I’D JUST GOT HOME. I was sitting on my balcony enjoying a cup of tea in the summer sunshine. Down below, the white-van men were present, as always.
All was well with the world – until this happened!
Was Paris under attack? Or maybe somehow I’d been teleported to Tripoli. Even the white-van men came to life and took notice. It was a surprise but the answer was simple. The clue was when a single Alpha Jet from the Patrouille de France passed overhead a few moments earlier – L’Armée de l’Air, the French Air Force, was in town.
Next week, on 14th July, France celebrates La Fête Nationale and as part of the défilé, the parade along the Champs Elysées, the French Air Force’s contribution will be a fly-past. This was their rehearsal.
The Fly-Past Rehearsal:
I always have a sound recorder close to hand so, although I missed the sound of the single Alpha Jet, I did manage to capture most of the rest of the rehearsal. Why just one Alpha Jet? Simple, the Patrouille de France is the French Aerobatic Display Team and they don’t need to rehearse how to fly in a straight line! Just the leader flies the route in the rehearsal but all the other elements of the fly-past turn out in full.
Each element of the fly-past meets at La Défense and then turns to the east and flies directly over the Avenue Charles de Gaulle, the Avenue de la Grande Armée, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Élysées – including directly over my apartment. I get a perfect view.
On Thursday next week, the TV outside-broadcast crews will be in place to broadcast the défilé and the fly-past. A TV audience of several million will watch and listen to the fly-past, not to mention the thousands watching and listening in the streets. But unlike them, you heard it here first!