Thursday, July 15, 2010

Paris defeats The Dougwoods, 3 - 1

We came home last night feeling defeated and beaten. Bastille Day is not all is cracked up to be. If people say that Europe is too packed in Summer, then you can only imagine putting all of those people in one place. But it wasn't just the people... we have realised that the French dont know how to party and can't plan an event. I'll try not to be too negative. Adam thinks we need to wait days for the hindsight effect to kick in.. but here it is in truth.

Tuesday night (13th), Quentin our apartment owner, told us that it may be noisy all night as the celebrations kick off the night before Bastille Day. We went down to the concert near our house and it ended at around 10pm. Ha, can't party. But we'll forgive them - maybe tomorrow will be huge.

Wednesday morning (yesterday) we were up bright and early to head to the big parade on the Champs Elysees, the one you see on TV where the planes fly over with red, white and blue behind them. It apparently started at 10am, so we got there at 9.30. The street was absolutely lined with all of the army force of france, tanks, jeeps, etc. But they just sat there.. for about an hour. Then the planes flew over. And then nothing. Maybe one of the jeeps moved. It was incredibly boring. THEN the heavens opened up and we all got drenched. I'm talking 'just showered in your clothes' kind of wet. Maybe this was a blessing... coz it meant we left. Score 1 to Paris.

We had coffee, went home to dry off and watched Forrest Gump in the sanctuary of our apartment. There was nothing else to do as the rain was too heavy.

Later in the arvo we decided to check out the Louvre. There was a sign up saying that because of national day, it wouldnt be open late (would close at 6pm) but 'could close anytime we want for any reason we decide'. Weird. You guessed it... Closed - Second score for Paris.
But we did get some pics..

We walked what felt like 25km to the Eiffel Tower where we met our friends for the Fireworks. Walked another 5km to try buy wine and finally succeeded. This is where we score. We got a good spot on the grass, drank wine, played Uno and the sky remained clear (well, dry at least) while we sat there for 4 hours before the fireworks started. It was really fun. (Though I'll add there was no entertainment or music for the 200,000 people there - see, they cant plan a party!!!). The fireworks went for about 40 minutes and were pretty spectacular, paired with some fun french tunes. The wine was good, the crowd was happy and we felt pretty lucky to be standing there.
But...just to take the shine off the night, the Paris gods decided to f*ck with us a little more.
Ok.. one would think that on a night like this, plans would be made to block streets off, run public transport, maybe have some police directing people where to go. Hell, even after a little crows match in Adelaide there are buses galore to move people out. But there was nothing.
We headed for the closest metro, like everyone else. I dont know how to describe the next bit. I dont think I've ever been in a crowd so large. Cheeks squashed against shoulders and people crushed together so tight you cant even move your hand to put it over your bag.. but you're still being pushed from behind. In front of you, cars are lined up all down the road (who the hell didnt close the road???) so the mass of people is squeezing between cars and motorbikes. Being pushed but with nowhere to go. It was like a third world country. Most of the tube stations were LOCKED so we just kept walking. We walked for 2 hours. We found a metro station and think we got the last train. People were running for it, so we can only assume. Even then, the ticket box was locked so we had to jump the barriers and sneak in. Score 3 to f*ckin Paris.

It was hell. We came home and couldnt even speak to each other. We fell into bed in utter dismay.

Bastille Day in Paris may sound fun. But really the celebration is not nearly exciting enough to make up for the head f*ck.

Paris, you would want to make things up to us today. You really need to redeem yourself if you dont want to go down as worst leg of the trip.

Hopefully back later with a more positive update.

(looking at the pics, we probably sound like spoiled whingers coz it looks pretty good!! It was a tough day. We swear.)

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