The Paris Grand Parade represents the opportunity to hop across, or under, the Channel and try something completely different for your New Year celebrations. Let’s face it, Paris is one of the world’s best cities to visit at any time, and bringing in the new year here gives you the chance to savour some of its unique romantic atmosphere and some genuine French glitz and glamour.
The idea of a Grand Parade didn’t come about until 1992, when two long-standing events, in Chantilly to the north of Paris and the legendary city district of Montmartre decided to unite to create one giant party. And, as the French love a party, the idea soon caught on. Now, the parade has developed into one of the city’s best-loved annual events, and thousands of people throng the streets each year.
What they see is a glorious conglomeration of everything from typical Carnival-type floats to historic vehicles. From clowns to ‘les pom poms’ – dancing cheer leaders. From Jazz Bands to School Bands to Fire Eaters. Performers, and spectators, come not just from all over Europe but from across the Atlantic as well.
Although there’s still a parade through Chantilly on New Year’s Eve, the major spectacle, the Grand Parade, begins at 2.30 on New Year’s Day afternoon. Culminating at Trocadéro, which is directly across the River Seine from the Eiffel Tower, there are, literally, thousands of performers taking part. What with so much live music, lots of wine drinking – and an abundance of seasonal goodwill – the atmosphere of the city becomes almost tangible for the remainder of the day. Many of the bars have their own little street parties going on and the general sense of well-being brings a welcome feeling of optimism about what the forthcoming year is going to bring.
With Paris so easy to reach nowadays, the possibility of enjoying French food, wine and party-going at new year is an enticing prospect. With an exuberant parade, against a stunning backdrop and with a true sense of ‘joie de vivre’, the Paris Grand Parade is a mouth-watering prospect.