Subject: Re: Bastille Day in Paris
Hi Paul and other Ziners,

Last year we were in Paris for Bastille Day. We enjoyed the parade and enjoyed a free concert. We waited for fireworks but somehow they didn't materialise although we were not the only ones waiting.

It seemed hard to get information about what was happening. The hotel desk was not much help and even my parents who were staying at the Crillon did not seem to get reliable information from their concierge!

Public transport was much more crowded and the metro was not running to and from the parade. The crowds are obviously much more than we are used to in Australia but we are also used to our authorities predicting the needs for public events and ensuring the public infrastructure will cope. The French seemed to shrug their shoulders and just shut things down.

The French also seemed less egalitarian than I was used to. We met some authoritarian figure who was making way through the crowd with a baton and white gloves for some VIPs. We had police making us wait sur la trottoir (on the footpath) for ages until the presidential calvacade had passed - the President did wave and smile at me personally very nicely!

It was worth it but it did seem a hassle. You need to be feeling calm, have good walking shoes, and be prepared for a lot of misinformation about such elementary things as when the parade starts.

Our military forces are nothing like the French so it was pretty eye-opening to see all that hardware. Then there were the gorgeous uniforms ...

We drove into Paris on the 13th. Many many Parisians were leaving and the highway was not coping - the traffic was at a standstill for at least 30 km. Coming in was fine.

Other than the public transport problems and some streets around the parade being closed, we had few problems. Restaurants were open. The Louvre was free - better to go another day ...

Regards Anne Canberra, Australia