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Paris cocktail party has fewer revelers, less booze, than viral gatherings in Montpellier and Nantes.
But de Saintmarc pointed out that his generation includes the offspring of parents who participated in the violent May 1968 protests that pitted students against university authorities, and then police. He reasoned that now “there’s a false sense of freedom. At the same time, we're just as constrained.”
Ever hopeful, de Cherisey, 21, said he still expected the masses to show, even though none had materialized by the appointed hour. Over two dozen giant cocktail parties have already taken place in France and dozens more are being planned in cities around the country, he said, especially to mark the end of the school year.
City officials in Paris have said they would consider organizing such an event, taking into account all the security details that the impromptu gatherings don’t, but for some that would defeat the point.
Francoise Sicard witnessed “in disbelief,” she said, the interaction between the police and the two young men who were asked to discard their booze. “One would think we were in the Prohibition era in the States,” said the 57-year-old. Young people “are living a totally different youth from ours.”
“It’s not because they have more means at their disposal that they are happier,” she said of youth today. “Behind, there is a real suffering and we don’t let them express themselves.”
Sicard suggested that sociologists should study the cocktail party phenomenon, she said, instead of the authorities trying to stifle it.
As the sun started to set, a few more tours up and down the length of the grassy field revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Police patrolled the green space in teams of three; one trio even took photographs with a tourist.
In one area, blank sheets of poster paper and markers were left strewn about. One had the word Facebook scribbled with a question mark.
Mateo Eranda Hopp, visiting from Buenos Aires for five days and on his way to Italy, created two posters. He heard about the giant cocktail party in Argentina and decided to join. Heeding the warnings, he and a friend finished a bottle of wine before entering the field. He said he was surprised by the heavy police presence, which “makes me worried about what’s going to happen in the rest of Paris tonight.”
“The first night I was here, we met some girls and we were drinking screwdrivers on the bus,” Eranda Hopp said, describing a spur of the moment party he encountered on his trip. “We just thought that was normal.”
But he looked on the bright side. At least some promoters showed up for the party: “We got free condoms."