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May 7, 2012


Le Changement C’est Maintenant

by soundlandscapes

LA PRESIDENTIELLE, the French Presidential election is over for another five years. The climax came on Sunday when the result of the second round of voting was declared at 8.00 pm. The French people voted for change and elected François Hollande over the incumbent President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

It was back in 1981 when the last socialist President, François Mitterand, was elected in France so this Sunday’s result was very significant for the Hollande supporters. They gathered in vast numbers in the Place de la Bastille and I joined them to savour the atmosphere.

I arrived in Place de la Bastille some two hours before the election result was declared but even then the enthusiastic crowd was gathering.

Atmosphere in La Place de la Bastille:

You have to hand it to the French, they certainly know how to celebrate in vast numbers and with good humour.

As 8.00 pm approached the excitement became palpable and when the result became clear the party began.

François Hollande Wins:

Sarkozy Concession Speech:

Hollande Acceptance Speech:

Nicolas Sarkozy is the eleventh Euro-Zone leader to lose office since the debt crisis took hold in 2009. Le Changement does indeed seem to be Maintenant!

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wonderful. You capture the atmosphere and excitement perfectly…thanks!

    • May 7 2012

      Thanks for the comment Steve. Pleased you enjoyed the piece.

      Faced with such an ocean of sound it can be quite difficult to record anything other than ‘mush’. Strategic placement was called for so I managed to squeeze my way right to the foot of the column. This meant that I had people around me but I was slightly above the huge mass of people and I also had the people who had climbed the column above me. Given the sort of recording I do, the only tool I have to engineer sound balance is my feet and I think in this case, in the midst of 200,000+ people, it worked quite well. Incidentally, don’t attempt anything like this if you’re in the slightest claustrophobic!!!

  2. colinhuntersound
    May 7 2012

    Hi Des,

    I think you definitely made the right decision to go early. I headed down to Bastille at about 23:00 and it was CRAZY. I tried to make my way into the middle but was swept back out towards Faubourg St Antoine in a crowd surge. So instead I went around the area recording the atmosphere. The junction of Ledru-Rolin and Faubourg St Antoine was particularly lively! You can have a listen to what I captured here:

    • May 7 2012

      Thanks Colin. I’ve just listened to your recordings – excellent. They capture the atmosphere perfectly. The Rue de la Roquette is one of my favourite streets in Paris so I’m pleased to hear that they have a better class of reveler than Ledru-Rolin! And yes, I did go early … it’s an age thing!

      I know what you mean about the crowd surge. The worst one I’ve had was in the Champs Elysées at the Millennium. There were allegedly 1 million people there and I was literally knocked off my feet. It was terrifying.

      I do think though that we have to admire the way that the French can celebrate like this in very large numbers but without things turning ugly.

      • colinhuntersound
        May 8 2012

        Agreed on the way they celebrate. Can’t help but think it would have been different in the UK. I was pleasently surprised by the way people of all ages and races were celebrating together without going “over the top”.

  3. May 12 2012

    The sound of Joy. Reading your comments it looks as though you were quite dedicated in bringing these recordings to us, and they really do transmit emotion through time and space. One for the archives.

    • May 12 2012

      Thanks Jay. This was the third presidential election I’ve seen since I’ve been in France and it’s the second I’ve recorded. I think that recording history is always a bit special. The French, of whatever political hue, take their politics very seriously and it was their emotions that I was trying to capture.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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