It was SO Bastillish. It was more Bastillish than even the Fête nationale shindigs that those
Because, first, the event was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Crowds arrived at 7:30 and no one would open the doors. It was a warm July evening and the throngs were chafing and muttering. Some looked as though they were ready to push their way in. No one on the inside seemed to care. (Is it sounding a bit Bastillish to you yet?)
Finally at around 7:50 the doors were flung open, and the assembled crowd on the sidewalk was allowed to enter the building, in small batches. We shelled out the not-unreasonable entrance fee. For the masses, it cost $35, which got you in the door.
For VIPs and those who had been willing to spend $130, there was an exclusive lounge. It was way up on a lofty balcony overlooking the main floor. Cordoned off. I never saw any of the VIPs. I had naively imagined I might bump into a few familiar dignitaries at this French national holiday event. Ix-nay. They apparently went in before the rest of us, or were ushered up there as soon as they arrived. No mingling with the rest of the crowd. They were having unlimited wine and dinner, looking down at the rest of us (or ignoring us, more likely).
Down on the main floor, the requisite Edith Piaf-ish singer was singing, the requisite accordion was playing, and a few couples were dancing à la guinguette. We minglers in the masses sported wristbands and were drinking $10-per-glass wine out of flimsy plastic cups. Craning our necks, we peered up at the other party taking place in the loft. (Was it my imagination, or did I hear glasses clinking up there?)
"It reminds me of the old days when the Paris metro had first and second class cars," I joked.
I thought perhaps there would at least be a word of welcome, of solidarity, ya know: "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" or "Vive la France!"
Nope. Just two separate crowds, one up and one down.
I just had to laugh. It was so very Bastillish.