On the 29th September, I packed my bags and flew to Paris, France from Birmingham to meet my French Airsoft Action counterpart. Earlier in 2017, a new contributor joined the Airsoft Action team – Diane Montagnier, who is better known as Dye Lifad within the French airsoft community! Diane is an airsoft player, gunsmith and also a gun tech at Airsoft Entrepot, an airsoft store just outside of Paris. I flew out to meet her and spend a weekend experiencing the best of Parisienne airsoft!

I arrived in Paris at around 4.30 pm local time on Friday afternoon after a short flight of just an hour and a half. As I walked through Charles De Gaulle airport I was super excited about what the weekend had in store! I was met by Diane’s smiling face in arrivals and we were off to Chanteloup, a quaint village just outside of the city! We spent our Friday evening at Diane’s home organising our gear for the weekend, drinking wine and eating cheese fondue! On my travels to different countries to play airsoft I am always very lucky to be hosted by local players who open up their homes and also their gear collections to me and little did I know that Diane was going to kit me out. As Diane is a huuuuge fan of Gucci kit, the gear wardrobe was absolutely jam-packed with the biggest names in tactical kit! My loadout for the weekend included Camouflage Europe Centrale (CEC) which is the standard issue for French Military (when in France right?), a really gucci Blue Force Gear plate carrier and a tonne of other kits from big names such as Arc’teryx and Black Hawk. Our plan for the weekend was pretty simple, good food, good wine and some awesome airsoft at Diane’s favourite haunts!

On Saturday, Dye had organised for us to play a private skirmish with her colleagues from Airsoft Entrepot and some close friends at a private dirt bike track just a short drive out of the city centre of Paris. We arrived on site at around 11am local time as it was a very relaxed day (which makes a change from 6am wake up calls). Once we arrived, we set up tarps so we could lay all of our kit out ready for a day of pew pew! I was introduced to all the players who were in attendance, 12 in total and we had a good natter before the game. As it was a friendly, private game the only rule was ‘be a good sport’ – simple and effective.  As it had rained all the way through the night, the site was pretty wet and muddy but it was a pretty cool site that had winding gravel and dirt roads with high and low ground surrounded by dense forest areas.

Over the course of the day we played a variety of games including team death matches, elimination and domination, however, my favourite game of the day was a team deathmatch where we were split into teams of 3 and had to go hunt the other teams. For this game, I teamed up with Dye and Louis. Whilst Louis went to stalk out the positions of the other teams, myself and Dye quietly made our way up a large hill and set ourselves up in the brush, waiting. This is a completely different play style for me, as I usually enjoy hard hitting CQB that is all about speed and aggression, being quiet and moving slowly in crouched positions is not something I am used to, and of course, being prone in the mud is not something I particularly fancied (I have absolutely no shame admitting that I am a fair weather airsofter). We waited for a few moments until we heard footsteps moving through the dense woodland on the ground below us. I heard fire from Diane’s position, and a male voice shout ‘out!’ then unexpectedly there was incoming fire and a female voice shouting ‘Out! Medic!’, I looked around to make sure it was clear to move to Diane’s position, as I crawled along the floor I realised Diane had moved forward so silently that I hadn’t heard her. I made my way down the hill towards her position, watching for any movement ahead of the dead player. Suddenly a player jumped out towards his position to medic him back into the game, I took him out then medic’d Diane back into the game. We made our way down the hill through the brambles (getting our feet caught as we went) and moved in the direction of where the players had come from because we had only eliminated two of their team. Moving through the top end of the site we came into contact with another team which ended in an intense battle! We were flanked by a member of their team and ended up being taken out. The action that day was absolutely intense, and honestly? It was one of the best game days I’ve had!

After the private game day, tired and muddy we made our way back to Diane’s home to prepare for the next day and refuel! On Sunday morning we were up super early to drive the hour and a half to AMA France Airsoft – a large woodland site in a tiny village outside the city of Paris. The site itself is located at the heart of the forest of Lainville en Vexin and it is huge. The terrain is dense, thick ferns with towering trees. The dirt roads that run through the site lead to all the landmarks on the site – the Star Gate and laboratory, the trenches, the pallet village, the trains and the church. One thing that is really clear about AMA France Airsoft is that they put a lot of time, effort and funds into their site.

We arrived on site and we were directed into the safe zone, which is a large wooden complex that has gear tables under cover and a recreational area that is focused around a large fire pit which serves a way to keep warm on those chilly days but also a BBQ at lunch. There was around 70-80 players on the day. Once we had got all our kit to the gear tables and started getting ready, we went through the comprehensive safety brief, the brief was entirely in French but Diane graciously acted as my translator for the trip so I didn’t miss out on anything! Unfortunately GCSE French is not enough to get you through an entire game day but fortunately, most of the players spoke English to a high standard. When I go away to different countries I always try to use as much of the native language as possible and I discovered that I still retained a lot of French words so the language barrier wasn’t really an issue!

The game day at AMA was based on the film ‘The Fifth Element’. If you’re unfamiliar with the film, it is set in the 23rd century and the universe is threatened by an evil race called the Mangalores. The only hope for the universe is the Fifth Element, the Fifth Element only visits Earth every 5,000 years to protect the humans with the four elements in the form of four stones: fire, water, Earth and air. On the Fifth Element’s return to Earth, the Mondoshawan spaceship is destroyed by the Mangalores. 

Later on in the film, a team of scientists use the DNA of the remains of the Fifth Element to rebuild the being, and she is named Leeloo. Leeloo escapes from the laboratory that she is kept in and meets a taxi driver and former elite commando who helps her accomplish her mission. Her main goal is to retrieve the elemental stones from a singer named Diva – the stones are hidden inside Diva’s body.

In the morning game, our mission was to find the priest and Leeloo from the story and get them to the designated areas before the Mangalores could. The firefights in the morning were intense and I got to fight through a lot of the landmark areas of the site such as the trains and the pallet village. For this half of the day, I got to run with Dye and a lot of the players from the previous day. Our team retrieved both the priest and Leeloo before the morning game was up. Now my role in the story was the Singer and it really came into play in the afternoon. Obviously the stones could not be hidden inside my body (that would be an odd one!) so AMA popped them in a briefcase for me and my mission for the afternoon was to get the stones from my base at the trenches to Leeloo’s location at the Pallet Village (which as you can imagine, like the name suggests is a village of pallets). As the other teams descended on our base at the trenches, our team sat ready in defensive positions as myself and Marc moved the Elemental stones, one by one to Leeloo in the village which was a short walk away. After all 4 stones were transported to their final destination, I stayed in the village with Leeloo to defend them as the other team slowly pushed forward, the day ended in a fierce firefight at the pallet village. Our team defended the elemental stones and the universe was saved!

Overall, our day at AMA France Airsoft was awesome! The site was epic, the game was engaging and fun and the level of play was awesome!

My trip to Paris was a definite success! I just want to take the time to thank our editor Nige for flying me out, my hosts Diane and her husband Julien for their hospitality and for showing me such a great time in Paris, and of course to the airsoft community for giving me such a warm welcome and making my trip so memorable. I can’t wait to return in the future!

 Hardwick, K. (2017). Femme Fatale in France. Airsoft Action. 82 (Xmas), 28-31.

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