July 14th dawned sunny and promised to be hot. We had looked forward to the day – Bastille Day is the holiday which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) and commonly le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July). It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the French Republic , during the French Revolution . (Thank you Wikipedia)
We thought that the celebrations would be much like the U.S.’s Fourth of July. Many shops were closed, and our class was not meeting at CUEF . The cafés seemed to be opening later, and there were fewer people around. Our friends, Mirielle, Morgane, and Manon Van Dyck from Cary were going to be stopping by on their way from Provence back to Brussels by car. We decided to check out what happened on Bastille Day and also show them around la vieille ville*. After they arrived we made our way to the Place de Grenette, a big square with a carousel, many restaurants and an area that is “roofed” with about 150 tables underneath. The covering has those misters integrated, so although it was warm, we were quite comfortable as we were being sprayed intermittently during our lunch. All too soon they had to leave to make the 6 hour drive up to Brussels.
As night approached around 9:30 people started making their way down Quai Stephen Jay, the street our apartment overlooks. The line to board the téléphérique to the Bastille was getting longer. The grand fête was going to be celebrated atop the petite montagne fortifiée* with fireworks. The winds started getting stronger and the fireworks started, but had to be cut short for safety reasons. Quel dommage!
la vieille ville: old city
petite montagne fortifiée: little fortified mountain
Quel dommage! : What a shame!