Tag Archives: bastille day

July 14 ~ Happy Bastille Day!


Are you lucky enough to be in Paris this weekend?

Bastille Day is right around the corner, on July 14th! It’s a serious affair, even in Paris, there’s plenty to do to celebrate the holiday. Many businesses are closed, so you’re best off just to enjoy the holiday!

Did you know? Most French call Bastille Day merely “Le Quatorze Juillet” or “La fête nationale française”!

Bal des Pompiers. Legendary parties thrown by firefighters will light up nightlife Saturday and Sunday. The party is one of the wildest in town, so if it’s your scene, prep for long lines and some gentle shoving. Dancing fireman and nonstop DJ are well worth the wait. From 9pm to 4am.

Military Parade. The ceremony starts just after 9AM and launches down the historic Champs-Elysees. The day’s festivities are complete with military vehicles, aircraft, and military personnel including the French Foreign Legion.

Free Ballet. Head to the Opera Garnier for tickets to the year’s free ballet, “Signes.” The show is choreographed by Carolyn Carlson, director of the Atelier de Paris, and features dancers from the Paris Opera. The show starts at 2:30PM.

Free Art. The price of the Louvre drops to €0. Worth heading there early or very late in the evening to avoid the crowds.

Picnic at Versailles. Festivities run at Versailles as well. A communal picnic around the Grand Canal awaits you. Regional specialties are on the menu, but you’re welcome to bring your own food. Music and festivities animate the Canal’s banks. The only condition is to wear white!

Fireworks. Head to the Eiffel Tower at 11pm for some breathtaking fireworks set to music. Remember, nearby metro stations are mostly closed, so prepare for a hike or grab a view from one of Paris’ famous bridges. Also earlier in the day at the Eiffel is a concert by the French National Orhcestra and the Radio France Choir.

Festival Paris Quartier d’été. Every year performers take to the streets for a variety of dancers, shows, theatres and circuses in the open air all over Paris.

Enjoy the festivities! Missed Bastille Day in Paris this year but want to make it for next year? Call Wittravel, your local travel agents, for professional and knowledgeable travel counseling. We can arrange private French guides who will make your trip à Paris unique and memorable!

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Seattle Trip Report

This week we are reporting on WIT agent Wailana’s trip up to Seattle mid-July to view Celebrity and Disney cruise ships. Today we take a look at her impressions of Seatown herself.

Seattle Trip Report: By Wailana

Seattle seems to thrive on its tourism—Pike Place, the main shopping area, feels like your wandering through a carnival. You can find gourmet marmalade, freshly fried fish, bubble tea, piroshky and 1930s art deco advertisements of Morocco. On hot days, expect to see DVD-tooting magicians and jugglers spinning plates.

photo by Rafael Amado Deras

I departed from Salmon and 6th, downtown Portland, on the Bolt Bus. I rate the quality of ride similar to Amtrak’s—leather seats, electrical outlets, free wi-fi. A month in advance ticket cost around 8$, a week in advance $14. Purchase when boarding was $25. Future expansion of routes expect this Fall—to Bellingham and Eugene. Took about 3h30 to arrive in Chinatown, Seattle—just next to Union train station.

I arrived around seven o’clock in Chinatown, hungry. I checked in at the Belltown Inn, great location on Third, decent rooms for a brief stay. The free bike rental was a plus. Ask for a courtyard room, because it can get quite loud due to all the buses. Why Seattle insists having most of its buses on just one street I will never know.

Transport is pretty manageable downtown—if you are keeping to the main sights, the downtown bus is free 6am to 7pm or you can walk everywhere.

I first hit up Pike Brewery, the downstairs brewery just off of the market, with glossy, wooden counters. They had a sweet raspberry lambic served in a traditional flute glass and an IPA. The crowd here was mostly businessmen and tourists. Colors were bold and gaudy, hops were stuffed in glass cases—it was like drinking in a Planet Hollywood.

On the main corner of the market, I can recommend two places everyone must hit up—the crumpet shop and the piroshky shop. Crumpets are warm biscuits served with everything from pesto to honey butter to nutella. There were dozens of kinds of piroshkies, onion and beef, Bavarian custard, grilled chicken, polish sausage—all stuffed into crispy phyllo dough.

photo by WK

I felt more at home on Capitol Hill; though it has grown up a bit, it still maintains of laid-back, comfortable atmosphere. Streets are lined with thrift shops, eateries with gray and weathered window shutters, hipster-run cafes and bookshops. I spent one morning in Elliot Bay Books, nibbling at my latte and lemon curd muffin while buried in a Jan Morris travelogue. Not far walk from here is Elysian brewing—Greek pantheon-themed beer in love with its hops. I had the Perseus Porter.

Saturday was Bastille Day, and that evening down in one of the postalleys Café Campagne dressed up in all her tricolor finest. There were French jazz musicians—bassists, guitarists, accordionists—and two costumed ladies who danced the high-step to Piaf’s La Vie En Rose. A young Japanese-American girl was passing out brie and pear baguettes in a sailor dress and beret, and tightly vested hostesses were dispersing rosés and cabernets.

Of course, I was in Seattle to tour both Celebrity’s Infinity and Disney’s Wonder, two impressive cruise ships, and the Pacific Science Center’s exhibition on King Tut. Tune in next time to hear about them! In the meantime, check out my trip photos here.

Willamette Intl Travel can recommend great hotels, activities, and sights for your trip to Seattle. Call us for details at 800.821.0401 or email wailanak@wittravel.com.

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Filed under North America, The Pacific Northwest, Travel by Bus, USA, Washington, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?