July in France was an incredible month.
There were three major highlights:
- My Birthday – July 5
- Bastile Day – July 14
- France wins the world cup- July 15
On top of that I did over 30 tours, so do not hold it against me that it has taken a little while to get this edition out. However, I promise it is worth the wait.
For my birthday, I decided to take a few days off and go explore a new part of France. I went down to the South of France, visiting the cities of Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Cassis.
I drove through lavender fields, went up to the top of a mountain, sailed on the Mediterranean, and walked an ancient palace. It had always been a dream of mine to see the lavender fields of Provence, turns out that this year the first few weeks of July were the peak of the season. You could smell the lavender before you could see the vast sea of purple.
The seaside city of Cassis stole the show. It is a small beach town just tucked into a cove. Surrounded by cliffs on either side, these ancient volcanic rocks created the lagoon with crystal clear water. The highlight was driving to the top of the cliffs and watching the sunset over the city.
Bastille Day is July 14th and it celebrates the storming of the Bastille Fortress in Paris, the event that sparks the French Revolution of 1789. There were vast rumors that the prisoners inside were those with revolutionary ideas and that they were being treated abysmally. The people rose up, stormed the prison, only to find about 6 aristocrats essentially under house arrest for gambling debts. Either way, they managed to free all the gun powder and weapons held by the prison, thus arming the Revolutionaries. In France, this event is known as la Fête Nationale and is celebrated by massive fireworks over the Eiffel tower.
The next day, July 15th, was the final game in the World Cup, France verse Croatia. The entire city stopped to watch the game. There was not a car on the road, not a person on the sidewalks. Every bar was jammed packed, the city set up a screen under the Eiffel Tower and 90,000 people cheered on France. When they won, the city exploded. People were crying, screaming, hugging, drinks went everywhere. Every street was full of celebration. But the place to be was the Champs Elysee. So I made my way from the little bar I was watching the game at and made the pilgrimage with the rest of Paris towards the Arc de Triomphe. Words can never describe the feeling in the city that day. My pictures can only give a glimpse into the excitement felt by anyone who is lucky enough to call themselves a Parisian. Champions du Monde!!!!
July was a packed month, August should be a bit more quiet. Paris is currently like a ghost town. All the Parisians leave the city in the month of August. It is their time of year for vacation, which means the trains are less crowded but my favorite boulangerie is closed. Only people left here are the tourists and those who guide them around, AKA me! I have started doing a few new tours in August, an in depth look at those next week!