Posted by: kathandroger | July 16, 2011

Bastille Day Fun

The French don’t need much of an excuse for a good nosh and knees up – so this week has been another round of fetes. It all starts on the 13th (the 14th is of course a national holiday, and given it fell on a thursday, the whole nation ‘fait le pont’ or bridges to the weekend and takes the friday off too…). We went to the local village of La Guerche on Wednesday , where 120 people were seated in the little square for steak/frites, followed by fireworks and a ‘bal populaire’ until the early hours. La Guerche is only tiny, but they must have spent a fortune on fireworks – especially as the same thing was going on 2km down the river in Leugny and 5 km up the hill at Chambon! But that was nothing compared to the following night in our local town of Descartes. Normally a very sleepy town, people emerged from everywhere in their hundreds (or even thousands?). We feasted on a giant paella and apple tart at one of the local bars before, then made our way down to the river for the kayak ballet and a breathtaking firework display from the beautiful old bridge…

The above photo was obviously not taken on thursday night, but it gives an idea of the spectacular setting. After the fireworks of course everyone headed up to the main square to dance the night away.

But there has been quite a bit of controversy and debate around the celebrations this year. Traditionally there is a huge military parade in Paris on the day itself. Sadly this year it coincided with the death of 5 soldiers in Afghanistan and there has been questions raised as to whether it would be more appropriate these days to have a parade of a different nature. The recently elected presidential candidate for the Ecology/Green Party, Eva Joly, has suggested it be scrapped and replaced by a people’s parade of some sort. She is Norwegian by birth and has dual nationality…the PM, Francois Fillon has suggested she go back to Norway as she doesn’t understand French culture!

The other french institution which is going on at the moment is, of course, the Tour de France. It is wide open this year, which makes a nice change. Yesterday the star of the show was Thor Hushovd…yes, also a Norwegian, who beat 2 Frenchmen. I suppose he’d better go home too!

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