As we near the end of summer there are still plenty of outdoor events we must enjoy before we head back to the books and prepare our fall coats for the very brisk days ahead. This weekend, August 22nd, there are several reasons to head outdoors as Paris offers up festivals and celebrations to end the last month of summer with a bang.
Kicking off tomorrow, the Rock en Seine is a huge 3 day outdoor music festival in Domain national de St-Cloud, featuring acts such as Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age. Beginning most days at 3:30PM, this afternoon into the early morning hours festival will have you fired up all weekend long with plenty of music and entertainment to enjoy.
Have children? Don’t worry, they got you covered. Rock en Seine offers a daily children’s festival with free entrance for the whole family to enjoy. The children’s outdoor festival includes workshops, concerts along with art, all beginning at 4PM until 10:30PM. Sunday the festivities begin at 3PM.
Though many will be camping for the weekend, you can buy daily tickets for 49 euro at www.fnac.com For more information and directions to the show, visit the website at www.rockenseine.com Metro Stop: Boulogne-Pont de St-Cloud, Line 10
After you have jammed your heart out all weekend long, end the celebrations with some French national spirit at the Hotel de Ville for the 70th anniversary of Le Liberation de Paris on Monday, August 25th. The entire city hall will be lite with a bright enormous 22 meter video presentation of the 1944 liberation along with a dance performance to commemorate what is considered one of the most important events in Parisian history.
On June 22nd, 1940, the German army took control over Paris along with northern and western France with the signing of the Second Compeigne Armistice. This began a long 4 year occupation under Hitler’s rule until Paris and the French Resistance began their fight for liberation on August 19th, 1944. Le Liberation de Paris ( The Liberation of Paris) lasted not even a week until the German army surrendered on August 25th, 1944, marking the beginning of Paris’s liberation.
Festivities for this memorable day will begin at 7:30PM but before hand ensure to check out the exhibit inside the auditorium of Hotel de Ville. This free exhibition pays tribute to the liberation filled with films, photos, speeches from historians and other WWII memorabilia. For more information go to www.paris.fr Metro Stop: Hotel De Ville, Line 1
Have a Great Weekend!
Many of us at some point in our childhood or perhaps even in our adult life, have seen the original film version of the, The Sound of Music. An overly happy musical featuring Julie Andrews who we all remember best for her scene of spinning around on top of the Alps singing her heart out that the hills are alive with music. No matter when you watched it, at that point you could take a deep sigh as you were overwhelmed with a smile and happiness as you escaped with Julie. Though The Sound of Music wasn’t my all time favorite films or musicals, the beauty of the Alps captured me and I like many other women only thought, I want to spin one day on top of the Alps in a dress! Well, one day finally came.
One of the most enjoyable parts of Europe is the ability to travel comfortably and affordability from country to country. Though ironically, train is the most expensive, you have the accessibility to travel over several means of transport and be in another country within hours or even less than hour.
For this week’s Tuesday Paris Street Fashion, I decided to take my own individual Paris street fashion and bring it to Switzerland with me on my weekend trip to see the land of Alps. Though I normally would never hike to the top of a mountain in a dress, this was a well worth exception to the rule. These photos were taken atop of Mt. Rigi in the beautiful city of Lucerne, Switzerland located in the northern, German speaking part of the country. www.rigi.ch
Among the beautiful views from this mountain, there is great access to lodges, hiking trails and camping. From the pictures I saw, the winter looks like it would be even more breath taking and I hope to return to see the snow sprinkle on these high peaks. If you are on a short trip to Lucerne and want to do just a day trip, there is luckily a train that takes you right to the top, which was helpful on this trip as I will save the hiking for next time.
As I said in a few prior posts, light summery dresses are the essentials here during summer for Parisian women. This week’s dress is light, flowy and cheap! There is no focus on shoes or other accessories, just fulfilling my dream to take amazing photos while spinning in a dress in the Swiss Alps! Thanks to my friend, Yasmina Shutz for being a great photographer.
