So, it was now Sunday in Paris, and this Sunday just happened to be July 14th, Bastille day. Bastille day is a national holiday in Paris and boy is it busy. There is a giant Military parade that we were going to see right after a quick stop at the Eiffel Tower, or so we thought. John being the good-natured soul that he is, decided to go for a run and get to the Eiffel tower ahead of time to get tickets and avoid the line. It was only open until noon due to the holiday but the only problem was that he was unable to buy tickets for us ahead of time at the gate. Luckily there was no line, so he basically just went for a nice hungover run haha.
When Jess, Leigh and I arrived we met up with a sweaty and tired John who was waiting on the sidelines for us. We promptly got our tickets and started up the 1710 steps to the top… well not really because you are only able to climb to the first floor, but rest assured we crushed it! John and I are both afraid of heights so it was a fun experience and I was even able to stand on the glass floor, John was not. After a tour of the top and an elevator ride holding John’s hand it was time to rush down and catch the parade.
We discovered that we got the time wrong and completely missed the parade when we were walking against a sea of people wondering why they were all leaving. We decided to try and continue for a few blocks and got to see a lot of the military might parked which was very cool. There was a lot of police and army presence for security and they were stopping all pedestrians at one point and sending the crowed the other way. We later found out that it was due to the French spirit of revolution and protest and some dumpsters were lit on fire.
With protests on the mind and revolution in the body we made our way to the meeting point for the palace of Versailles. This is where the famed Louis the 14th resided and spent a crazy amount of money to build, all while his people were starving. The Size of the palace was very impressive, more impressive though were the gardens. We had a guided tour which was okay, but it was unfortunately very hard to hear our guide. After a few hours and some great picture opportunities it was time to get back on the bus and get ready for one of the biggest fireworks display I have ever seen.
After the impressive Eifel Tower fireworks display that we were able to see even though we were a great distance away on the river we wanted to go to the fireman’s ball. This is a giant party where a bunch of fire stations open their doors to the public and essentially turn into a bar. Well in typical squad fashion we went to the closed fire station to find out that it was the previous day. Also, in typical squad fashion we made some lemonade when given some lemons and found a busy bar district. Here we danced and had some drinks at a few different bars but decided to end the night after witnessing what we were told was an altercation involving a diplomat. When a giant security guard tells your best friend to open his phone to ensure there was no pictures or videos of said altercation then you smile and nod…. Especially knowing that it was backed up on the cloud haha.
Our last day in Paris was excellent with a tour of the Louvre, which jess was feeling a bit under the weather for, the Arc de Triomphe, and discovering that Paris had a great transit system that we only used once. That night was bittersweet as we walked past the Notre Dame Cathédrale seeing all the damage that the fire had caused. Knowing it was our last night in Paris, but our flight was early, we had a light dinner and some euchre because up next was Amsterdam…