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Newer Page 821 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
France Gare Du Nord Eurostar Bastille Day Parade

14 July 2010

It rained on everyones parade

Today is Bastille day, which I have found out is the day some gypsies over ran the French government and destroyed a jail and let all the criminals escape into the city to graffiti it and throw rubbish everywhere. A trend that continues to this day.
Destroying a jail every year to commemorate it started to get expensive, so instead they decided to have a military parade.
Unlike other military parades we might be used to in Australia, Bastille day is not a day to remember soldiers that died in wars, instead its a day to show the world how awesome your military is, dont mess with us! A bit like the may day parades in other parts of the world.
A lot of world leaders and military Generals are invited to watch.
The most impressive thing for me is the flypast of the mainly French jets, over 100 jets flew over in waves, about 10 seconds apart, it must take a lot of work to get them all lined up like that.

I could not get anywhere near the actual parade, theres hundreds of police directing people away from the actual parade route, which was causing a lot of people to get mad, then the planes came about 20 minutes early, it soom became apparent why as a few seconds later there was a torrential downpour.

After the parade I had many hours to kill until it was time to board the Eurostar back to London, I mainly wandered through shops as it was still raining, I also drank a few coffees, and as a result spent at least 5 Euros paying for various public toilets. Amazingly even in department stores they make you pay, even if you have bought something.

The Gard du Nord Eurostar station is an absolute joke.
France needs to fix it, fast. Compared to St Pancras and any airport I have been to, it is 3rd world in comparison. It took a full hour to go through border control, 5 lines fed into 2, and every now and then the idiot french authorities would direct you to another line, one of which ended in a dead end. Its lucky I was an hour early.
Only 1 single bag xray machine is working, the others have dual language hand written signs saying out of order.
There is no air conditioning (by now the sun is shining again, you are in a fishbowl with a glass roof and 5000 people.
There are next to no useful shops, I had to buy a drink from the ice cream store, they had 3 bottles of coke left, I was worried!
Even past security, in the departure lounge, you have to pay to use the toilet. I am not sure everyone agrees with this policy as I am fairly sure people just piss where they feel like it.
It must be a huge embarassment for France, its a lot of peoples final memory of the country, in related news I hear Charles de Gaul airport is the worst in Europe (I havent been there myself).

France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - I thought I was early for the parade, so I wasted time setting up my camera in ridiculous places to produce pictures such as this.

I thought I was early for the parade, so I wasted time setting up my camera in ridiculous places to produce pictures such as this.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Turns out the planes came early, so you get to see some colored smoke.

Turns out the planes came early, so you get to see some colored smoke.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - AWACS and some mirages.

AWACS and some mirages.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Rafale's and a refuelling plane.

Rafale's and a refuelling plane.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Transport planes of some kind, arent you glad I culled the 20 or so shots down to 3?

Transport planes of some kind, arent you glad I culled the 20 or so shots down to 3?


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Then the rain came down, the parade would have been in full march by this point, so everyones funny hats would have been ruined. French military have

Then the rain came down, the parade would have been in full march by this point, so everyones funny hats would have been ruined. French military have wonderful hats, with feathers etc. Some still have Napoleon hats going on.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Never in my trips to Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong etc. Have I been faced with a crouch down toilet thing. France has delivered. No issue for me of

Never in my trips to Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong etc. Have I been faced with a crouch down toilet thing. France has delivered. No issue for me of course, my shoes are wet already from the rain, I am sure any girls reading this might be concerned should they ever visit Paris though.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - After the main parade the various units split off and go to various landmarks in the city and sing songs, these ones are heading to the academy of mus

After the main parade the various units split off and go to various landmarks in the city and sing songs, these ones are heading to the academy of music (I think).


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Not sure who they are but they have guns.

Not sure who they are but they have guns.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - I think this was their destination, an impressive building. I am sure everyones sick of impressive building photos by now, but remember I have 8 hours

I think this was their destination, an impressive building. I am sure everyones sick of impressive building photos by now, but remember I have 8 hours to kill.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - This is inside the galleries de la fayette department store. The roof dome is grand.

This is inside the galleries de la fayette department store. The roof dome is grand.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - I decided to have my lunch there in the cafe, salad bar. Not bad for 4.70 euros I guess.

I decided to have my lunch there in the cafe, salad bar. Not bad for 4.70 euros I guess.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - I think this is the French opera house.

I think this is the French opera house.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Me and my new best friend the duck hung out for a while in this high end store. Please remember how ridiculous I must look setting up my camera on the

Me and my new best friend the duck hung out for a while in this high end store.
Please remember how ridiculous I must look setting up my camera on the timer in the store and then standing still for 10 seconds whilst people wonder what I am doing.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - A bad quality photo of the luxury food store. Its a bit underwhelming compared to the ones in Japan.

A bad quality photo of the luxury food store. Its a bit underwhelming compared to the ones in Japan.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - The spice market part of the store was great though, and smells fantastic.

The spice market part of the store was great though, and smells fantastic.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Tanks from the parade have now turned up in variuos locations.

Tanks from the parade have now turned up in variuos locations.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - Heres Gare du Nord station, I took this photo whilst waiting in line.

Heres Gare du Nord station, I took this photo whilst waiting in line.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - And heres were 5 lines fed into 2 and caused great hilarity. The best part is there are 2 staff directing traffic and they are having a huge argument

And heres were 5 lines fed into 2 and caused great hilarity. The best part is there are 2 staff directing traffic and they are having a huge argument with each other.


France-Gare Du Nord-Eurostar-Bastille Day-Parade - And this is the crowded departure lounge. Theres no spare seats and if you look down the left theres a hundred or so people leaning against the wall.

And this is the crowded departure lounge. Theres no spare seats and if you look down the left theres a hundred or so people leaning against the wall. The only store is the tobacco shop you can see there, theres a pastisserie on the right, but they are sold out, and an ice cream shop where I bought one of the last drinks from.
St Pancras has a supermarket.


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