Sunday, July 14

I enjoy La Fête National, the big military parade down the Champs Élysées and the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower.

La Fête Nationale. Défilé militaire, L'avenue des Champs-Élysées, et feu d'artifice, Le Champ de Mars.

Bastille Day. Military parade, the Champs Élysées, and fireworks, the Champ de Mars.

Sorry that it was impossible to get any shots of the actual parade. Way too many people and limited visibility. But I did get a few nice pictures. If you like the word's best dress uniforms ever, or horses, don't miss the pictures.

Decided to go up to the Champ de Mars by the Eiffel Tower tonight for the fireworks. That's the traditional spot. The fireworks are shot from the Trocadéro across the river. I'll probably leave around 9 and stroll around and people watch until the show at 11. They're running special late métro trains tonight.

The journey to Rond-Point to watch the parade was almost as interesting as the parade itself. All the métro stations on the Champs Élysées were closed for the event. So I got off at Châtelet and walked the rest of the way. It was a journey of wonder and awe. Not my Paris at all, something on a different planet.

I saw several very expensive black cars pull up in front of ritzy stores with chauffeurs and very rich people in the back. Not my life.

Passed by the US embassy with the stars and stripes flying. Felt proud. Couldn't take a good picture because it was too far away beyond the barricades.

La Samaritaine, one of Paris' famous grands magasins.

On rue de Rivoli just past the Louvre, at the southern end of the Tuileries. At this point all the roads were blocked save for a single path, with policeman at every barricaded intersection directing the crowds.

Every girl needs a basic little black dress, right? And what a deal, marked down from 1484€ to only 568€. Thats $742.

Would you like some shoes to go with that, Madam?

Gucci.

Dior.

Emporio Armani.

Prada.

Hermes.

Cartier.

Givenchy.

With the herd. Are we there yet, Mommy?

At our destination at last.

Waiting with the crowd for the parade to start. The day was perfect - warm but not hot, with not a cloud in the pure blue sky. You can see the tip of the Eiffel Tower in the background, across the river.

There were crowds like this all up and down the long Champs Élysées.

A jet flyover down the entire length of the Champs Élysées, at very low level, right over my head. Awesome. There were about 10 separate flights to kick off the parade.

Friendly police keeping order and chatting with the crowd

La Guarde Républicaine waiting for orders to mount up, chatting with the crowd and letting the kids pet the horses.

The order to put on their helmets.

Mount horses!

Swords drawn, leaving to join the parade.

In a park eating lunch after the parade.

A handsome soldier talking to a woman after the parade.

Came home on the métro, on the most crowded subway car I've ever been on.

Tanks in the parade down the Champs Élysées. (Newspaper photo)

I could see practically nothing of this from within the crowd. But the people watching was more fun anyway.

François Holland, president of the republic, reviewing the troops. (Newspaper photo)

Today's treat from the pâtisserie is a "But de Chocolat".

It's not really a cake. It's mostly chocolate mousse, with a few thin layers of chocolate praline crunchiness. Terribly good though. You really can't go wrong in one of these pâtisseries. Just pick anything that looks good, and it will be.

Found a good spot on the grass on the Champ de Mars. Waiting for it to get dark and the show to begin. The people in front of me that you can see in the foreground of the picture were from Chicago.

The tower lights up! When they play La Marseillaise, we'll know the show's about to start. Another hour or so to go.

It's nearly impossible to take photos of fireworks with an iPhone. But here's the best out of about 50. Pretty bad, but it will have to do.

Heading for the métro with a few other people after the show.

Pas de problème. Crowded, oui. But a young lady offered me her seat, and I took it because I needed it. Tired. Staying up until after midnight is not my métier! Took a cat nap while waiting for fireworks to start in fact, flat on back on grass looking up through tree at Paris sky as night fell. Nice.