On July 14th I spooned with hundreds of people, and it was not the sexy kind of spooning, either.
After the Bastille celebration in Paris, crowds were forced into into a small street corner entering the single functioning Metro for the evening. We were sardined, stuffed, and breathing each other’s wine and fromage breath. We were let go in groups of about a hundred at a time. When my friends and I finally made it through we ran on the opposite direction of the Metro, which steps were quickly covered in hurried stomps for the next possible cart. A cart that was just another chance to spoon with yet more hoards of people on your way home.
No, Reader, we were not feeling a sense of adventure at that point. We were tired twenty-something year old ladies trying to get away from the fresh hands of the men in the crowd. We bolted into a sushi restaurant, just in time to see a girl having a panic attack outside of the restaurant. Some people, including my broken French self, decided to try and help her by getting some water. The manager brought out a champagne glass with tap water — quite French– if you ask me. I didn’t check after that, but hoped she was okay. It was simply madness, Reader. Absolute madness!
The show before the Metro-drama, on the other hand, was absolutely spectacular. We had some wine, cheese, and baguette on the grass and when the music began to beat—so did our dancing feet. The Tour d’Eiffel lit up the sky and reflected the smile on our faces. We were in Paris, and we were going to see them celebrate their independence day. Amazing. The fireworks went on and on and for days! We were enjoying every second of it. They played disco music all night (the theme for the celebration) and the other Americans I’m traveling with (and I) boogied on the grass. I guess boogying is a crime when not everyone around you is doing it, but after some time people let loose and danced with each other.
The atmosphere, well, it had its ups and downs. I am still getting used to the French people. After reading much of their history, I can see why their culture is so particular about who they let into their lives. I read somewhere, friends are hard to make, but if you do they usually last a lifetime. Watching the Bastille celebration unfold showed me the pride this country has in celebrating their spectacular history. The fireworks seemed to stand in for centuries of repression unleashed through their revolution. Bread for everyone!
You should add this to your bucket list, Reader. Even if it gets this crowded, just find a cafe to dwell in after the celebration and chill for a couple of hours before going home. At least you’ll have a bathroom and some good company. In the ned, being in France is like being in love. You have to accept the good, the bad, and the ugly. Once you do—you will see true love for the first time, and never let it go.