It was all smiles on Friday evening as ‘les enfants de la patrie’ gathered—almost all under one roof—to celebrate the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the event commonly understood to mark the beginning of the French Revolution.

At a gala event attended by what seemed to be the entire francophone and francophile population of Port Vila, hundreds sang along as the Vanuatu Mobile Force marching band played a rousing rendition of la Marseillaise, the French national anthem.

The event featured a bit of good-natured cheek as one local businessman cheerily handed out invitations to his own rival event at the edge of the Ramada’s property line. Some guests seemed utterly bemused by the approach, but most chuckled and took it in stride as they made their way to the Ramada.

The event was attended by dignitaries from the local diplomatic community, as well as numerous ministers, members of parliament and other politicians and policemen. The gathering was addressed by the recently arrived Ambassador M Gilles Favret.

President of Vanuatu Obed Tallis addressed the gathering on behalf off the Republic of Vanuatu, welcoming M Favret and extending his best wishes to the French Republic on its anniversary.

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