This morning we headed down to the Champs-Élysées to get a glimpse of the Bastille Day parade. This isn't like the Fourth of July; there aren't any high school marching bands, baton twirlers, floats, or dancers. Instead what you get is a giant show of military might. The reviewing stand was set up on the Place de la Concorde and we were at the opposite end so mostly what we saw was the staging of the heavy equipment: tanks, jeeps, and the like. We did catch a glimpse of Sarkozy, standing on a jeep with the head of the armed forces, just behind the band of trumpeters on horseback in their ceremonial uniforms. And it was impossible to miss the flyover. We worked our way back home in time to see the rest of the parade on TV. UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon was on hand for the festivities and UN forces in blue helmets were the first on the parade route. The grand finale and apparently a first for the 14th of July was the performance of seven parachutists carrying the flags of France, the EU and the UN who landed right in front of the VIPs. Nice work and some very cool aerial shots of Paris.
We're thinking about heading out again this evening to see if we can catch a glimpse of the fireworks without getting crushed by the crowds.
Tanks and jeeps staged in front of the Arc de Triomphe. In addition to the French flag, you can also see the flag of the European Union since Sarkozy is president of the EU for the next six months.
Heavy artillery on the Champs-Élysées
Here they come!
There they go.
Photo credit goes to my husband whose pictures turned out way better than mine.