Oh la la! A night with the firemen of Paris

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna

Bastille Day  or more accurately, la fête nationale — is one of my favorite holidays.

Partly because it kicks off every year with a huge party with French firemen.

Once a year, the French pompiers all around Paris do the most un-firemen like thing: they pack their fire stations with crowds, ply everyone with booze, set up smoke machines, and invite everyone to dance on the bars and drink and smoke themselves silly.

Sounds like a great idea, right? Not at all like a fire hazard.

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-32

The last time I attended a Bal des Pompiers was two years ago, and that one was rowdyThis year we went to the same fire station, but this time I brought my DSLR and wits.

Unfortunately we couldn’t arrive until after 10 pm (due to an infamous blog post crash…) which meant we showed up to a mother of a line. It wrapped down the street and around the block.

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-2 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-3 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-4

We grabbed roadies from a nearby Irish bar to help us wait, and watched girls hit on policemen to pass the time.

(Sidenote: I wonder if the police begrudge having to patrol the firemens’ parties? I mean they don’t get a Bal des Policiers that has all the girls lining up outside their stations…)

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-5 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-6 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-7

At least the view wasn’t bad. Ladies and gentleman, St. Eustache at night.

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-8 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-9

It took us an hour and a half to get to the front of the line. And then another 30 minutes of just standing. right. here.

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-10 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-11

Two hours later — at 1:30 AM — we were in. The party was on.

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-13Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-12 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-15

There were many inebriated firemen dancing, while other poor saps were stuck running bar. Bottles of champagne were going for 40 euro a pop (which was down from two years ago, when I recall they were 60!).

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-14

But remember, it’s their house. Learn from this guy. Don’t get rude with the firemen, they don’t have to serve you for nothin’.

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-16

As you can see, flirting tends to get you much friendlier service.

Once you’ve got your champagne, it’s time to dance the night away. Hopping up on the bars is entirely encouraged.

Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-28Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-27Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-18 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-19 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-20 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-21 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-22 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-23 Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-24Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-25Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-26Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-30Bal de Pompiers 2015, Paris by Expat Edna-31

We took it ‘easy’ this time around and left at 4 am, after only 2.5 hours at the fire station. The place was still jumping as we made our exit — but we needed our beauty sleep for the big event the next day…

Next: What it’s really like to camp out at the Eiffel Tower on the 14th of July!

Have you ever been to the Firemen’s Ball, or have any similar celebrations in your country?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Love this idea, July 14th is my birthday and I spent my 30th in Paris watching the fireworks, but I should clearly have been looking for the hot firemen instead – maybe next year!

  2. I think I need to get myself to Paris next year for Bastille Day! It definitely sounds like it was worth the two hour wait!

    • Or even better, just head out earlier! We went early the year before and didn’t have to wait at all (and there were more firemen mingling!)

  3. I don’t know if I would have made it through the line waiting process, but other than that it looks like one hell of a party!! I can just feel the fun vibes from these photos.

    • Thanks Cynthia! Yeah we definitely got there too late, it’s even better when you get there earlier in the evening!

  4. Oh my … yup. That’s definitely a party to put on my ‘must attend’ list.

Trackbacks

  1. […] head out early. (And from personal experience, if you’re spending the previous night at the Firemen’s Ball, then you’ll be waking up pretty late in the […]

  2. […] to France to coincide with a friend’s legendary 4th of July party, as well as the Paris Firemen’s Ball, and the best […]