Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Of Bastille Day and Roses...

Glendon Manor

Bastille Day, as you know, is the French national day celebrated on 14 July each year. So 13 days after Canada Day (see Hidden Beauty in Cabinet de Curiosités) comes Bastille Day - the day when Paris, the revolutionary capital, reminisces, in France and abroad, its iconic past that paved the way to the first Republic in France.

La Prise de la Bastille /"The Storming of the Bastille", by Jean-Pierre Houël, 1789 - Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Last Tuesday, July 14th, I attended the reception offered by Mr. Jérôme Cauchard, Consul General of France in Toronto to celebrate Bastille Day, at the Glendon Hall Mansion and its Garden of Roses.
This was my second year attending the Consulate's Garden Party. Once more I found it most pleasant to get together with Toronto's international community of Francophiles and French speakers for the occasion. As a matter of fact, celebrating the French national day abroad is quite different from celebrating it at home...

Fireworks with, in the background, the basilica of Fourvière, Lyon- July 14th, 2008

This year again I was abroad, in Toronto, and my celebration of 14 July was of course a more formal experience. The official speeches, the music and the food all reflected the traditional as well as the new role of France abroad. The band naturally played La Marseillaise which was sung in unison - at least for the first stanza as it is often the case that we, French people, only know the first one... The food was catered by Daniel & Daniel, and my preference went to the succulent medium-rare roast beef and to the table of desserts, where scrumptious cherry clafoutis, rhubarb and strawberry pies, and freshly fried crepes were being served.
I raised a toast to France, with love from Toronto! I had enjoyed a perfect evening out in the Garden of Roses, chatting and sharing in with those I already knew and those I had just met on that day...Another joyful celebration of Bastille day abroad, in Toronto, so far and so close to Paris.

Under the metallic skirts of the Eiffel Tower - my photo, Paris, August 2008.

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