Montreuil Sounds like a War Zone as it Prepares to Celebrate the Bastille–July 2001

by on February 16th, 2015
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On July 10, 2001, I visited Montreuil, a Parisian suburb, on a semi-business vacation in France, where I got something out of what you only experience in Bogota, Colombia. Explosions going off nearby, and I was going to be in for a real shock.

Later on, I had suspected that Montreuil teenagers were setting off plenty of homemade M-60 firecrackers that are designed to create maximum bang.

The firecracker detonations from these M-60s are similar to bursting 14- to 16-inch helium balloons outside, and since the hotel I sojourned had a lot of high rises, each bang was multiplied at least twice or three times due to echos off those buildings! According to one Youtube video that demonstrates this device, the end result is like they are as scary as flash-bang grenades–with a sound output I estimated as up to 140-150 decibels.

I had heard firecrackers in America because I live in that country during July 4th, but these explosive devices in Montreuil for the Bastille holiday were probably the loudest use of firecrackers I had ever experienced in my lifetime–something that is probably akin to Chinese New Year. I had learned beforehand that it is a tradition in Paris to set off firecrackers on Bastille Day, but as I learned in some parts of Paris like Montreuil—some Parisians do not wait until the 14th to set it off.

The noise was very traumatizing because it reminded me of gunfire, and my fight-or-flight mechanism overreacted chronically as a result.

That was the most horrible and scariest time I had in my overseas vacations.

“Firing Off A M60 Firecracker”. Author unknown. YouTube video, Internet. Uploaded on June 20, 2010. Accessed on September 18, 2011.

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