Tuesday, July 14, 2009

La Fête Nationale à Poissy

This year for Bastille Day, Gaby and I decided to avoid the crowds of Paris and stay in Poissy. After all, the town had its very own fireworks show over the Seine, just down the street from our apartment. (We're rather lazy these days.) The old bridge was blocked off to pedestrians several days in advance for security purposes. I watched all day as workers raked up leaves and bits of trash and mowed the park lawn in preparation for the crowds.

I spent the early evening making fried chicken, cutting watermelon and making fresh-squeezed lemonade, food and drink that I associate with the American "fête nationale." Gaby, his mom and I walked on over to the park not too long before the fireworks were to start and were still able to find a good spot to sit right next to the Seine. To our left, small children were shooting off Black Cats and jumping jacks. To our right, a family was taking turns lighting roman candles. I couldn't keep from grinning. It felt just like the 4th of July, a holiday that I've missed far too often in recent years.

At sunset, they signaled the beginning of the show with lights on the old bridge.

A barge from which the fireworks were to be shot moved slowly down the river to position itself just to the left of the audience. And then the show began with the music of movies dealing with astronomy and space exploration, Poissy's town theme this year. As an American, I think I found it especially comforting to watch really spectacular fireworks set to the familiar scores of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and E.T. It was a nice little remedy to any pangs of homesickness.

(Sorry for the lack of pictures--I was too busy watching the show to take any more!! I'll try to add some of Monique's shots later.)