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Day 356: Experience a French Presidential Election!



"Excitement, adventure, a Jedi craves not these things." Hmmm, then I'm not not much of a Jedi because this weekend was jammed packed with excitement, adventure, new experiences, and the anticipation leading up to the results of a historical election. I picked a great weekend to come back!

Aurélien and I were planning to hear the results at Bastille, thinking it was an original idea (I know, how naive) but when we saw the footage of how many people flocked to this symbolic landmark, we decided to tag along with Hélène, her Welsh boyfriend, who is in the same boat as I am (not eligible to vote), and their friends to an art space near Père Lachaise to watch the election on a big screen. Sitting comfortably in the mini theater (where I'm sure during the rest of the year holds performing art shows like Butoh and Spoken Word), while sipping on complimentary boxed red wine and watching the news coverage of the crowds and madness that was ensuing on every street corner, validated our choice to stay low-key. As I get older, my need for comfort gets increasingly more demanding, and being stuffed among thousands of other people on a damp day in Paris has very little appeal on my inner little old lady. Maybe I'm more Jedi than I thought...

The results came in and it should be no surprise that my current company was jazzed that François Hollande will be their new president, but with all elections, there's a large percentage of voters who are extremely unhappy with the results. Fortunately, I was in an area where we got caught up in spirited conversations with perfect strangers, all supporters of le changement. This energy whisked me back to 2008 in Williamsburg when Obama was elected and an impromptu dance party busted out on Bedford Avenue. Regardless of any disappointments and setbacks we've had, along with the endless stream of opinions and criticism during his administration, it was a special time to be in America.

Not wanting to go home yet, Aurélien and I took a stroll through the 12th and the outskirts of Bastille. On Avenue Ledru-Rollin, we found this patriotic little guy, who was more than pleased with the results...either that or he was happy to be out way past his bedtime.



What a little m&m just waiting to be eaten up. 
Too mimi.

I couldn't help but be grateful that the elections didn't take place last year! I can just see myself alone in my little apartment, drunk on rosé, hearing the celebration on the streets of the Marais, and waving my French flag toothpicks in forced jubilation. Tragic. 

Regardless of last night's outcome, I appreciated every second of this cultural experience. I've never been in a country other than my own during a presidential election so you can imagine my enchantment with the entire evening. For one, I was impressed that results came in exactly when they said the would, unlike in the States where we sometimes have to wait until the next day...or the polls make drastic last minute changes. Although I've been here for three years, it's still moments like these that remind me that I still have lots to take in, plenty more to experience and that my next adventure is never far from reach.

18 comments:

  1. 2 things:

    1. Your line about not wanting to be stuffed amongst throngs of people resonates so much with me; as I've gotten older I feel the same way. This past Saturday night a friend and I decided to head to the East Village for drinks, completely and totally forgetting that this weekend was Cinco De Mayo. What a shit show, seriously. Everywhere was packed and too loud, don't get me wrong I enjoy a good party and good music but not when we're pressed together like sardines.

    2. Last night as I was listening to the events unfold via RadioNova and watching it on Reuters LiveStream I couldn't help but imagine little Nicky throwing the biggest temper tantrum of his life while Carla was quietly packing her bags and planning on her next conquest.


    Only a few more weeks until I'm back "home" and I simply cannot wait!

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    1. I guess as we get older we have less patience for crowds. Cinco de Mayo in the States is crazy, but still lots of fun! I wish Paris was a little more festive...but I can understand why it wasn't, given the history.

      What bar did you go to? I used to go to Mexican Radio in NoLita or Benny Burritos in the West Village for Cinco de Mayo.

      The big joke around town is that Carla is going to divorce him now that he is no longer the president. It should be interesting to see what happens...oh the dramz!!

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    2. We ended up at A Casa Fox on Orchard. Was the perfect setting, lively enough but not overbearing and we were able to actually hear and enjoy each other.

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  2. Welcome home chérie! I'm jealous, I was in bed working through the dregs of a hangover, so I missed the celebrations. I was also super impressed, with our system in NZ it is possible not to know for weeks who will be the new government, so I couldn't believe my eyes when they said Hollande right on 8 o'clock!

