Wow what a wild night! We decided to venture out for what we believed and turned out to be, one of the greatest fireworks shows on earth. We planned the spot arrived hours early and prepared ourselves for camping out, French style: sipping Champagne in the park.
Then came the people . . . and more people. By the time the fireworks were ready to begin we were fearing for our safety. No Joke. At one point the police drove 8 blue vans with a motorcycle in the lead though the crowd of thousands, displacing people willy nilly. These shots are before it got crowded!
The French themselves are incredibly tolerant and peaceful. I applaud them and after observing them tolerate people stepping on their belongings, toes and fingers multiple times I was amazed that the only time a fellow got riled was when a rude youth almost stepped on his child rather than go around. I on the other hand was another story. I am not sure where the feeling of invasion of personal space comes from but I seem to suffer from it rather badly. It was not the French locals causing such issues but the large groups of people whose culture seems to know no personal boundaries. They thought that was ok to push, shove, lean and generally make themselves at home on my lap. When I mentioned that I would enjoy a wee bit more elbow room they seemed really put out. I therefore clarified myself a bit and the issue seemed to resolve itself. Then the little gypsy child tried to run off with the backpack that I was standing on. Sneaky little so and so . . . Oh and then this happened . . . ??
This guy was making a delivery amongst 1000’s of people packed so tight it took him 5 minutes to pass in front of us ha ha ha.
Later back at the Tower the music began and the show started in earnest. All was put aside as the singing and general merrymaking began. There was a part of me that cried out,” God, just get it over with, start the bloody fireworks already so we can all go home!” Then they did start and while holding my belongings securely and being incredibly spacially aware with Darla in tow, I had the incredible pleasure of enjoying a display of music, enthusiastic singing, light and pyrotechnics incorporating the iconic Tour Eiffel to an amazing effect. Just cool, I kept thinking how cool is this?!?
The show ended and the crowd slowly parted as we stood still just waiting for the space to breathe again. Eventually we said goodbye to the neighbors we liked 😉 and made our way down the street.
We stopped a block or so away to take a picture for Darla’s mom and then continued on a bit more.
It was then I looked back and saw a large plume of smoke rising in front of the tower and wondered what was on fire. I took this picture and left it at that till we got home. Turned out a fireworks truck accidentally caught fire.
My final rant: I am glad we did it. I am glad we got to experience the whole thing but I will never put us in that situation again. I felt that way even before we heard the news about Nice. We were so vulnerable there. We endeavor never to be in a situation where we could be victimized and this was undeniably that. The police are woefully ill equipped to deal with these kinds of events. It is and should be our responsibility to care for our own safety. We will not be exposing ourselves to this kind of situation again.