It's "le 14 Juillet" today, aka "Bastille Day" for the non-French.
It's also tugrik
's birthday. Joyeux anniversaire, Gros Bleu! :D
One thing I miss about France is the traditional July 14th military parade in Paris.
I though the Americans would have kick-ass parades on July 4th, but I guess not.
Le Défilé Militaire, as the parade is called, takes place along l'Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
The Président is in attendance, along with other politicians and dignitaries.
All the branches of the French military are represented, including the Gendarmie Nationale (state police),
Guarde Républicaine (part of the Gendarmerie) and Brigade des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris (Paris Fire Brigade).
So here's a little flavor of home: la Légion Etrangère (the French Foreign Legion) parading earlier today.
(Commentary is in French)
La Légion is the last infantry unit in the parade, it has the slowest marching speed at 88 steps per minute.
To contrast, the regular Army marches at 120 SPMs, while the Chasseurs Alpins (snowtroopers) march at 140 SPMs.
(My brother was a good skier and did his service with the Chasseurs Alpins. He marched in the parade in 1978.
You know who else was in my brother's Chasseurs Alpins' squad? Luc Besson
. I'm not even kidding!)
The motto inscribed on La Légion's banner is "Honneur et Fidélité" (Honor and Faithfulness).
It's a bit like the US Marines "Semper Fi(delis)" (Always Faithful).
The horseback soldiers are not part of the Légion. I'm not sure who they are.
The ones riding in the armored personel carriers are definitely Légionaires. :)
Officers wear the black képis and soldiers wear the white képis.
For those interested, the French Ministry Of Defense has the entire 2009 Défilé du 14 Juillet 2009 online.
Hopefully, they will post the 2010 parade later. In the meantime, click here
to view the 2009 parade.
Vive la France!