Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day. Well, sort of. It was Bastille Day, a National Holiday in France. Bastille Day is like our celebration of Independence Day in the states. It is the beginning of a new form of government. Centuries ago when France was ruled by kings and queens, people weren’t happy with the decisions dictated by these royalties. These royalties had a prison called Bastille used to imprison those who were against them. Then on July 14, 1789, a majority of French citizens stormed the Bastille. From that day on, France celebrates the storming of Bastille as the beginning of the French Revolution: freedom to make their own decisions.
For the celebration we had been waiting for, the fireworks had set off on the top of the Grand Theatre of Provence at 10 pm.
Afterwards we walked over to the main strip of Cours Mirabeau to see what was jamming. On our walk there, we heard and followed loud music blasting in the direction of the main strip. When we got to the source, loud speakers in front of a bar instigated a party. People were dancing and having a good time.
At the beginning of Cours Mirabeau, a DJ played a Zumba song. People of all ages were dancing. We witnessed an older man dancing with a younger lady. It was great a sight.
At the end of the strip, a live performance had the crowd’s attention. We ended up spending the whole night there to watch the performances that were sung in French. The first performance we caught was disco. Performers were dancing and singing to “Staying Alive”.
We soon realized after the disco performances that all performances were themed because the following were of Walt Disney themes.
Films proceeded after Walt Disney: Godfather, a Clint Eastwood movie, Pulp Fiction.
Lastly there was a singing competition of French songs versus American songs. A couple of the big American songs were “I Will Always Love You” and “My Heart Will Go On”.
It was great to have experienced this cultural event with the locals, and we were surprised that being their Independence Day, American cinema and songs were a highlight of their performances. It was interesting to see that and to observe how different the performances were from the states. One example, some of the dancers danced topless on the stage and it wasn’t a big deal being that it was also a family event. On the other hand, that would never happen in the states.
We had a great time and had waited all day to see what events were going to occur for Bastille Day. We had heard Paris puts on a big firework show near the Eiffel Tower, but we didn’t know what to expect for Aix. But, voila — we were part of the celebration. I’m glad we got to celebrate “Independence Day”.