July 14th 2014 Embrasement de Carcassonne

Le quartorze Juillet, the famous July 14th, Bastille Day where over 700,000 people will converge to watch the spectacular firework display 'Embrasement de Carcassonne.  The excitement is palpable as hordes of people start to stream by clutching picnic hampers, all hoping for a coveted spot in which to witness a spectacular display of computer controlled brilliance. Everybody who works in the hospitality business has gone up a notch into 'superdrive'. We are all sleep deprived and anxious that the craziest day of the year will go smoothly.  The evening is perfect,  a clear blue sky with little wind. My guests are late and when they arrive there are more in numbers than the booking. 'We don't mind sleeping four in a bed' they say. I smile so hard that my cheeks hurt and the phone is going constantly with my friends telling me I won't get over the bridge that spans the river Aude as the crowds are thickening. I escape clutching a bottle of beautifully chilled local bubbly, Creménte de Limoux Première Bulle, a surefire way to kick any party into action.

I'm momentarily stunned by the heaving crowds as I exit. Everywhere tables and groups of people staking a spot for arguably one of the best firework displays in Europe.  Bars and restaurants pack the pavements and roads with tables, if there is a window that opens out onto the street someone will be selling something.  Small children slumber in pushchairs, the backs laden with bulging plastic bags whilst their parents laugh, the air filled with amicable chatter.

La Cité awaits us as the evening darkens, the excitement fizzling as people clamber over shadowy rooftops, the castle resplendent, patiently awaiting the moment the skies will be filled with an array of explosives, showering down and cascading over its ancient walls and taking your breath away with the booms that thuds that seem to penetrate right to the core of your heart.  It was spectacular, we all tensed as the final climax worked it's magic. And then it was over for another year, the air still once more, broken only by the cheers, whistles and clapping from the thousands and thousands of people crammed into Carcassonne for those few hours.

But there is just one small observation. People seem obsessed in holding up their phones, their ipads for the whole duration and it's becoming rather a bore as every event you go to you are surrounded by little brightly lit screens hovering high in the air.  And I guess its to record the memory, to watch at a later date. But as someone who seems to have a camera permanently slung over her shoulder I wonder, is it any different ? Well yes, I don't constantly invade and distract other people on what they are focused on and trying to absorb. Why don't people enjoy life as it happens and put their phones down once in a while and let the professionals do the filming ?

Which is why I don't have one single solitary photograph of the firework display.

I was far too busy living.

*Push the 'play button' put to full screen and turn up the volume !!*


Debbie Bennison said…
Nicely written doll!
Frances said…
Sally, I felt the excitement of the glorious evening from your descriptions...no photographs required.


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