J’ai eu la chance: La fête nationale et La coupe du monde, tous dans le deuxième weekend.

“Paris est une fête.” —- Ernest Hemingway.

Though I knew nothing of soccer, I knew that the french team advanced to the semifinal. My host dad said “tu as la chance” (you have the chance) since French people weren’t very passionate (as germans) about the world cup until they saw the possibility of actually winning it. It was just my second week in Tours and I was able to see the nationalism of French people, which manifested rarely. On Tuesday, it was France playing against Belgium. In the early afternoon, people dressing up in the color of France ( blue, white and red 🇫🇷), started to march down the major road in Tours——la rue nationale. Sharp at 6:45, I headed out with another student in the house; Tours was not a large city, so when we got to the “Place Plum,” it was almost 7:00 p.m., but the placed had already been filled by people. Arriving one hour before the game started, we were able to find a good spot to sit on the road and not be trampled by the passer-bys. When the game started, all the roads were blocked by people, and when we wanted to go stand up and buy some food during the game, désolée, we had to step on people. Due to my ignorance of the soccer players and the rules, all I knew was “on est en finale” (France advanced in the final round). 

the celebration in the street
people taking over a fire engine

At lunch table, as I heard my host parents discuss over “le feu d’artifice à la Tour Eiffel,” I suddenly realized “j’ai eu la chance” : how could there be a better way to spend my weekend than celebrating la fête nationale (July 14) by watching the fireworks at the Eiffel tower on Saturday night, and cheering for the victory of French national football team on Sunday? It was a spur of moment thing, but I bought the train ticket to Paris right away.

Before “le feu d’artifice,” it was a classical concerts with a lot of renown French musicians and orchestras. Though the roads were entirely blocked by people, picnicking with my Chinese friends in front of the Eiffel tower was still refreshing. Immersed myself entirely in French (with the depart of Ana, I made friends with people who only spoke French), I all of a sudden figured out how easy it was to talk without conjugations, placing objects before verbs and making accordance of tenses. We waited for three hours until the clock finally hit 11. The party started. The theme of the year was “Amour” (Love). Starting with Carmen, the firework at the Eiffel tower was truly an incredible scene to look at. I’ll let the pictures speak of itself.


Right on the next afternoon, the world cup final started. After a short visit of la maison de Victor Hugo (the house of Victor Hugo), I went into a bar at Bastille. People had already started chanting Marseille with exuberance two hours before the final. As we all knew, the french team won the world cup, so the french people ran lunatics: people screaming in the streets, dancing on the cars, jumping in la seine etc. It was fun to watch all those clam and elegant Parisians go wild out of ecstasy.

Parisien went wild

On my way back to Tours, I reflected on all the coincidence that led up to this incredible weekend: j’ai eu la chance to receive the SLA grants, arrive in France when the French team winning the four-year-a-time world cup, the national day happens to be the day before France won the world cup.