Sunday, 17 July 2011

La Cite Ablaze - Carcassonne 2011 on Bastille Day

OK I know the next post was supposed to be of the Tour De France arriving in Lavaur, so what happened? It rained that is what happened, July in the South of France and it rained. Couldn't believe it and to be honest standing on the side of the road in the rain in July, even for the Tour De France, when we normally have gorgeous sunshine just didn't seem like a good idea.

So instead we waited 24 hours, out came the sun again, and off we went to Carcassonne for the Bastille Day celebrations and a look at the amazing fireworks display where 'La Cite Ablaze' is reenacted as the centre piece of the Bastille fireworks celebration. Fortunately I remembered to take my video camera with me so I could record proceedings but unfortunately I forgot to check if it was fully charged.

Still I got pretty much all I needed to, the exception being about the last 10 seconds. The display starts a little sedately and then builds to this huge crescendo of pyrotechnics which only a video recording can even attempt to capture. So stick with it and even with the last 10 seconds or so missing, I am pretty sure you will not be disappointed. Look out for the people standing in the middle of the River Aude about half way through. Or actually you can have a look at the blurry photograph below, the camera didn't really like the dark, but it at least shows the lengths some people will go to for a great view of proceedings.

These are a few tips for the night. If you can, avoid the town centre as a parking place, otherwise you might find yourself waiting a couple of hours to get out of the city and on your way home. The best option is to look for a parking space on the route into the city and turn your car around so you are pointing in the direction you want to go. A 20 minute walk can potentially save you hours of sitting in a traffic jam trying to get home.

Try and get to your viewpoint about an hour before the display starts otherwise you may spend the whole display looking at the back of someones head, a large white van or perhaps the side of a bridge. Of course you could stand in the river like the young ones in the photograph, but that does play havoc with your suede shoes.

Lots of people head into the city centre after the fireworks and you will find some form of entertainment going on in all the main squares, either a disco or a band and the bars and restaurants will be offering lots of tasty food and drinks. The party only really starts once the fireworks have finished, well unless you are getting a bit long in the tooth, when a swift beer and the way home are the order of the day.

The battery did recover sufficiently enough for me to add a few seconds of the mass exodus from the river bank and a little bit of the celebrations starting up in the Place Carnot, but after that it really was a case of being as dead as a dodo. Ah well, maybe next year, all I need is about another 30 seconds worth to tack onto this years effort and I will be done. It's not easy this blogging lark you know, hope you appreciate it :-)

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