Dress: H &M, 34.99 euro
Paris, like any major city in the world, has it’s stereotypes for how outsiders visualize the local habitants to act or dress. We see the drawings of the mime with the striped black and white shirt and the black baret mimicking the local tourists. The woman with the flowy dress riding the bicycle with the basket full of baguettes. The romantic couple at the cafe smoking cigarettes and drinking wine in the moonlight. Then finally every man and women with a perfectly tied scarf. Though you will not see the mime with the baret and the black and white striped shirt, there is one of these that is not a stereotype at all but an essential piece of becoming a fashionable Parisian. That signature item is, the scarf.
Whether its winter or summer wearing a perfectly tied scarf with any outfit is the key to blending in with Parisian street style. Black, white, red, blue, striped, checkered or even if you have a closet full of designs, the scarf is almost as important as the black tie on a tuxedo. It is has to be looking sharp and clean at all times.
Though it might be summer, the scarf still is a necessity and can be a warmer on the way to the party. Yet in winter, the scarf is a part of the party. Summer scarfs are normally light and have brighter designs during the summer months but when winter comes, the scarf stays on all night. Not only to keep you warm but to accent your style like a true Parisian, man or a woman, the scarf is essential. You can buy them from any boutique or even street vendors who provide inexpensive but fabulous looking options.
This week’s Tuesday Paris Street Fashion highlights this true Paris accessory for those colder summer nights and for when the party gets started any time of year. Photos taken at Invalides.
Scarf: Street Vendor, 10 euro
Pants: H & M, 24.99 euro
Black Tank: H & M, 6.99 euro
Shoes: Nine West, 35 euro
Add On-Necklace: Hema, 9 euro
Add On-Blazer: Forever 21, 28 euro (repeat)
Real Women of Paris
As I continue to research and admire all the beautiful women and their fashion among the streets of Paris, I decided I needed to pay tribute to some of these women themselves. Many women I see on the street I have to just stop and ask, “Please tell me where you found your outfit?” Though before I find out where the real women are shopping, it is best to show the real women themselves.
Every week I dive into the stores that are accessible to you at home and put together the most Parisian street ensemble I can find. However, there are some women who just look too wonderful that I could never replicate their style. So, this week I am bringing you “The Real Women of Paris” These women I stopped on the street in their daily routine and asked their names and where they purchased their outfits. Though some of these stores are only in Paris, you can find them of course online. These women are of different ages groups to represent all women of Paris and who’s fashion could never been worn as well as they do it.
Marie, Paris, 17 years old
Shoes: H & M
Amandine, Neuilly-sur-Seine, 31 years old
Sophie, Paris, 32 years old
Shoes: Sergio Rossi
Catherine, Paris, 50 years old
Dress: Paul Ka
Brighter is better! Even in the gloomiest of weather, Parisian’s still find away to brighten up the sky all summer long. Bright colored dresses, pants, flowered patterns with perfectly matching shoes create a warm ensemble to heat up any day of summer.
It is easy to spot a Parisian woman among the packed summer crowds because she will always be wearing a dress or skirt, never shorts. Bright colors, flowered patterns or plain solid dresses is the noticeable uniform for the women of summer. Paired with great accessories, flat sandals or wedges, Parisian women know how to take a simple look and make it unique while continuing to keep “cool”
Keeping cool on those hot summer days is not only effected by your style but also by your hair. The high French Bun tight or even slightly messy, is a look rocked flawlessly by Parisians. The name obviously gives suit to the women who made this look so glamorous.
This week’s Tuesday Paris Street Fashion highlights two Paris essentials with a retro twist. Big round sunglasses, a slim essential bright Parisian summer dress with the classic French bun conveys a classic vibe that can brighten up even the darkest summer days.
Paris Essential: Bright Summer Dress, French Bun
Ray of Sunshine 79.80 euro
Dress: Zara,34.95 euro
Shoes: Zara, 29.95 euro
Sunglasses: H&M, 6.95 euro (repeat)
Purse: Forever 21, 7.95 euro
Earrings: Specialty Design from Singapore
What Not to Wear as a Tourist in Paris
Tuesday Paris Street Fashion is a guide to the everyday Parisian street styles and an insider on what real people wear. As a new Parisian myself, I wanted to blend in as much as possible, even before I made the move to make this my home. However, before I could I had to first try and blend in as a tourist.
