14 juillet 2021

Bonne Fête Nationale 2021

Marianne, pictured in La Mairie de Quincy, Région Centre

Bonne Fête Nationale !

We asked our members to share some of their memories of celebrating the 14 July and here are a few of their replies...

From Claudine

Un de mes souvenirs du 14 JUILLET remonte à1990 à Blois, la ville mon enfance où en temps normal je retourne tous les ans.

Après la Prise d’armes qui précédait le feu d’artifice, je me suis trouvée tout à côté du Maire de Blois qui à cette époque était Jack Lang, aussi Ministre de la Culture et fondateur de la Fête de la Musique en 1981-82. Ma mère était avec moi. Bien que normalement pas socialiste elle avait voté pour lui aux élections municipales et assisté à plusieurs de ses réunions avec les Blésois. D’une nature très bavarde elle m’a dit “Je vais te présenter”, ajoutant, en lui parlant, que à quelques jours près- ce qui est vrai-nous partagions nos dates d’anniversaire…(un dimanche à la Cathédrale, elle a aussi dit la même chose à l’Evêque du diocèse qu’elle connaîssait mieux!) Nous nous sommes serré la main et je lui ai donc dit que j’habitais l’Irlande. Il m’a répondu qu’il connaissait “ce beau pays”, mais quand j’ai mentionné Belfast il a soupiré…sans doute des compassion. Je l’ai aussi félicité pour la création de la Fête de la Musique.

Cela a été en quelque sorte mon moment de “célébrité “indirecte, jamais enregistré!

N.B. La célébration du 14 JUILLET a parfois lieu le 13, la raison ici étant que Jack Lang, en tant que Ministre, devait être à Paris le matin du 14 pour prendre place sur la tribune officielle sur les Champs Elysées.


One of my memories of 14 JULY goes back to 1990 in Blois, the town of my youth where in normal times I go back every summer.

After the Review of the Troops, followed by the traditional fire works, I found myself immediately beside the Mayor of Blois who from 1989 to 2000 was Jack lang, who at the same time was Minister for Culture and in 1981-82 had set up the “Fête de la Musique”. I was with my mother who, although not normally a socialist , had voted for him in the local elections and attended several of his meetings. She was by nature a chatter-box and she said to me “I am going to introduce you”. She told him that given a few days- and this is true -our shared our birthdays, same month and same year…(At the Cathedral she also said the same thing to the Bishop of the time whom she knew better!) We shook hands and he told me he had visited Ireland, “a beautiful country”, but when I mentioned Belfast he sighed…probably with compassion. I also congratulated him for founding the “Fête de la Musique”. This was, vicariously, my “moment of fame”, never recorded!

N.B. The celebration of 14 JULY sometimes has to take place on the 13th. In this case, as a Minister, Jack Lang had to be in Paris in the morning of the 14th to take his place on the official grand stand on the Champs Elysées.

From Hélène

Bonjour tout le monde !

Aussi loin que je me souvienne, le 14 juillet a toujours été synonyme de... gâteau d'anniversaire ! Ma grand-mère était en effet née le jour de la Fête Nationale et nous ne manquions jamais de lui faire souffler ses bougies ce jour-là.

Si par hasard nous étions déjà en vacances à cette date, nous sortions alors le soir manger une crêpe et assister au traditionnel feu d'artifice sur la côte Atlantique...

Quand à une chanson qui évoque Paris pour moi, c'est bien évidemment Edith Piaf et son sublime morceau "La Foule". Quand je l'entends, je suis transportée immédiatement dans les rues pavées parisiennes, dans le tourbillon fou... d'un bal du 14 juillet peut-être ?!! Bon 14 juillet à toutes et à tous !  


From Christina

Sadly I never got to celebrate the Fete National in France, so no photos.

But a piece of music which immediately means France, and all things French, to me is Charles Trenet’s beautiful “La Mer”. 

Why? It was the first time I heard someone speak French.1940s. I must have been around seven years old. I was staying on a farm in the depths of Fermanagh with my grandmother. It came on the radio and I asked her why I couldn’t ‘hear’ what he was saying.

My grandmother explained this was the French language. I was besotted by the sound. Still am, truth be told.

Looking forward to seeing and hearing everyone’s contributions. Many thanks for organising,

Best wishes,


and finally here's one from John in Paris

Well, I think the festivities planned for the 14th are safe but - and this is for the first time since I arrived in France to live - the balls, fireworks displays, etc. of tonight have been cancelled because of the atrocious weather! It hasn't stopped flooding down all day - all because the Jetstream moved unexpectedly south in March/April. As a result, apart from a week's lovely weather in April or May, we have had NI's weather - unstable, and all too often cloudy, cool and rainy! It's been disgusting for weeks and weeks - I can't remember a spring and summer so bad since I came here in 2001...
It's due to take itself up on Friday or so, but there's no guarantee that that improvement will last. How unlike the months of brilliant weather last year!
Still, have a super 14th July yourselves - my best wishes to all the members!


Members have sent us details of songs they like to listen to on the day and we have added these to a  playlist on our members' YouTube channel. You should have received a link in a recent email but if not drop us a line to cfbelfast@gmail.com and why not share some of your snaps, snippets, souvenirs and songs?

Bonne fête !

13 juin 2021

A virtual trip in the mountains with Henry McKEE

Join us on 16 June for our next online meeting as Henry McKee takes us on a virtual trip in the mountains                                                        

Just as important as English climbers in Switzerland is the role of English, Scottish and Irish mountaineers in France and in particular the French Alps. This talk covers the romantic poets visiting Chamonix in the 18th century through to the "tigers" who surprised the French climbing world between the 1950s and now. We touch on the Irish pioneer from County Carlow who, in 1861, first described the effects of greenhouse gases on global warming and the Scotsman who was the first to study the science of glaciers.