Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Memories of Bastille Day

A good few years ago in the French embassy for Bastille Day
Back in Brittany, the 14th of July falls around the same time as a traditional festival taking place in my town, so we usually celebrate our local culture more than the French revolution, and this means I have celebrated Bastille Day a lot more in Ireland than in France. 

The French Embassy used to send invitations to all French residents for the yearly party. Sometimes it was in the afternoon, sometimes in the evening, but as the Ambassador changed nearly every year, the event was always different.

One thing didn't change though. There was always plenty of alcohol and French food; well, if you arrived early of course. Put a bunch of French people around wine, Camembert and baguettes and you're in for a fight...

The great thing about the Embassy party was the atmosphere. It was never the same from year to year and that was made it truly unique.

About 10 or 11 years ago, the Ambassador decided it would be a great idea to have a "Rave party" in the garden of the French residence. After all, it was one of his last days, and all I can say is that he left in style!  The atmosphere was electric, everybody was dancing to the beats of the DJ, and I have never seen so many people attending the event since. That's probably because the party went on for a good part of the night and the neighbouring embassies inevitably complained about the noise. I think it was the last year they put on a party in the evening. I wonder why...

But my fondest memory of all is the 14th of July 2007.

We had friends who worked in the consulate so  after the "official" reception we were also invited to a barbecue at one of the gendarmes house on the grounds of the French residence.
Some military from the French Navy were also invited to the reception and we got to talk quite a lot because they were from Brittany (of course!). Once all the guests were gone, we decided to make our way to the barbecue, but at the same moment, the Ambassador's wife came out.
I'm not gonna lie in saying she was a bit drunk, but anyway, she invited us inside the residence and offered a round of Champagne. Then, she sat at the piano and started playing, accompanied by all the Navy military singing French folkloric songs. After a 20 minutes "private concert", we were gently shown the door, but I will never forget that surreal experience!

Sometimes celebrating your national day outside of your birth country is far more eventful than doing it at home... What do you think?

Share your stories :-)