Paris was the number one most visited city in the world until last year, second to London in 2013. The Parisian streets are filled with people of different nationalities trying to maneuver through the everyday inhabitants of Paris and like most major touristic cities, it is pretty easy to tell the difference between a tourist and a local. However, the difference here in Paris is not just pretty easy, it is easy enough to see the difference miles away. Now in summer while the coats are off, it is not just a fanny pack that separates a tourist from a local but the outfit.
Matching the fashion trends in Paris is not only for style purposes but also for safety. As any touristic spot, you can easily become a victim of the many scams and pickpocketing if you are spotted. The metro, the Eiffel Tower and Galeries Lafayette are high target areas for thieves and many fall victim to them before they can even blink. Since the thieves and scammers are all very persistent, it wasn’t until I changed my style and attitude that I began to get hassled a lot less than before.
If you are heading to Paris on vacation and what to know what NOT to pack any time of the year, here are the essential What not to Wear as a Tourist in Paris. Don’t forget to keep checking for more Tuesday Paris Street Fashion on what you can wear from home or buy here in Paris to keep up with the true local styles.
1. Fanny packs/Backpacks
I know it is tempting to want to bring everything you need for the day in your family backpack or keep your money right in front in the fanny pack so it is accessible. Yet, did you notice we only wear these on vacation? In your everyday life, you don’t use the backpack unless you are on your way to school or going on a hike. If you need to bring everything out for the day, try to get a bigger purse with black or neutral colors to can fit everything you need. If you want to make less take one bag that will match all your outfits for your trip. Though during summer it is tempting to get white, be careful as the metro and pollution can make that purse a lot darker quickly.
2. Your 2006 Super bowl Championship Jersey
I am not saying that American sports gear is not popular here. It is tempting to run up to the next guy wearing a Yankees cap and ask, “OMG, are you from New York, me too!” Though after as he stares at you with crossed eyebrows for a minute, you can assume at that point that he just thought the cap was cool and has never been to New York. There are plenty of men wearing caps and some t-shirts but Parisians will not be wearing specific championship American football jerseys with matching shorts. Not only because it is not sold here but not exactly the trends here. That jersey is pretty much a dead give away you’re a tourist. There is nothing wrong with representing your team but keep it simple.
3. Loose the Shorts
Men and especially women, loose the shorts. One thing I have noticed about women this summer is they rarely wear shorts. I quickly was able to tell the difference between a tourist and a Parisian because Parisian’s were only rockin summer dresses and skirts no matter what time of day. Men, wear shorts only on the hottest days. If the weather is mild or you’re heading out for the evening, Parisian men stick to Capri’s or bright colored pants for a summery look.
4. Family Affair
It is cute, I’m not gonna lie. The whole family wearing the same striped yellow shirts, tropical sun hats, Keens and LLBean backpacks with the initials on them, adorable. However, unless you are walking onto a rugby field, five people walking down the street with matching outfits is a sure sign to get a pickpocketers attention. Unless it is a bachelorette party, better to stay an individual.
5. Keep the Nike’s for the Track
Unless you are on a morning run or heading to the gym, Parisian’s normally don’t wear athletic shoes as apart of their everyday apparel. Converse or neutral colored sneakers look cute with a jean jacket or rolled Capri’s but otherwise Parisian’s keep to the flats and dress shoes. One look to avoid is the athletic sneakers with the dress. This a big Parisian no, no! I know it is tempting to wear sneakers for all the walking you will do but if you want to blend in as a Parisian bring your most comfortable pair of flats or even plain sneakers. If you can survive all the walking while wearing fabulous shoes, than you have made it as a Parisian.
