Since I was 10 years old and we moved to Dana Point, my traditional 4th of July has been composed of the following activities:
- On the third of July, we decorate the golf cart with American flags, red, white, and blue streamers, and American flag pinwheels.
- We wake up early on the 4th, and participate in the neighborhood 4th of July parade, wearing Holiday themed clothes and accessories (even my dog participates; he has an American flag bandana).
- After lunch, we all head down to the beach. This is where the drinking begins.
- We BBQ for dinner, and have a bonfire.
- Around 9:30pm, fireworks go off over the ocean.
- And as I’ve gotten older, my friends and I have stayed later and later at the beach, continuing the drinking bit.
So far, I’ve only experienced one Bastille Day here in France, and it looked nothing like a 4th of July.
- There is no civilian parade. The military has a parade in Paris, and apparently has one in Lille also, but even FBF who has lived here his whole life didn’t know about the one in Lille.
- Nobody wears holiday appropriate clothing. I didn’t see anybody wearing blue white and red.
- There were no parties organized among friends to spend the national holiday at a picnic or the beach or at a BBQ, just drinking and enjoying each other’s company.
FBF and I invited La Soeur and her beau over for dinner here, and I did my best to make it theme appropriate – we had champagne cocktails and vegetarian croque monseiurs for dinner.
The only thing that these two National Holidays have in common, in my limited experience, is fireworks, even if you have to wait until 11pm for it to be dark enough to light them in le Nord.
And boy oh boy did the city of Lille outdo itself with its gorgeous fireworks display.
Joyeux 14 Julliet (complete with des coeurs (hearts))!
Although it was a completely different experience from what I'm used to on American soil, I still very much enjoyed Bastille Day. What's not to like about standing hand in hand with FBF while watching fireworks light up the sky?