Sorry for the interruption in posting, I was in San Francisco for the weekend!
Now, back to (serious) business:
Day 8, aka July 14, was the main reason we stayed in Paris for so long. If you're not super familiar with foreign holidays (like me usually :), July 14 is Bastille Day in France. Since I missed the 4th of July being in Armenia and everything, we thought that it would be fun to participate in another country's patriotic celebrations!
We started out the morning by going to the grand army parade down Champ Elysees. It started at the Arc de Triomphe, so we obviously took the photo op.
What ISN'T shown in these photos was the super long amount of time we had to wait for the parade to start! We knew the French weren't the most well-known for timeliness, but they were seriously behind schedule. Basically we stared at the backside of some tanks for like 2 hours. At least we had a great spot to take pictures...
Current President of France, Françoise Hollande. Way closer than I've ever been to see my own President!
Lots of military things. If I was a boy, this would probably be awesome.
Cute French ambulance and fire trucks!
After a bunch of cars (no people parading, but it WAS a pretty big street they'd have to walk down!) there were a lots of helicopters and awesome fast planes that zoomed over the Arc down Champ Elysees.
These planes were obviously the coolest, since they left the French flag behind them in the sky. Yeah, good luck doing that with the American flag...
Yeah, we got tired of waiting....
Me + the Arc
So then we thought that it might be fun to go to the Louvre again, since we really wanted to spend more time there and it's free on Bastille Day. But obviously, everyone in the entire city of Paris has the same idea, so the line was INSANELY long, and we just decided to take a couple photos.
And then go out for lunch.
The restaurant we went to was called Les Temps des Cerises, or the time of cherries. It was a small little bistro kind of out of the way, which was nice after being around all the crowds that morning!
I ordered scallops wrapped in bacon atop risotto. Um yeah, it was totally as good as it sounds!! And Owen got some of the best steak we've ever had, with this scrumptious gorgonzola sauce.
We finished the meal off with some St. Marcellin cheese that was served with a cherry compote and olive oil and nuts. It was so good. This was probably our favorite meal of the trip!
I think we did a little shopping afterwards and walked around a little bit which is not pictured, because I can assure you that we did not go straight to buy ice cream after that meal. It was at least an hour :)
Berthillon has quite a line and a reputation, which were both well deserved! My only disappointment was that we only got ice cream here once! So yummy. Also so overpriced. But so yummy. And you think it's a bummer because their "two scoops" is really two small scoops, but the flavors are so intense, that you really don't need any more ice cream! It's very satisfying. I got scoops of rhubarb and pineapple-basil ice cream.
And even more enjoyable when you get to eat it while sitting along the Seine! Such a pretty, historical, and awesome river.
The ice cream shop was on the smaller island in the middle of the Seine, so we enjoyed walking around the island after that.
Once again, I swear we did more than eat, but after Berthillon, we decided to make our way to the Eiffel Tower to get ready for the fireworks show that night. We had packed a picnic to eat, but saw a little candy stand on our street, and thought it might be fun to have some candy to snack on while we waited for many hours. We just got a little bag of it, as you can see Owen scooping in the photo above, some peach rings and sour gummy worms and such, and it cost NINE EUROS! It was ridiculous! We didn't even get that much, and we were spending more than ten dollars on candy! Of course we had mixed a bunch of flavors, so it's not like we could put it back, and we totally felt like sucker tourists! Oh well. You gotta have a few of those, right? So avoid candy stands in Paris!
By time we got to the tower, there was definitely a good amount of people there, all sitting around Champ de Mars. We tried to find people who looked like they had kids and weren't smokers to sit by! Non-smoking is definitely a tough standard to find in this city.
But the people we sat by were all really nice, and one guy had even spent a little time in the States, so we chatted about France vs US and it was pretty fun.
The sky was just so pretty that night behind the tower! Plus they had a little (actually, huge) French flag in the tower for the holiday, which was fun.
And then it started to get dark...
They had a pre-fireworks concert that was totally awesome. It was so funny and different than the US, because they played all these classical pieces and songs from operas, which I can't really see them doing here...But we loved it! And everyone around us knew all the songs!
There would be more, except by camera card ran out of space! I was so bummed!
Getting home after the show was INSANE. It was actually kind of freaky when we were leaving Champ de Mars, since there were so many people all heading in one uniform direction under the golden lights of the city. It actually was exactly like how I picture a zombie apocalypse would be like. So that was freaky. But it turned out that way more metro stations were closed than they posted online, so we had to walk all the way home, and a lot of streets were closed for the fireworks as well, so we had to take a super long way back.
Afterwards, we actually mapped out the route we took to get home, and it was 5.77 miles! I know that's not a lot, but at 1 in the morning in a mysterious and dark city where you don't speak the language and there are people partying and peeing on the streets, it was pretty nuts! We are just so grateful we made it home safe and didn't get mugged or anything. We finally made it home around 2:30, and were exhausted! But how many times do you get to see fireworks out of the Eiffel Tower, right??