Celebrate Bastille Day In Paris
Bastille Day on the 14th July is one of Paris’ most patriotic and most celebrated events. Formally called, La Fête Nationale, or more colloquially Le quatorze juillet, it marks the start of the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille on the 14th July 1789. Nowadays, traditions are still upheld and the celebration ranks as the oldest and largest military parade in Europe. Passing through the streets of Paris and down the Champs Élysées, the parade is watched on by the President of the Republic, French officials and foreign guests – not to mention witnessed by hundreds of thousands of Parisians and tourists alike, and broadcast on French TV. History of the tradition During the reign of Louis XVI, it was a time of unrest within the people of Paris. A National Assembly was formed by the ‘common people’ in protest of the monarchy, the government and military forces. The people of Paris stormed the Bastille, a fortress-prison and symbol of autocracy, to break the prisoners free and to steal defensive weapons and gunpowder to protect themselves against their enemies. After the Storming of the Bastille, feudalism was abolished on the 4th August and one year later, on the 14th July 1790 la Fête de la Federation commemorated the anniversary of the monumental and pivotal up rise which marked a turning in French history – and victory against the king – uniting the people of France throughout the French Revolution that followed. The first celebratory event to mark the Storming of the Bastille took place down the Champs de Mars (originally outside central Paris) and a four day festival followed involving fireworks, fine wine and running naked through the streets of France to demonstrate their freedom. Where to go to celebrate Bastille Day 2014? Nowadays, the celebrations continue to mark this symbolic day of French national freedom and equal rights. Although no one streaks through the streets naked (we recommend you don’t either!) Bastille Day is widely celebrated throughout France with Paris playing host to the best ceremonies and festivities. If you’re in Paris this weekend and especially on Monday 14th July, head down to the Champs Élysées where you can watch a street parade from 9am. Make sure you wear comfy shoes, as you’ll be partying all day on and well into the night if you’ve got the stamina. The French Military parade passes down the famous street, the Champs Élysées, underneath the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, to march in front of the French President and officials of the government. The parade is accompanied with music, performers and other groups to celebrate their national day. Ending at the Eiffel Tower, a huge firework display marks the end of the festivities for some but signals the beginning of a raucous night out for others. If you want to start your celebrations early like most local Parisians, the Bal du 14 juillet is a huge dance party on the site of the the old prison, at Place de la Bastille the evening before on the 13th July if you can muster the energy! Want to learn more about how you can make your weekend in Paris stress free and save money? Find out how you can get free entry, skip the lines and travel on the transport system without paying an extra cent.