France’s Independence day is formally called La Fête Nationale in France and is celebrated on July 14. In the English-speaking world, this day is referred to as Bastille Day. However, the French themselves do not use the term Bastille Day. So if you are even in France on or near this date, avoid the common tourist mistake of calling July 14 Bastille Day.
Villefranche-sur-mer celebrated La Fête Nationale on the eve of the July 14 holiday, presumably so as to not compete with larger celebrations at nearby towns, such as Nice. Villefranche does a relatively low-key celebration, with strolling musicians, a lighted boat parade in the harbor and a dance at the citadel. We eased into the festivities by going out for a pizza lunch where we were entertained by a couple of strolling musicians.
After lunch we took a stroll down to the harbor to see what effect the wind was having on the waves and boats. While the weather has been spectacularly pleasant since our arrival on July 1 (zero rain), July 13th had been forecasted to experience a wind storm with winds up to about 30 mph. We took a short video of the “storm” for the blog’s record. Throughout the blow, the skies remained sunny, with nary a hint of rain.
After dinner we went down to the harbor for the parade of flower-bearing and lighted boats. This is a fun tradition that evidently has been taking place for over 50 years wherein the townspeople line the harbor steps and quay, while small, decorated, lighted boats parade in a grand circle throwing carnations at the crowd. The objective seems to be to acquire as many of the tossed carnations as possible – in a grand competition with all your neighbors. We are happy to report that the Henry Warner/ JillLehman team did quite well in shagging a healthy share of carnations that are now decorating our apartment. Vive la France!