(Video at the end)
With metaphorical rose-tinted glasses, heart full, and dizzy with excitement from all the traveling, I stepped off German territory on to the familiar Air France Boeing 777 to Paris for one of the most amazing experiences of my life. One that, in my book, notes as a Wonder of the World. In France, it is known as La Fête Nationale Française. To American’s this is Bastille Day; France’s “Fourth of July.”
City of Light
For the second time in my young life, I was en voyage to the City of Light, once just a hazy day-dream of a little 8 year-old girl. A few years ago, I jetted off during my junior year of college to study French language, art history, architecture and fashion; and for six months I immersed myself in the captivating culture, carving a path through the city, tasting, socializing and learning everything it had to offer.
This time again, I was unrestrained, but also wanted to be a tourist. Before, I wanted to conform so quickly, to be a faux Parisian. But now? Holding my camera with confidence, I sauntered through Le Marais, Jardin des Tuileries and the winding streets of Paris snapping away at the beauty that becomes so conversely ordinary after months of living, just like many things after a while. For the four days we toured the city, it seemed like I left no corner unturned. Everything I regretted not doing, every restaurant I wished I could have eaten at one last time, every shop wanted to stop in, we did this time around.
Picnic in the Park
After exploring the foreign city entirely the first day, our feet were annihilated with exhaustion. We sat down in a spot at Trocadéro near the Palais de Tokyo where Parisians were gathering like cattle to claim their seat in front of the Eiffel Tower for the firework display that would be occurring within the next five hours. We were content. Riddled with fatigue from the tiring day, we relaxed in the grass exhaustively taking turns napping away the hours of our wandering. When the park became exceedingly congested with bodies, I headed to the nearest Monoprix, gathered the necessities for a Parisian picnic and, until sunset, drank rosé, ate crackers and brie while trying to save our little spot among the overflow of people who started to arrive for the festivities.
There was riffraff, without question, about spots being taken, not enough space, people not being able to see …but as the French would say… “revenons à nos moutons,” “let’s get back to the subject at hand…,” the show.
A Sparkling Night
The fireworks began and all I could do was stand and stare. The music was lively and enthralling, fireworks were shooting out every direction in the sky. Then, like clock-work, about 10-15 minutes into the show, the world slowed for a moment. The hazy smoke from the previous fireworks softened and A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay began playing while sparklers spiraled down the sides and golden, shimmering strands of fire delicately began pouring out of the Eiffel Tower like a bucket of glitter. Whether a native Parisian, or a tourist… everyone figuratively placed their rose-tinted glasses on and were fully consumed in the romanticized version of what you would imagine Paris to be…whimsically charming and dazzlingly chic.
Tears of happiness flowed down my face as I desperately tested my aching feet to place themselves on my toes attempting to take in every last moment, knowing this would be a blissful memory that would keep me company throughout my lifetime. In my hands, my shopping bags weighed me down and Austin quickly stole them away to let me enjoy this flawless little twinkle in time.
The moment was fleeting and in a blink of an eye, the next song came on and the world spun a little faster.
It was truly a perfect Parisian moment.