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Flapper Girls and Vintage Cars- Bastille Day 2011

A 14th July to be Proud of

By Connell Rebecca

As Edith Piaf sang out over the spectacular fireworks, there was general consensus amongst the 1600 strong crowd that this was a good moment to be French.

“For the first time, London has a 14th July to be proud of!” With that comment ended a rather special Bastille Day at 1am on the 15th. It had started 7 hours earlier, with guests of all ages and nationalities walking through the gates to Kensington gardens, where two beautiful marquees had been erected in Perks Field, behind Kensington Palace and the French Ambassador’s residence.


The French ambassador enjoying a ride in the vintage Delahay
The French ambassador enjoying a ride in the vintage Delahay

Welcomed in with a glass of Mumm champagne, more than a few gasps were heard as

Everybody turned on the 1920s glamour before posing with the vintage cars
Everybody turned on the 1920s glamour before posing with the vintage cars

people took in the 1920s décor: vintage cars, flapper girls in full costume, swing band, art deco dance-floor, silent movies playing throughout the marquees…: It was a surreal sight. All present had taken to the fancy dress theme with abandon, donning wigs, pearls, bowler hats and pin-stripes, and even one particularly dedicated reveller who turned up in a complete Charlie Chaplin outfit, walking stick and eyebrows included!

As the music crescendoed and the champagne flowed, the dancing took off in earnest with the flapper girls inciting everyone to join them on the dance floor. Charleston, rock, swing, and even a little bit of reeling going on in a corner, the saying “anything goes” was definitely in evidence with people nicely loosened up by the bubbles! Now that they’d started, they weren’t going to stop…


The flapper girls lead the way on the dance floor
The flapper girls lead the way on the dance floor

Or so it seemed, until, as the party neared the eleventh hour, the rising first beats of the Marseillaise rang out, calling all outside for the highlight of the night: the fireworks.

Everyone looked up in awe and childlike glee at the display unfolding in front of them against the spectacular backdrop of Kensington Palace. And as it neared its final bangs, the crowd joined in as Edith Piaf began to sing “Non, rien de rien, non je ne regrette rien…”. It’s fair to say there were more than a few tears being wiped away at the end of it all… though this may also have had something to do with the copious amounts of champagne.

As the last sparkles in the sky died out the party took up again with renewed vigour, with DJs Bart and Baker and Sasha Dieu providing fantastic remixes of 20s classics. All too soon, the clock struck one, and it was with great regret (and difficulty) that the guests were finally led out the Kensington Gardens gates. As people turned round to take a last glance, the verdict was unanimous: The best Bastille Day London has ever seen!

Well, just you wait till next year…

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22/07/2011 - sandrine.markham said :

It was just a fabulous evening.Thank you so much!
Looking forwrad to next 14 Juillet. The setting in Kensington Palace garden was second to none. The fireworks with Edith Piaf in the background was just superb. The band and dancing amazing. well done to all the people involved.

21/07/2011 - julien said :

Congratulations for the magnifique 14 JUILLET you gave us. Merci!


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