6. A Beret
You mean Parisian’s don’t walk around wearing a black and white striped shirt wearing a beret playing the accordion? How disappointing! I know, we would just love to have a picture of this stereotype to post on our Facebook wall but honestly, of course this does not exist except the street performers. You may see a few berets for those wanting to keep warm in winter but otherwise, don’t show up thinking you will fit in as a local. There are plenty of cheap berets at souvenir shops if you want to buy a few for a fun family photo but otherwise, keep it as a souvenir.
7. A Hawaiian Shirt
I truly don’t think I have to explain this one. Your on vacation, I understand, but please save it for the next Lulau.
It’s summer time! The sun is hot, the weather is warm and the only we can think of to cool down is, where is the beach? As most of us plan our summer vacations and weekend trips, we try to escape as much as possible to the nearest sand to water point. Whether it be the ocean or lake, we will do anything to cool off and relax. However, for many of us who live in the big cities, attempting to make the sand to water dreams come true is a bit more difficult. Luckily, here in Paris for those of us who can’t make it to the beach this summer, Paris brought the beach to us.
This past Saturday, July 19th was opening weekend of Paris Plages. Everyday from now until August 17th, the banks of the Seine have turned it’s sidewalks into premier river front beaches among two main locations, Louvre to Pont de Sully and Bassin de la Villete in the 19th.
Louvre to Pont de Sully, is 3k of sand through central Paris and is equipped with lounge chairs, umbrellas, kids playgrounds (including ziplining and rock climbing), bocce ball and plenty of space for rollerblading. You can bring your own picnic or grab a beer at the “boardwalk” or even an ice cream. Of course, you won’t be able to jump in the water to cool off but you can still get the summer tan without ever leaving the city.
Bassin de La Villete, gives you not only the beach but a full playground of activities.This area stretching from Rotonde de Ledoux to Rue de Crimee, will give you the chance to finally cool off in the outdoor pool looking over the river. In between swims, why not rent a kayak or paddle boat. After you can grab your friends to play on one of the many volleyball courts before heading over to the local restaurant nearby in the evening.
So, grab your best bikini, some great music and close your eyes while you feel the sand on your toes and experience a small summer escape from everyday reality in the city.
Paris Plages (beaches) is open everyday from 9am to midnight until August 17th, 2014. paris.fr/parisplages
When deciding to pack up and leave it all behind in the States for Paris, one of the things on my Parisian dreams list was to experience the real French Bastille Day. Now as a Parisian, which I can officially refer to it as La Fete Nationale, I planned on experiencing every single July 14th festivity the City of Lights had to offer.
I had already done my research on the traditions in Paris for the oldest and most patriotic French holiday. As it was, Bastille Day in the United States had become enormously popular. From French revolution reenactments in Philadelphia to gala dinners in New Orleans to all- day parties at the Sofitel in Beverly Hills, Bastille Day celebrations were already well known and highly celebrated in the States. However, if you have been dreaming of Paris like I have, the real celebration could only truly be experienced where it all began.
I had been planning my now, La Fete Nationale weekend since I arrived here in France. Though most Parisians leave the city for small town celebrations to escape the large crowds, most Parisians will still suggest experiencing La Fete Nationale in Paris at least one.
I was ready for celebrations with my La Fete Nationale agenda in hand until I came across one side block to the 2014’s celebrations, the final match of the World Cup was at the same time. This past Sunday the 13th, as the French celebrations were ready to begin so were anxious fans waiting to celebrate the most important matchup in 4 years between Germany and Argentina. I of course did not want to miss out on the match either, so I just added another celebration to the list!
My friends and I decided to start the evening by watching this epic game between Germany and Argentina at the most German bar we could find, Kiez in the 18th. As we have several German friends among us, Germany was the mutual vote between this eclectic group of international Parisian settlers. I am glad we decided on this place because the crowd got crazy. If you could not join the action, from what I heard, in what was an insane party throughout the streets of Germany, than this was the next best thing for Paris. Jumping on cars, running down the streets with German flags, it was the start of celebrations that, though not French, made a great start to the night.
