Post by kerouac2 on Sept 14, 2019 21:16:29 GMT
Okay, is that a sufficiently provocative title? First of all, the Fête de l'Humanité does not take place inside Paris. It takes place in Le Bourget, about 10 kilometres from Paris. Nevertheless, it is the biggest communist event in Europe (no way to compete with the Chinese) and frankly perhaps the biggest festival of any sort in Europe. In 2018, it attracted 800,000 people over three days.
Luckily, one does not have to be a communist to attend or else I would never be admitted. I suspect that no more than 15-20% of the people who attend are actual communists, although it is quite clear that perhaps 80% of the visitors have left wing political views, sometimes quite extreme. Frankly, a lot of people have no politics at all -- when you live in the northern suburbs of Paris, this is the main event of the year with concerts, entertainment and food and one would be a fool not to take advantage of it. I made a report about it maybe 9 or 10 years ago (did not find it while searching Anyport, but it is here somewhere), so it was time to go back and see how it is now.
It is quite more expensive than it used to be, which is why I have considered it and refrained from going over the past few years. It used to cost something like 10 and then 20 euros for all three days of the event. Now it is 40 euros for advance purchase on the internet (which is what I did) but 49 euros at the gate. This seemed a lot less communist to me considering the financial condition of many people, but with communist fortunes going lower and lower in recent years, I do understand how they could decide to set that price. Just imagine -- if 800,000 people pay 40 euros each, that makes 32,000,000 euros in French communist coffers. Nevertheless, I imagine that card carrying communists pay less -- maybe 20 euros -- in their local federations. And I also suppose that free tickets are given to certain needy people (but how many?). Then there are the buses arriving from everywhere in France (and some European countries), for which people also have to pay (I'm pretty sure.). So, okay, I think that they get at least 20 millions euros in revenue for this event, but I don't have the slightest idea how much it costs.
One thing that has changed since my last visit is that there are no longer free shuttles buses from the Le Bourget RER station. "20 minutes walk" is indicated on the website. And it is more of a 3rd world walk with crappy sidewalks, holes to avoid, gravel, dirt, dangerous road crossings -- a 20 minute walk in downtown Paris is pleasant. This was not pleasant at all. But I knew it ahead of time, so I put up with it. I was dripping with sweat by the time I arrived, since it was a warm day. "I should have taken pictures of this ordeal," I thought. "No problem, I'll take pictures tomorrow when I return for the main event."
Finally I arrived, went through the security lines, etc. Actually, the security guy told me as he frisked me, even though there were electronic gates like in an airport, that all they are really looking for is glass bottles. And there were a ton of those abandoned along the way.
When you go in, neophytes would be entitled to wonder "is this what I came to see?"
A lot of people come for all three days, and there is a campground for them. Since it was the first day, people were just beginning to set up their stuff.
As you progress, it all becomes more interesting.