Paris Pride Parade (ou, Marché des Fiertés).

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This will likely be my most colourful post so far. It was a rainy rainbow sort of day. 😉

As part of the yearly, highly celebrated LGBT festival, the Paris Pride March was this afternoon -and I discovered that it started within walking distance from my apartment. I had been trying to decide how to spend my Saturday afternoon, and having a great time in Toronto last year during Pride week, I wanted to see what Paris would be like. The parade was to start at the Jardin Du Luxembourg and go from there, and started like a rally, or a peaceful (but energetic) protest in the large roundabout by the Luxembourg RER entrance. There was music and several passionate speeches by unseen people at a large float in the middle.

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Strategically placed police surrounding the square, clearly prepared for a riot. There wasn’t one. 🙂

There were lots of people dressed up (to varying degrees), and you could buy rainbow flags, feather boas, rainbow wings, and other multicolored paraphernalia from a couple of stands in the square. There were also carts of drinks (mostly beer and wine) moving around the crowd.

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It was no surprise when it started to rain, and although many umbrellas appeared and some people used their rainbow flags as cover, the majority of people just reveled in the rain. It was already a party. 🙂 The float -and then crowd- started moving, and that’s when I realized that we were part of the parade! 😀

With the one giant dancer-filled float playing a mix of pop and electronic dance music at the front to a balloon-covered fire truck at the back, thousands of people walked from Jardin Du Luxembourg all the way to Bastille (and really, beyond). It was relaxed and fun, with the occasional wave of cheering passing through the crowd. Along the way I came across a group of people painting rainbows on cheeks, so I enthusiastically said “si vous plait- moi aussi? Si vous plait!”, and they happily obliged- they ended up speaking English, but after that I didn’t say much more than “Merci!”.

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There were loads of people lining the streets, and it was truly a giant crowd of happy drenched strangers dancing through Paris for a couple of hours. I often shared my umbrella for a few blocks at a time, I danced to some great music, I followed a giant butterfly for a while, and got to join in the celebrations for the LGBT community. It was a great way to spend a rainy saturday!

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