I love it when French people start fires in the streets. It happens more than you might think (World Cup finals, political protests, family gatherings). Whenever there’s a proper reason for it, the displays can get pretty fantastic. Chamonix celebrated Bastille Day last evening by setting off fireworks near the town centre, and the result was—as my Brit friend Hutch called it—“proper bling-bling.”
Just about everyone in town was there, oohing and ahhing in front of the Micro Brasserie Chamonix, plus a load of tourists and climbers in the area for the sport climbing world championships. MBC was serving up microbrews and burgers, and a DJ mixed up good crowd-vibe tunes late into the night.
Bastille Day officially celebrates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, which was held on the first anniversary of the 1789 storming of the Bastille. The Bastille was a prison that held a number of political prisoners on suspect terms, and on July 14, a crowd of Parisians stormed it. The Bastille’s gates were opened, and over 100 people were killed in the fighting and its aftermath. The act was an important people’s uprising and is upheld as a symbol of rebellion and independence.
Just a wee bit of history there, but the point is that this holiday is a celebration of freedom—and that’s a beautiful thing.