Many French expats want to be home for National Day

DUBAI — Even though French Nationals in Dubai are looking forward to July 14, the French National Day, many miss being in France to celebrate this significant day.

By Preeti Kannan

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Published: Fri 13 Jul 2007, 9:42 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:08 AM

For the French, it is a day punctuated with music, dance, fireworks and festivities along the Champs Elysees boulevard in Paris. Apart from feeling nostalgic, the French have little else to do on ‘Fete Nationale’ in Dubai.

The ‘Fete Nationale’ or Bastille Day in official parlance is the French symbol of the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the first Republic. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

Tamara Hostal, Director of the French Fashion University Esmod, says, “Normally on this holiday, we meet friends and family to have a good time. People are on the streets dancing and singing to celebrate the day. However, there are not many French restaurants or places for us expats to meet. We don’t really know what to do here, unlike in France. We also look forward to the President’s speech in the evening.”

Secretary Claudine is equally reluctant to spend National Day here and would rather be with her family back home.

“It is a very important day for us and a rendezvous with friends and family is the highlight of the day. For the National Day, I would prefer to be in France. Since my husband and I don’t know many people here, we are heading to Abu Dhabi to meet people.”

Dazzling fireworks is a common feature on this day and for Natacha Audoye, it’s a day of partying. A pharmacist and a marketing manager, she is planning a quiet day, except for the party organised by the French Consulate.

The Consulate is hosting a cocktail on July 15 for French nationals at a prominent hotel in Dubai, while the Embassy is doing the same at Abu Dhabi.

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