Light On the Edge of the Clouds

Le Cou de Geol

Bastille Day Preview and Other Stuff

by Ric Erickson

Issue 2.27:- Metropole Paris - Monday, 7. July 1997:- Last week was a literal wash-out. As the man said, you can take just so many photos of rain-glistening streets and wet reflections off chrome and windows. If I hadn't been on this Metropole job, I would have bought a week's movie pass and a jumbo popcorn and said to hell with it.

Ah, it wasn't that bad; I'm just giving you a Paris gripe; pretty much the same as we were giving each other last week. Last night's weather forecast calls for a clear-up today and rising temperatures.

This is the prediction for the entire week; but I don't like those sneaky clouds TV-weather showed for next weekend - these have a habit of 'advancing' themselves. Call it crummy weather creep-back.

Enough moaning! I was helping out on another job - which you'll hear about someday - and I got worn out by the damp and the cold; and my last chance to go out got scrubbed by local circumstances which are completely uninteresting.

Mark Bastille Day on Your Calendars

It is important to do this if you intend to help Parisians celebrate their 'Fête Nationale' because on one hand it is taken very seriously, and on the other, it is so familiar to everyone here, that nobody mentions it in advance.

I like a good party as well as the next person - I do live in France after all - but I have never been a serious Bastille Day bash-goer. Metropole reader Mike Harmon writes about his Bastille Telerama Summer Special Day experiences in this issue. I asked him to do it because I showed up on the wrong day once too but I don't want to admit it.

Télérama, normally a TV-guide, puts out a good summer special edition.

This is all explained - sort of - in this week's Careful Planning Needed for Bastille Day feature. In many cases, local residents can be pretty laid back about going to Bastille Day parties because they are right in the neighborhood where you live - or close by.

So, you can say, you don't want to go to all the trouble of getting to the Champ de Mars for the fireworks, and just walk over to your local firehall instead. Takes no great advance planning. But if you are a visitor, there may be no signs or posters around, and you are not going to be reading Le Parisien next Friday or Saturday, so you are not going to know what is going on, or where, or when.

Paris is a 'street party' town and there are a lot of them all the time. I'm trying to remember back a dozen years and I can't come up with a 'Fête Nationale' memory though. Maybe I can, and it is not the New Year's Eve memory I seem to remember it being; and I have been on other all-night street affairs - and they are sort of jumbled up.

The Trocadéro fireworks I have seen from the Champ de Mars and it is good fun and the huge crowd was good-natured as I recall. After it was over, it was a bit eerie to be walking with ten of thousands of shadowy people towards the nearest métros or cars parked somewhere in other arrondissements.

As a 'Web Reporter for Paris' I have been to the firemen's ball - the one in the rue Blanche - and I recall it being very good-natured as well. I kept expecting the alarm bells to go off and see the firemen disappear, leaving us poor civilians to pour our own beers. I sat with the chiefs for a while and I wondered if they weren't getting a bit over-tired, but no alarms sounded so I didn't get a chance to find out.

A local firemen's ball last year in a municipal parking lot was not nearly so interesting even if they had brought a couple of firetrucks with them - and their music wasn't as good as the disco in the 9th, even if it was 'live.' I think they ran out of beer too; or was it sausages?

To People Who Carry Big Things On Their Backs:

Last week on the métro I was sitting in a seat next to a mom and her daughter was sitting opposite her, next to the aisle. The car was fairly crowded and a young lady with a huge, red, backpack was standing right behind the girl.

Besides having the very large baggage, I could tell the young lady was a visitor as she was bending down a bit to see the station signs Lido - Champs-Elysees as we came into them. She sort of made for the doors a couple of times before she decided Etoile was were she was getting off.

These are not backpack people; these are people who forgot their umbrellas.

A lot of people were getting off there and half as many were trying to get on. The young lady moved forward, and the girl on the opposite seat, her head snapped back, against the chrome back-seat hand-bar. I couldn't see exactly how, but her pony-tail had got itself attached to the young lady's backpac.


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