It is known and remembered worldwide that last 14th July or Bastille Day (major national holiday in France) celebrations have been marred by the terrorist attack in Nice which costed 86 additional deaths of people and hundreds of injured.
How to think that the shiny and festive day would end up in such a fatal way?
It’s not possible to know how the relatives manage the losses in their hearts.
What I know is that the sorrow was present in everyday life and the unexpressed question was “why?”
On a personal level the day had the exceptional meaning of my first national holiday in my new country and my presence in such a significant event filled me with great anticipation.
I felt very happy of having the opportunity to watch the celebrations and parades (in the morning) at Champs Elysees which was later open for the pedestrians and at Place de la Concorde. In the evening (night in fact) it was time for the fireworks in front of Eiffel Tower.
Both costed me a lot of walking, searching, waiting, standing, sitting on the ground, being hungry and thirsty (as I had not yet experience in having food with me) and an incredible squeezing among indescribable crowd – most of the above are not my best.
Nevertheless, the joy and the happiness of the celebrations could not be expressed after the tragedy, out of respect for the victims and the national mourning.
Therefore, all photos and impressions of that day were kept in my archive.
The time passed and the life goes on.
Passing of time offers softening of emotions so I find that it’s time to show pictures and share impressions of that truly magnificent event.
Many hours before the event, people have started to gather both near the Tower but also at the opposite side at Trocadero, which is located on a higher level and offers view to Champs de Mars.
All cafe and restaurants were full while others offered special menus in low prices. I took advantage of the delicious pasta in an italian trattoria, where the chef was preparing the dish outside the restaurant.
The spectacle of that night is, even at this moment after almost seven months, beyond words – and that is said by a “word person”!
Though I keep up a relation of “love-hate” with fireworks because of the noise and therefore I went to the place under a state of reserve as much as expectation, the result surprised me several times – I must declare that I adore pleasant surprises which, unfortunately, do not come easily.
I heard myself wondering: “What else would they do/ produce?”
And then: “They have done miracles! That’s it!”
And then again, several times: “What have they thought/ imagined/ invented the guys?!!”
Eiffel Tower changed colours and dimensions while fireworks blew their sparks and shapes all around.
And the surprise (and joy) kept on and on.
Yes, at some point and on impulse, I exclaimed my surprise, wonder and admiration shouting aaaaaah!! and clapping hands, together with the hundreds of thousands of people who had gathered that night near and around Eiffel Tower. Even the couple of Germans who were behind me expressed their admiration and – I think – Germans are more strict than others in expressing feelings. 🙂
There are moments when a person who watches something excellent and wants to capture it, wonders which is best:
To watch and imprint into the heart or to take photos?
It is easier to answer if you are a professional photographer and you earn your living from that.
If you are a Japanese, on the other hand, you are “destined” to take photos no matter what.
For the common people, it is a hard decision.
The spectacular show of fireworks captured eyes as much as it urged to imprint it – out of desire to watch and remember or of will to share or maybe an ambition to show off, it depends!
At the end of the day, and that means after midnight (I hope that my memory does not deceive me) as the spectacle started an hour before, the crowd had to leave the place.
At this point and sometime before that, I have to say that, being in the very front line of the limits for the crowd I noticed urge and unrest among the policemen who watched the place.
A higher in rank than the others, judging from his appearance, policeman communicated in a rather intense way with some of his colleagues.
At that moment I thought that it meant the stand-by they should keep, view to the end of the spectacle.
After the bad news of the next day I decoded that as, probably, the alert deriving from the information from Nice. I can’t be sure at all.
Yet, the drama of Nice was unfolding at about that same time……
Nevertheless, after the end of the unforgettable show, all the thousands of people (they seemed like millions) walked peacefully towards the nearest metro station and – judging from myself – all reached safely their destination.
The 14th July 2016 in Paris was a debut and though stained by the tragic attack, I hope it will be followed by many happy and unclouded others in which I shall be present, admire and enjoy together with loved ones and visitors.
Enjoy, admire and come to Paris next July if it is your dream!
Photos, Videos: EliP©