I had the joy of spending New Year’s in Paris. A friend and I decided to brave the crowds on the Champs Elysees to welcome in 2016. Except we really didn’t have to battle a crush! With over half a million people lining the boulevard, there was space. People were well behaved.
In light of the recent attacks on Paris, everyone was searched before entering the Champs Elysees, but it was swift and didn’t seem to be an inconvenience.
I was surprised that many restaurants and cafes lining the Champs Elysees and surrounding streets weren’t totally booked and open to walk-in guests.
This year’s fireworks were cancelled but there was entertainment leading up to New Year’s. Then at 11:55 the crowd sang La Marseillaise. To hear that anthem, sung with such passion in that place, in that city, after this year was extraordinarily moving.
Then we moved from one emotion to another as a clock projected on the Arc de Triomphe counted down to the new year.
Outside our hotel we could hear people partying well into the early morning, which I think shows the resiliency of the people.
The next day there was a colourful, noisy New Year’s Day parade up and down the length of the Champs Elysees.
Paris was fun, interesting, stylish. Paris remains Paris.