almost giving them away.
Dinner was excellent, we went overboard on bivalves: oysters then moules & frites, with an, um, interesting Corsican white (better than North African red).
By the time we'd finished eating, it was time to scale Montmartre and stand outside Sacre Coeur to see the fireworks.
And I reckon nearly everyone who was on Champs Elysee that morning had the same idea.
If you want to see fireworks from a crowd, you need to be tall. I'm not, and my kids certainly aren't either.
Someone decided to climb on the dusty Renault that we were standing next to. So I lifted the kids, carefully, on to the bonnet just as the show started.
I spent the next 20 minutes listening to fireworks while the kids told me what was happening. And 3 kids and a couple of adults on a Renault was nothing compared to the 20 or so on the transit van across from us.
We stumbled home after the show and collapsed into bed.
A very French holiday indeed.