Next, after paying tribute to Germany, we headed to the traditional Fireman’s Ball or Bal des Pompiers. Though, you would think since the word “ball” is in the title of this soiree, it would be very fancy. However, no need to grab your prom gown as this very casual ball only requires typical night out on the town attire.
Luckily, we were only a 5 minute walk from the firehouse in the 18th from Kiez. I expected to see a lot of locals but as we spoke to several, they said, “Oh, that is pretty touristy but if it is your first time, you should definitely go once” Bummer, not exactly local but oh well. As he said, something you have to do at least once.
The line was already towards the end of the block when we arrived but we moved quickly and were greeted by extremely, “admirable” fireman, as we walked through the doors to an enormous arena of people. The entrance to the event is free but donations at the entrance are greatly appreciated.
The firehouse clears out it’s trucks and opens it’s garage doors to what transforms into a very high ceiling and bright bar. Don’t get your hopes up if you plan on ordering a Sex on the Beach off the menu, since all the “bartenders'” are the firemen themselves, I don’t think bartending is in their job description. Though beer and soft drinks were the only options, I have to admit the beers were actually only 3 euro. That is not much more than you pay at the grocery store, thanks fireman!
After we grabbed our drinks from the “bar” we went outside to dance to the live band. The entire courtyard was an open aired dance floor decorated with French flags and a giant inflatable French banner. I actually loved that they had a live cover band playing Top 40 and not a DJ. It made the atmosphere different from the normal club, almost like you were at a BBQ or an outdoor wedding. As we danced to Pharrell Williams Happy, we spoke with the fireman making their way through the crowds and enjoyed the night until the wee hours. All the firmans balls end at 4am, exactly. Due to the fact that they are all outdoors and in normally quiet neighborhoods, the closing time has to stay pretty strict.
The next morning, though extremely tired, I prepared to experience my first La Fete Nationale military parade. The parade is the oldest military parade in Europe and runs from the Arc de Triomphe all the way to Place de la Concorde. I decided to head over via Avenue Montaigne, the Rodeo Drive of Paris. The street was closed off and it was great for picture taking with some of the Calvary awaiting departure to march in the parade.
The parade itself, though a bit quiet at times, included enormous tankers, jet fighters, military helicopters, motorcycles, marching bands and Calvary. The president who was scheduled to make his appearance down the avenue around noon, paraded much earlier around 10:30 or so before the final Calvary conclusion at 12 PM. If there is one thing I noticed, which I will take note of for next year, was people who brought their own step stools and ladders to see over the crowd. Living in a rental property, with obviously no ladder included, I was not as prepared to see over 2 million tourists but will be ready for the next one.
After finishing the parade we went home to get ready for the big afternoon into evening celebrations in Champ de Mars. Since there is unfortunately no BBQing with charcoal here like in the US, the “BBQ” was as French as I had hoped. Wine, cheeses, cured meats all on a perfectly placed blankets in the park. I noticed many things about this celebration but one I felt was noticeable, at least to this American, was the subtle presence of celebratory colors during the day. There were flags placed along Champs-Elysees for the parade but not much more than that. Possibly because we were in more of a tourist area or maybe I guess I am just too used to the big 4th of July spectacles in the US.
As we prepared to set up camp in what we knew would an overflowing crowd, I don’t think anyone was truly prepared for how crowded it actually was. Luckily, we had friends who reserved a spot earlier in the center of the grass and thank GOD they did. Just like at any fireworks show there was an enormous crowd but this one was jam packed! I have already learned from this first year to post camp as early as possible on July 14th. Since the symphony starts at 9:30pm leading up to the fireworks at 11 pm, I would now suggest to grab a spot hopefully next time no later than 5pm.
There were good and bad points about being in the 7th on July 14th. Most of the restaurants even the more expensive ones, had pre-made baguette sandwich and quick bite stands outside for 5 to 9 euro. In addition, even restaurants that normally have only a few tables outside had tables set out flowing into the middle of the street to accommodate the packed crowds.
