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Join us in Celebrating Bastille Day
July has been quite a month in France and it isn’t over yet! The UEFA European Championships welcomed fans from across Europe to support their country and the atmosphere has been electric, not to mention the excitement of the Tour de France. The celebrations continue on Thursday as the whole of France commemorates Bastille Day.
‘La Fête Nationale’ as it’s known in France honours the French Republic and the storming of the Bastille on the 14th July 1789. The French national holiday celebrations are not to be missed, if you are lucky enough to be in France this week you are certainly in for a treat!
To mark the anniversary, events will take place from morning until night, locals take to the streets for parties as well as attending impressive public jamborees from musical performances to firework displays, and those famous and old fashioned ‘bal du village’.
The festivities are held throughout France starting with oldest and largest military parade in Europe. Trumpets and bugles herald the arrival of the President of the French Republic on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Overhead you can catch glimpse of the impressive military aircrafts that soar over the parade route and hordes of crowds fill the world’s most beautiful avenue to watch the French army march in perfect union. You can hear the sound of drums echo along the Champs- Elysées as service men and women from various units including cadets from military schools, the French Foreign Legion and the French Navy take part in the parade.
It wouldn’t be the 14th July without a spectacular firework display that sets Paris alight! This year’s theme is ‘Paris est une fête’ meaning ‘Paris is a party’ and it certainly will be! The iconic Eiffel Tower and garden of Trocadéro present an extravagant display of dazzling and multi-coloured fireworks, set beautifully against the stunning Parisian backdrop. As the display doesn’t take place until 11pm you can fill your day with family meals, picnics in the sun and free entry to local cultural attractions. Before we share our ideas for the perfect 14th July you’ll need to know where you can get the best view of the evenings firework display. For the ultimate experience of Bastille Day many choose to take in the fireworks whilst cruising down the River Seine, giving you a real taste of Paris during this special day.
It’s tradition in Paris that once the firework display is over the visitors and Parisians head to the Bals des Pompiers (Fireman’s Ball) held at Fire Stations across the capital. The celebrations continue into the early hours and any money raised is used to improve the working conditions to the local firefighters. Others choose to spend Bastille Day at home with communal meals, dances and their own firework displays. A day for friends and family is enjoyed by everyone, you may see the customary colours of the French flag displayed in pretty bunting hanging in homes and on buildings as well as banners and even painted on the faces of partygoers celebrating the day in style.
As well as free entry to the Louvre, balls and garden parties there are plenty of fun places to spend Bastille Day. Museums and moments stay open throughout the day for you to enjoy some local culture or relax in the local public parks and pools. As if an enormous firework display isn’t enough, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower you will find the Orchestre national de France and the Choeur de Radio France. The operatic concert is free and will set the scene for the rest of the evening’s celebrations!