Galloping with the horses along the Parisian rues and avenues

Galloping throughout the Parisian streets, trying to outrun the horses, my pink sneaker clad feet were on a sprint like no other.  Trapped in a quagmire of cheering Parisians, screeching kids, regal horses and men in uniform, I could only hope and pray that there would be an alternate escape route that would eventually guide me to freedom.  All of the major rues and avenues had been blocked off, security was on full alert and police cars were the only vehicles within visible radar.  Yikes!! What on earth was going on?  All of the inhabitants of the City of Lights were out and about, anxiously lined up for what seemed to be an event of monumental proportions.

It was not yet 10:30am on a leisurely Sunday summer’s morn and it was as if pandemonium had struck while I had been sequestered on a bus en route from the airport, having dropped the Kid off for her overseas flight home.  When I had left le dreaded apartment at the crack of dawn, the city was still in slumber mode, languishing in a state of sleepy contentedness, offering not a glint of a hint as to what type of controlled chaos was about to unfold.

Clueless as to what all of the brouhaha was about, I was none too worried at first, as I would be safely nestled in my new Parisian hotel by noon, snug as a bug in a rug, in a state of delicious cat napping mode for the next hour or two.  But, alas, that was clearly not meant to be, as it took me the rest of the day to finally place my pink sneakered foot inside my new pad.  What would normally be perhaps an hour or two long trek to le Rive Gauche, was now instead an arduous and grueling adventure by way of cordoned off streets, blocked exit routes and a cavalry of horses parading regally along the boulevards.

Stranded somewhere within the vicinity of the Opera House, I had planned to lazily stroll along the avenues, scoot across Les Champs-Elysées and meander along the Seine until I reached my new home away from home.  A totally do-able and fabulous plan, that is, if you’re not planning on sauntering and meandering out and about on one of the most celebrated of French national holidays. Yikes!!  What had I gotten myself into?

Police and gendarmes seemed to have quite literally swarmed upon the capital, camera crews and radio vans were positioned about, and the sense that something colossal was in the works permeated the atmosphere.  What the heck was going on?  And then it dawned on me - it was Bastille Day, or la Fete Nationale and the celebration of the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, which ushered in the French Revolution, and which was now in full-blown processional swing.

Puzzled that the barricaded streets were barren and devoid of vehicles, I still hadn’t clued in as to the magnitude of the festivities, with the shutting down of Les Champs-Elysées for the arrival of the French president and his military arcade.  Darting up and down the garrisoned avenues, my pink sneaker clad feet were reluctantly turned back, politely told that this or that particular rue was temporarily closed, locked down until the end of the parade and festivities, some several hours from now.  You’re kidding, right?

Not one to argue with the French military, I thought, well, surely there must be some way to get from Point A to Point B and how difficult can it possibly be to find an alternate route to get across town.  Map in hand, seasoned traveller that I am, I rationalized that if I can’t walk to my hotel, then I’ll just have to fork out a couple of extra Euros for the luxury of a taxi ride to wisk me to my destination.  Easier said than done, as not only were pedestrians barred from accessing the majority of the streets, so were the cabs!  And so the hunt for that lone taxicab took on larger than life magnitude, my desperate attempt to flag down such a vehicle quite the daunting task indeed.  Veering further and further away from Les Champs-Elysées, I was by now almost in Montmartre, and miles and miles away from the hope of arriving at my hotel anytime before sunset.  Yikes!!

What now? Well, dear reader, not to bore you with the mundane details of my frantic sprint along the rues and avenues, but let’s just say, my poor aching tootsies had no choice but to dejectedly traipse along the boulevards in search of a park bench to rest up in anticipation of the next leg of my journey.

And that is how I ended up in the midst of an ever-growing crowd of curious spectators, cheering Parisians and military personal, finding myself smack dab in the heart of one of France’s most celebrated of holidays, enthusiastically hooting, hollering and reveling with the best of them.

As, after all, being such the Parisian wanna-be, it somehow seemed appropriate that I partake of the festivities and experience for myself the magnitude of the day’s events.

And, last but not least, the proud men resplendent in their decorated uniforms were quite the pleasing eye candy indeed– ahhhh Paris – just another joyous fete in la ville de la joie de vivre

Come scamper along the deserted rues and avenues with me, as all routes somehow collectively conspire and lead one towards the direction of La Fete Nationale, a celebration of France’s most glorious of holidays.

Next week – still stuck in the park along Les Champs-Elysées or do my pink-sneaker clad feet eventually end up in le fabulous hotel, on le Rive Gauche?  Stay tuned!!

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