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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bastille Day Celebrations on the Champs Elysees

A few photos from the daytime Bastille Day celebrations along the Champs Elysees in Paris. As usual, the French put on a great show. The crowds lined the streets for miles (or kilometers if you prefer), so you had to get there early to be able to see anything. Unfortunately, getting there early isn't one of our strong suits. :)

The Quai d'Orsay, in front of the Assemblé Nationale, was swarming with platoons, each in a different ceremonial uniform.  Some were from different countries, but many were French.  I never figured out why there are so many different uniforms.  I guess they are various different honor guards.

Another platoon, but these were feeding into the Champs Élysées from a side street.  President Hollande has spent billions deploying the French military all over north Africa and the middle east fighting against Islamic extremists.  ISIS/ISIL has declared France a major enemy, and called for sympathetic fanatics to attack inside France wherever possible.  On the other hand, hundreds of French citizens, mostly radicalized Muslims (even young women) have crossed into Syria to fight for ISIS.  But that's a whole other story.  On with the pictures. 

It's Bastille Day, so they stormed the Bastille, right?  :)  Well, not exactly.  People were so desperate to see the parade, which was lined with crowds ten deep every inch of the course, that they risked life and limb trying to get a view.  This little escapade was brought to an abrupt end about a minute after I took these photos, when a French policeman approached and used his most authoritative tone to speak an internationally recognized word:  "HEY!!!!"  That was all it took to send them scampering back down the gates. 

At least there were a few things you could see even if you weren't on the front row of the parade sidelines.  French stealth fighters were one of several groups of military planes that did flyovers. 

There were quite a few mounted brigades in the procession. They look pretty cool in their ceremonial uniforms. 

Jennifer got this great one.  Concentration.

The best flyover, with colored smoke painting the sky with the French flag.  Red, white, and blue!

It's about as patriotic an event as there can be, and the French are just as patriotic as us Americans.  I never really thought about that until living here.  The French really love their country!  

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