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“Dancing, Kissing and Partying à La Bastille”

We worried about the weather, but now it looks as if Bastille Day is going to be a sunny and warm setting for what is likely to turn into an extravaganza. It would almost have been better if the weather would be cloudy, cool or a little rainy to deter the crowds from filling the “casernes” (fires stations) during tonight’s “Bals des Pompiers” and packing the grass on the Champs de Mars for tomorrow night’s fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. But no, luck has it that the weather will likely be quite stunning for both.

Normally you would find me with friends at the station on rue de Sevigné in the Marais, which proves to be year after year, a total blast. It’s a gorgeous venue in three beautiful courtyards with two or three bands going and lots of beer and wine flowing. The line to enter starts early and everyone is accommodated, but get there early to flow in from the onset. The entry fee is nominal — I can’t recall how much, but somewhere in the 5 or 6 euro range which entitles you to a drink and lots of flirtation with the handsome hunky young firemen.

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Parler Paris Nouvellettre® continued…

Tonight, however, I’m trying out another one — the caserne in Montmartre on rue Carpeaux that boasts of being the first in Paris to hold the ball in 1937! Tonight there will be a parade from the Mairie of the 18th (City Hall) landing at the caserne for a performance by a singing group and then dancing until the wee hours of the morn plus a host of other activities.

Ladies, put on your sexiest party clothes and be prepared to kiss the firemen (traditional!) and guys, better make sure your dancing shoes are on your feet to keep up an all night pace! If you didn’t have your fill of the balls tonight, you can get more tomorrow night at many of the stations!

For a list of all the Bals des Pompiers, visit
And to learn more about the activities in Montmartre, visit

In addition to the balls, there will also be two stages set up at Place de la Bastille for music all evening. One stage will be featuring rock groups Tony Marlow at 8:15 p.m., Jim Murple Memorial at 9:30 p.m. and Java at 11 p.m. On the other stage world groups Migrating Fellows All Stars will be on at 8 p.m., the Orquestra Do Fuba at 9 p.m. and Damily at 10:30 p.m. Also, roaming batucada and percussion concerts by Tarace Boulba will be performing at 8:40 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Tomorrow is yet another whirlwind of fun. In the morning, there will be a military parade down the Champs Elysées, this year joined by 450 Indian soldiers, as guests of honor. It all starts at 10:30 a.m. with an air show of 100 planes beginning at 10:45 a.m. I can see them fly overhead from my Marais windows and the parade will be broadcast on TV if you want to be an armchair traveler.

At 7 p.m., legendary singer/performer Johnny Hallyday will be giving a free concert on the Champ de Mars. That means going early to get a place on the grass! And then at 11:45 p.m., the fireworks begin celebrating the Grande Dame’s 120 years. Métro stations nearby will be closed as of 6 p.m. so be prepared to walk or bike, if not motor to and from the area. (Remind me to tell you about the time I walked home alone from the Champ de Mars carrying all the paraphernalia from the picnic, which took three hours, arriving at 4 a.m. more exhausted than I’ve ever been in my life.)

Don’t expect to get good phone reception while hundreds of thousands of people are trying to get on the same network, so if you want to find friends, pick a spot to meet and wear a bright color so you can be more easily spotted. It’s a test, like “Where’s Waldo” that can be very challenging, indeed.

Note — the police may be checking for wine in your picnic basket, so if you want to bring something alcoholic, disguise it in a colored soda bottle (works every time!). And by all means, have fun!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Sadly I am missing my own mother’s 92nd birthday, today. Born on a Friday, the 13th, her long existence as healthy and vibrant as she is proves it’s a lucky number and a lucky day. Happy Birthday, Gertrude. May you live to be at least 100.

P.P.S. Thirteen is how many shares are being sold of “Le Palace des Vosges,” our Fractional Ownership two-bedroom apartment on the Place des Vosges. There are only two shares left at the starting price and the apartment is nearing completion of its luxurious renovation, fit for ‘Marie Antoinette.’ Soon you’ll be hearing more about it in greater detail, but if you’re interested in being one of the first to have your four-week share, visit or email Mary Ellen Gallagher at [email protected]

And to learn about all our Fractional Ownership properties, visit /frenchproperty/fractional


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