Look, I will be the first one to tell you that a perfectly amazing NYE is spent indoors, in the company of good friends, with appropriate liquid refreshment or, as my parents often spend it, in prayer in a church. New Year’s need not be splashy in order to be enjoyable. That’s not my beef. My beef is that certain cities with certain monuments, like Paris, have an implied obligation to put on a good show. And billboards around the city (pictured on the left), which showed fireworks, 2014, and the Eiffel Tower, as well as articles like this, gave you the impression that at the very least we would get a light show.
Not so. Not even a countdown. At midnight the tower lit up like it does every single night on the hour after 6pm. It was such a letdown. More so for my friend from Zurich who had stopped in on her way back from Scotland just to see NYE in Paris. After 5 minutes, when it was clear (to me, at least) that nothing was going to happen, I wanted to leave and beat the – conservatively estimated – tens of thousands of others of us on the Champs de Mars to public transport. She insisted that there would indeed be something. It’s a new year – so – I wasn’t in a hurry. It was around 12:35 that she admitted defeat (after taking about 20 more photos) and we started moving with a crowd that would make the least agoraphobic of you at least a tad nervous.
Look, I’m not complaining. I am not obsessed with the Tour Eiffel, but I did enjoy the excitement and energy of the crowd. I brought the customary bottle of brut (don’t you dare call it champagne unless it’s from Champagne!) and popped it 00h01.
I commiserated with Ruchika as we walked back: “Hey, at least you know now and can warn everyone off.” I added, “It’s definitely my last NYE in Paris, ever.” With so many great cities within reach who do put on “spectacles” as the French would call it, why would I stay in Paris to be underwhelmed?
That being said, if you don’t need a spectacle and have never been to Paris, NYE might be a wonderful time to be here – as many of the Christmas decorations are still up and everyone in the city is in a good mood.
My favo(u)rite NYE of all time was in Sydney, Australia. It’s far and away one of the best in the world. Part of this is down the fact that the Aussies know how to party, but it’s also because they know everyone looks to them at the beginning of Dec 31st, as they get to the New Year faster than the rest of us.