Another thing I noted is, if you plan on bringing beverages, buy early. It is understandable why the city would do this but for a place that lets anyone drink in the streets, take any bottle with them and drink 24 hours, I was surprised how strict they were on alcoholic beverages. The 7th is highly controlled on July 14th restricting any establishment from selling to-go alcohol after 5pm. If you want to bring alcohol to Champ de Mars, which normally always allows beverages, don’t do it if you arrive late. Policeman are checking bags and confiscating bottles should you come past 8:30 PM.
As we sat in our thankfully well designated central location, we enjoyed the lively park atmosphere before the sympathy started. At 9:30 PM no matter where you were, you began to hear the loud and strong percussions among the speakers throughout the park. Big screens made it possible for those in the back half to see the musicians and no matter what, every location was the perfect location once 11 PM hit.
Around 10:55 PM, the crowd began to stand as everyone sang the French national anthem harmoniously while gazing at the tower’s normal sparkles in all it’s glory but then….. darkness. The crowd cheers as all the lights of the tower shut off and a few glows resembling candles, light at the first floor of the tower, then the second floor. The candle like lights continue as the symphony plays a very low, dark melody. As the lights start rising up the tower then the first fireworks begin. They are low and only white but enough to get the crowd energized as if we are watching the entire story of the French Revolution play out through the lights of the Eiffel Tower.
Preparing my camera for the first big bang and attempt to snap photos over all 5 million iphones, I was ready for the loud spectacle when it went silent again.The music went low and as the symphony created anticipation for the next display of lights, we focused on a spotlight beaming out of the middle of the tower. My friend yells, “Oh my God, do you see there is a guy swinging and running in the middle, do you see?” “What?” I had not noticed an acrobat swinging from the middle of the Eiffel Tower and all I could think was one, he is absolutely crazy and two, ok Paris, you have officially outdone yourself. Acrobats swinging in the middle of the tower during a fireworks show? Thank you for making this spectacle better than I had hoped for.
Once the spotlight went down the music got louder and red fireworks started shooting out the sides of the tower top to bottom, perfectly timed with the music. I think I might have swallowed a million bugs in pure jaw dropping aw. As the show continued each song had different colored themed fireworks and the one that really got me was when they played John Lennon’s Imagine with rainbow colored fireworks. The entire crowd sang harmoniously to every word, swaying back and forth creating a very peaceful moment. If only John Lennon could have only seen that moment, people of different races, sexualities, from all over the world ,together as one, in harmony.
I didn’t want it to end. It was the best 45 minutes I have had in Paris and as my friends and I gathered together, smiling and gasping about the most amazing fireworks show we have ever seen, we were all reminded how lucky we are to be here.
The fireworks show at the Eiffel Tower was truly a representation of my dreams coming true. Though starting out as a small flame, it slowing grew into something bigger eventually becoming the full colored display I had always hoped it would. I had dreamed since the first moment I walked through Champ de Mars park, that one day I would be one of the runners on the dirt path under the trees. That I would be able to walk through Champ De Mars any time I wanted to set up a picnic because that was my “backyard”. Every morning now when I run under the trees I always hoped I would, I say hello to the Eiffel Tower and say thank you. I am thankful that you gave me something to work hard towards and gave me a reason to take risks. I am grateful everyday, that I never gave up when it got so bad and never gave up on fulfilling my dreams. Seeing your dreams become reality it something that everyone should experience. Whether big or small, once it happens it is even better than you could have imagined.
Here are a few more photos from 2014’s La Fete Nationale fireworks display. If you went to this years celebrations or celebrations around the world, I would love to hear about them! I hope all of you can experience this amazing show once and enjoy it just as much as I did.
It is no mystery why Paris is the City of Light’s. From Montmartre to the Eiffel Tower, the city light’s illuminate every magnificent piece of Parisian history until the morning hours, offering night owl’s plenty of all night adventures. Though filled with beauty and brilliance during the day, the city truly shines when the night time lights come on and sun goes down.Preparing us for the glamorous evening ahead.
