Bastille Day Google Banner ~ July 14, 2011
July 14th—Bastille Day in France— a day to celebrate the 1789 storming of the Bastille, the Paris prison and overbearing symbol of the despotic and arbitrary power of Louis the XVI’s regime. The people had had enough of the old ways and jumped on the chance to abolish the monarchy. They wanted power to originate with the people and to be limited by a separation of powers. Sound familiar? As the colonies in America had triumphed with this same issue a couple of decades before, I guess the French were paying attention and asked, pour quoi pas nous aussi? (Why not us, too?) Today, countries around the world are catching the bug—demanding their freedom and participation in their government.
Le Tricolore- Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity
Tour Perret in the Daytime
Many of the French people we know have headed off for leurs vacances (their vacations) as we also are prone to do in America around Independence Day. Grenoble cafés were populated, but they were not overflowing. We met Steve’s colleague and friend, Alan, an Irishman and Alan’s friend for a drink before heading to Parc Mistral where the Ville de Grenoble would sponsor a fireworks show. We weren’t sure exactly what a French fireworks display, le feu d’artifice, would be like having been accustomed to American 4th of July shoot-offs, but we witnessed an impressive exhibition that was appreciated by the thousands of people who joined us in the park. When the fireworks began, it was fairly run of the mill until we realized the fireworks were also being launched from INSIDE the le tour Perret (the Perret Tower)—at first, I thought the tower was on fire!—which was built in 1925 for the International Hydroelectric Power and Tourism Exhibition, but it has been deemed unsafe to enter since the 1960s. The tower has just become like a favorite chair that even though you can’t afford to fix, you still can’t bear to part with it. Interestingly, there was a band who played before and during the extravaganza, and though I was unable to determine exactly who they were, we’re convinced they were Americans playing 1960s music á la Jerry Lee Lewis. Everyone was dancing to a crowd favorite—Route 66!
For a YouTube video of American music in France at Parc Mistral—can you see the tower in the video? click here. Different from our Duke 4th of July celebrations, but not bad!
The weather has become wonderful now. No rain and no humidity for the moment… not sure we are ready for the North Carolina summer… but it won’t be long now.
Moon over Parc Mistral
Fireworks au tour Perret ~ Grenoble