Parisians on Saturday (25 June) were treated to one of the liveliest and most riotously coloured spectacles in the French capital for years.
Parisians on Saturday (25 June) were treated to one of the liveliest and most riotously coloured spectacles in the French capital for years. It was the Carnival of Carnivals which featured exotically-costumed dancers and musicians from 15 countries. In the evening, a series of boats, shimmering with lights and alive with pounding music, glided along the Seine in a river pageant.
SYNOPSIS: Sure enough, the Brazilians were here. Their exuberant and abandoned costumes and serious dancing gave a taste of the bubbling vitality of the famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro, the model for such festivities.
The dancers and musicians had set off from the Place des Invalides to writhe and stomp their way along the Champs Elysee, through the Place de la Concorde to wind up, three hours later, in front of the Town Hall.
Europe 1, backed by the French Ministry of Tourism, staged the carnival, which, in effect, revived the old Carnival of Paris, which had not been held since 1936. The carnival was organised to show Parisiens exciting and historic costumes and dances form the participating countries and French provinces. These included Colombia, Spain, the Philippines and Senegal. At ten in the evening the river pageant was launched with a fireworks display that turned the waters of the Seine into gleaming patches of red, gold and profusion of other colours - a rowdy foretaste for the Bastille Day celebrations on July 14. A boat from neighbouring Western Germany was among the first to move off, its sweating band and dancers working away at full stretch. The sights and sounds revived memories of the spectacle on the Seine that the City of Paris had organised for Queen Elizabeth's first official visit in 1957. Then came the Philippines' boat, bringing a brilliantly contrasting peal of music and whirling, figures who looked energetic enough to keep going all the way to Manila.
Then came the Zambians, who had travelled 8,000 kilometres, (5,000 miles) to show their traditional dances and costumes for the first time outside their country. The Spanish contingent was tricked out in old-style costumes from Valencia. The throbbing beat of their music seemed to carry into the most distant reaches of Paris. As far the Greeks presented the Carnival of Naoussa, a tiny village in Macedonia. Their dancers wore the costumes of Evzones, which were picked out in dazzling details under the bobbing rows of fairy lights.