Joyeuse Fête Nationale! Today marks the day when the revolutionary forces stormed the Bastille prison and symbolises the demise of the French monarchy. Celebration have already got in full swing. I started the party last night because who doesn't like to make the most of a three day weekend?
Last night a few friends and I took part in a fantastic Bastille Day tradition: the bal des pompiers. What is this I hear you ask? Every year the fire stations open their doors for a big party full of dancing, drinking and general frivolity. We ended up at the party in the 3rd arrondissement but they have them all over Paris and France. Dancing the night away with reasonably priced wine, we were showered with red, white and blue confetti that I'm still finding around my flat!
According to an article I read earlier today said that today is the happiest day of the year. I have a funny feeling that all the partying in la belle France might have something to do with that. Last night was a fabulous demonstration of the strong sense of community you feel when living in France. Citizens, young and old, were out dancing in the streets just letting their hair down and having fun. It is real testament to a city that has dealt with so much in the last few years that they can still have such amazing events without being scared of what might happen in reaction to previous events. It was a big deal for me to go to such a well attended event as quite often big crowds especially at night can trigger my panic attacks. Do you know what? I didn't even feel nervous once and I can truly say that Paris has helped me get to this point in my recovery. So, when I'm singing the Marseillaise on the Champ de Mars tonight it is with strong emotion in my heart that I celebrate a country that means so much to me.