Fete Nationale (Bastille Day) in Annecy

July 14 — Bastille Day — in France is just like Guy Fawkes day in the UK: it involves a ridiculous amount of fireworks, entertainment for the kids, a variety of home-fireworks-related injuries, and it has something to do with independence from the French monarchy.

I headed down to Annecy early and managed to go wakeboarding before the festivities began. While we were on the lake, we saw a windsurfer: a rare sight on the calm Lake Annecy.

Before the fireworks began, the kids (including us big ones) were kept entertained with wandering minstrels playing various household items as drums and rollerbladers in crazy outfits, along with fire-throwing clowns and an Indian band with twinkling costumes. The fireworks were the typical mixture of some really brilliant or pretty explosions slotted in between a range of mediocre ones, which leads me to wonder why anyone bothers with the ‘stocking filler’ standard fireworks when they could just do ten minutes of amazing stuff and save everyone about half an hour of staring at a sky filled with the same old same old.

When the fireworks finished, the ‘party’ began. This mostly involved teenagers trying not to take their eyes out while lighting bangers and other small fireworks in amongst a crowd of people watching a band on the makeshift stage in the park by the lake. I took a photo of the band. They sounded like a German Octoberfest band but they looked far cooler with their green laser lights. They even managed to attract some dolphin balloons along to watch. We went for ice cream instead.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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