Wednesday, July 05, 2006

World Cup Madness in Paris

On Saturday night in Paris, crowds began gathering outside cafes whose televisions were visible from the street to watch the World Cup match between France and Brazil. Rachael and I sat at a sidewalk table to eat dinner—moules frites—and watched the French go crazy at every turn of the game. After dinner, we wandered around St. Germain, occasionally joining a crowd to check the status of the match; we were near the Pont Neuf when France finally won. The crowds charged down the streets, gathering near a grand fountain, cheering and waving France’s flag. Boys scaled the statue in the middle of the fountain, dancing with their shirts off in the streaming water and wrapping themselves in soaked flags. It was, just as in Barcelona, a happy riot (though, like Barcelona, we learned it had turned more destructive as the night wore on).

A souvenir shop near the Pont Neuf did a brisk business that night selling flags to tourists and Parisians who wanted to celebrate in style. They whipped the flags around their necks cape-style and joined the cheering masses in front of the fountain.

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