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    1. Thanks Gwan! It's funny, it seems that a lot of people were hung over on Sunday! You're not the first person to tell me that they weren't involved in the events due to a hangover! Were you Cinco de Mayo-ing? Or was this the day you were with MK? I'm so nosy (read: Italian)!!

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  3. Ditto on the Sarko groupies... Yikes.

    I can relate to the agoraphobia as you get older...;) I too went with friends to a "relatively" quiet place - an Irish pub downtown - to watch the events unfold on several large screens. It was a very exciting moment, but at 20:10, we headed home to watch the rest on tv!;) In a way, save the unveiling at 20:00 sharp, I would have preferred to watch the whole thing in the comfort of my living room and hear the analyses... besides, the excitement was not the same in The Hague;) I did, however, experience World Cup 2006 in Paris(what a moment!) and World Cup 2010 in The Hague (the Dutch team made the final... and the Dutch are not sore losers!:)). The whole euphoria was amazing:)

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    1. I was in Paris for the 2006 world cup, too! Absolutely fantastic. :)

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    2. They were creepy, weren't they? This isn't a slam on Sarkozy, I'd say the same thing if Hollande supporters were acting like that too. The hand heart symbol was like next level creepo.

      What is the consensus in the Hague, or at least where you were when the announcement was made? Are they pleased with the results?

      I was in Barcelona for the World Cup 2010! It was insane!! I felt like I was a part of something! I can hear Shakira's "Waka Waka" playing in my head right now...

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  4. Bastille wasn't too bad. Everyone was in a good mood. But when I looked up at the screen and saw how many people were there it was surreal. It was definitely a fun time to be in Paris. I am glad you made it back in time!

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    1. I loved your post, recapping the events. You're brave to have gone over! The crowds scared us off. We're such weenies.

      I'm glad you enjoyed yourself! Did you see Yannick Noah perform?

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  5. What a special experience! You did pick a great weekend to go back, didn't you? Thank you for sharing.

    I also want to say that I love your blog. It's so honest and real. You have a gift for telling a great story without sugar coating it. Thank you for keeping me entertained at work!

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    1. Hi Denise! Thank you so much for your comment. Wow. I try to tell it like it is without offending too much! I'm glad you appreciate my bluntness! : ) God knows my mother doesn't!

      The elections were great...I'm so lucky to have been here for them!

      Thank you again for your comment. : )

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  6. You are SO not alone about the Sarko groupies! It was definitely not the reaction I expected out of Sarkozy fans.

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    1. I mean, come on! It wasn't a Backstreet Boys concert! Oh geez, I know you're a lot younger than me, do you know who they are?

      I'm glad that I wasn't the only one who found them a little inappropriate. Have a great summer and if I see you wandering around Paris this week, I'll be sure to stop you and get you a drink!

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  7. While we had a great weekend away in the Loire, I'm disappointed that I was not in Paris to experience the energy of the city at a time like this. Sounds like you guys chose a great way to bring in the results. I too remember when they announced Obama! It was such an exciting night!

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    1. What was the reaction to the results in Loire?

      I'm so glad that you met Fabrice!!! He is a good friend of Seb's parents. He's a great guy! I'm so glad that you guys went. I can't wait to hear about it in a few hours!

      How great was NYC when Obama was announced??!?! There was a party on like every street corner! My eyes mist up when I think about it!

      Can't wait to see you!!

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  8. The young Sarko fans were probably crying because Maman and Papa let them know that if Hollande was elected, they'd be moving to Luxembourg. That would make me cry, too... poor little rich girls.

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  9. AnonymousMay 16, 2012

    It was really cool to be in the US for the 2008 elections (I was livingon St Marks Place, it was wild!) and then being here in France for the elections. I wasn't in Paris though - was on vaycay in the cote d'Azur (in a region that is more right-wing). I can't imagine how it must have been in Paris! I still need to head over there before the summer hits..!

    I saw in the paper the photos of the Sarko fans - yes really bizarre.

    I'm reading your posts a bit late -- was in the South, biking around the Alps, weekend with friends, yesterday in Lyon, and now stuck at home because I'm sick. O_o (I hope my comments are working)

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