The Guided Blues

photo: cafes at beaubourg

Beaubourg is mostly closed but nearby cafés
remain popular.

Bastille Day Is Nearer

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 5. July 1999:- As I write this the deadline has passed about seven hours ago. To habitually early readers, my apologies for being late.

After I got back from Paris last Friday I was struck by the idea that I hadn't done a feature article - I had the vague idea of doing one about the André Citroën park - see below - but I wasn't really anxious to try and spin out 800 words about it.

Summer guides had come into my hands in the form of those done by the magazines 'Nova' and 'Télérama.' Quite often readers ask about music, dance and things for kids to do in Paris - and since summer is a time when there might be fewer events, I thought a bit of service on this might be in order.

Programs and guides are nasty and tedious things to do and now I wish I'd done a feature instead. I'd be on time and not so cross-eyed from looking at tiny addresses in minuscule type; pinwheel-eyed from typing hundreds of eight-digit phone numbers.

Now they are done I'm glad I did them. As summerphoto: boulangerie, clichy goes on, I can hack bits off them as they go off their dates. One thing I learned; there is a lot more to do in Paris in the summer than just lie around like a lizard on terraces, especially if the weather is decent.

Light and shadow in Clichy.

Last Friday, with a dubious forecast for the afternoon, we had a stunning summer day, with temperatures around 30. You can see this in some of the photos. The dubious weather showed up late, on Saturday - and that is how it has been: for one day of fine weather we have been getting two or three days of unsettled - and it repeats every three or four days.

The Next Issue: - of this magazine if an 'iffy' thing. I have found an apartment in Paris to move to and the move will be taking place, starting before Bastille Day and continuing after it, for technical reasons. For these and other reasons, there may not be an issue next week - but I would think the week that will get skipped will be the one after; when I am in a sort of limbo between the village where I've lived for 12 years, and the flat in Paris, where I've never lived.

For this reason, I am not saying this is a double-week issue when there is a chance there will be a small issue next week. The week after that may well be a total blank though.

How-To Do Bastille Day Rehash:- it is just a tad over a week off. Below is a rehash of last week's comments for those missed them - to help you avoid showing up for the bash a day late.

Parisians and the French are as used to Bastille Days as their own birthdays so there is no great fuss in advance. A lot of people will do what they've done the year before and the year before that. No need for Le Parisien to mention any events until Monday, 12. July at the earliest. And this, only if there are 'special' events planned.

One thing to get straight, first: the majority of public Bastille Day parties and fêtes take place on the eve of Bastille Day; that is, this year, on Tuesday, 13. July. The fire stations in various quarters will host neighborhood parties, and these will be well-attended by burly firemen.

There will be some big general street affairs - probably one at the Place de la Bastille, maybe another at République; or both. Both of these places are big and can hold a lot of people. If you don't care for large crowds, it is better to avoid them.

Montmartre, with its revolutionary tradition, will also be an area where fêtes may bephoto: reflections chez clement, champs elysees expected. Many bars and cafés throughout Paris will also have their own programs, from elaborate to just having a bash with their regular clients. I imagine many dance clubs will also have special events programmed.

Champs-Elysées reflections by Chez Clement

The official Bastille Day parade takes place on the Champ-Elysées in the morning of Wednesday, 14. July. This will involve a considerable display of military pomp, but is worth watching for unusual features such as the engineers of the Foreign Legion and their beards.

When this hoopla is over, you have the rest of the day free to see soldiers wandering all over Paris, until the official fireworks time of just after sunset. Although the Parvis of Trocadéro is closed, I expect the big fireworks show will be viewable from the Champ de Mars as in past years.

This field in the 7th arrondissement is cluttered up by the Tour Eiffel, but will still hold about a quarter-million sparkler fanciers. A lot of people walk to this event and the hordes of people on the after-dark streets are an event in themselves, one that is eerie and village-like at the same time.

If you want to skip this - or intend to see big fireworks at Versailles or Saint-Germain-en-Laye - some of the fire stations have their neighborhood fêtes on the 14th instead of on the 13th. Generally, there is less of a party on the 14th.

Another factor to consider is that there may be a lot of shops and businesses shut on Monday and Tuesday, to make it into a big 'pont' - bridge - from Sundayphoto: terrace at saint germain to Thursday. Keep in mind also that Bastille Day is a national holiday and this means all museums, monuments, banks, depatment stores and official attractions will be closed.

Terrace cafés at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Continued on page 2...
Go to page : 1 - 2
In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini