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France’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

PARIS – Bastille Day, the French national holiday, was glorious this year. The military parade, dominated by the celebration of “victory” in Mali and the joint participation of African and United Nations troops, had the perfection of a gracious, albeit muscular, ballet.

The classical concert that preceded the magisterial fireworks that ended the day was the closest thing to a French version of the Proms in London, mixing light classical and popular songs. The Eiffel Tower imbued the evening with its magic. Paris, in case anyone had any lingering doubts, remains the capital of the world – or so it seemed for a night.