Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

When the river awakes

Every year, the city of Bordeaux celebrates one of two things. Since 2011 is an odd number year, it was the time for…Fête le Fleuve! On June 18 and 19, the quays of Bordeaux awoke to the call of the river as the celebration began with dances, concerts, and of course, a spectacular firework at the end of both days. It rained a little during the afternoon on Saturday, but thank God the skies were clear the rest of the time, especially during the fireworks!

(If you were wondering, wine is celebrated in even number years, as if you hadn’t already guessed that.)

The great thing about Bordeaux during the summer is its many festivals that fill the city with music and animation; the bad thing is that transit workers tend to strike on those days. Yup, services from 6h30 till 20h00 with a frequency of 10 to 12 minutes per train (20 to 25 minutes on Sunday) certainly didn’t sound very convenient for an event that was supposed to last all night long. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is. Perhaps they want to party as well. This of course makes it difficult for people who live outside the city center to gain access to where most of the activities are, since public transit is rather vital in Bordeaux. I am lucky to be living right in the center of downtown, so Fête le Fleuve was the perfect time for me to get out and immerse fully in the festivities.

The festival was grand. The entire downtown area from Quinconces to la Bourse was filled with people out to enjoy the entry to summer. Never have I seen so many people all at once in Bordeaux before. And never has the Garonne seemed so gorgeous before, so elegant, so OURS.

Welcome to Bordeaux, the beautiful land of wine!

One of the boats, the “Belem”, docked by the river for the festival. Quite a beauty.

The Miroir d’Eau has been drained during the weekend in order for a stage to be put in place for the concerts that took place over the two nights. A tribute to John Williams was played on Saturday night, with themes from movies such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Superman. Too bad I missed most of it.

The crowd at Place de la Bourse. This would be what we call “people mountain people sea” in Chinese. The French certainly love to party, alright!

More crowds…where did all of these people come from!?

The Belem by night, surrounded by an illusive purple-blue that makes it look more majestic than it did under daylight. At 23h30, everyone was anticipating the fireworks!

Coming and going by the Grand Theatre.

While wandering, I stumbled upon this dance group performing by the Grand Theatre. They reminded me of the group that I saw in London, both equally energetic, funny, and passionate about their work. I loved their interaction with the audience – “peace, unity, love, and HAVING FUN!” Heck yeah!

And now for my very favourite part of the festival – fireworks! The unique thing about the fireworks is that they were accompanied by music, which gave the whole show a new type of depth. Saturday night was more classical as soft, orchestrated music was played in the background with narration of poetry, while Sunday night was more dynamic with pop and rock music. The way the styles of music and the fireworks were arranged was perfect! I did prefer the first night, though, with the poetry – it just felt so artistic, so romantic! Here are some firework pictures for your viewing pleasure (first time using the “fireworks” mode on my point-and-shoot).

Short entry, but it gives you an idea of the life as a Bordelais. Two days after the River Festival was the Music Festival, which happened on June 21, the day of summer solstice. I told you the summer festivities don’t end! I’ll write about it next time, until then, ciao!

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