The Paris nightlife is always open. Fabulous clubs, 24 hour restaurants and lively bars, there is always something going on. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can find a party to attend until sunrise the next morning. This means though, you have to also find an all night outfit that can keep up with you. Ensuring when you leave the club and head towards the 6:00am metro, you still look good at the end of the night.
This week’s Tuesday Paris Street Fashion prepares you to shine for the night out on the town among the city’s glamorous lights. I found that leather pants are a hot item among women who though during the day kept it simple, are ready to party until the sunrise once the night comes around. If there is one thing I have learned about living in Paris, there is always time to go out and enjoy the nightlife.
Paris Essential: Leather Pants
City of Lights: 79.00 euro
July is the month of proud and revolutionary holidays. As the USA commences their independence on July 4th, France prepares for their proudest and most celebrated holiday on July 14th, Bastille Day (English) or La Fete Nationale (French) This French national holiday has been so gloriously celebrated in France since the 1700’s, that it has created festivities all over the world.
Bastille Day is the celebration commemorating the beginning of the French Revolution on July 14th, 1789 and the Fete de la Federation on July 14th, 1790. The history of the Storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, was the take over of the Bastille prison by French revolutionist in central Paris. The prison which represented the overpowering monarchy and absolutism, was raided by the revolutionists primarily for take over of ammunition and freeing of the 7 prisoners inside. This bloody capture of what was a symbol of the king’s power lead to the revolution and eventually the republic of France.
The Fete de la Federation was the first celebration on the one year anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille and the uniting of the French nation. The original celebration which lasted four days lead to the modern day celebration we are thrilled to be enjoying today, La Fete Nationale.
Now, in 2014, Paris has a lot to celebrate and I plan on being apart of every single moment! As I have celebrated Bastille Day several times in the US, I beyond thrilled to finally be experiencing this amazing tradition at the source. So, what are the plans and where are the places to feel the greatest experience? The answer is everywhere! However, if you are a first timer like myself, there are some essentials you have to do your first year celebrating on French territory.
There are events kicking off the weekend all over the city but as a first timer, here are the “must dos” to truly turn your traditional Bastille Day into La Fete Nationale.
Friday, July 11th
Le Festival Soirs d’ete Ou. These free concerts on Republique square beginning Friday night at 9pm is a great way to get your weekend started. Live and high energy band from all over France will have you ready to celebrate all weekend long. Grab a beer and some amazing food from one of the street vendors before heading over for great music and a great crowd. www.sortiraparis.com
Saturday, July 12th
Paris Cinema Festival. Enjoy the last day of the Paris film festival this Saturday for the all evening films across Paris. There are several films been shown starting at 5pm at Gaumont Opera theater but the main closing film will be the 1965 classic, Paris Seen by…… at 10:30pm. The film will be shown at the outdoor theater at Les Berges but as the weather is supposed to be pretty chilly and wet, check the website for further information. www.pariscinema.org
Sunday, July 13th
Les Bal des Pompiers. No matter what every bar and club will be party central this Sunday but if you are a first time you must attend one of the traditional Fireman’s Ball. Every fire station in Paris opens their doors to the public for a larger than life celebration. Though entrance is free, donations are greatly appreciated for this party that is nothing less than an all night Parisian extravaganza. Dancing, great food, drinks and some even with a fireman strip tease….um, yes please, will have you out till the wee hours of the morning! Each arrondissement hosts their own ball and for a full list of locations, here is the Visitor’s bureau website. www.en.parisinfo.com
Monday, July 14th
Military Parade. The holiday officially begins with the oldest military parade in Europe since 1880, giving honor to the revolutionist who led France to victory. The parade begins 9am in Champs-Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde, concluding with the entrance of the President of the French Republic around noon.
Afterwards, enjoy an afternoon picnic or tour around the city before heading over to see the concert at Champ de Mars. The night begins with a live symphony at 9pm leading into the grand fireworks display at 11pm. Though the weather is schedule this year to not be firework friendly, still plan on an enormous crowd and heading to the park as early as possible. Otherwise, grab a high point or even a rooftop to enjoy the glorious spectacle over the Eiffel Tower that represents this incredible national holiday.