Bastille Day: French National Day

Bastille Day Paris

Bastille Day is a beautiful extravaganza that celebrates the French culture. Several public events are held to commemorate this French National Day, also called La Fête Nationale or the National Celebration. It falls on July 14th every year.

The Beginning

Bastille Day is very special to France because it was on this day that the French Revolution began way back on July 14, 1789. It all started with the Storming of the Bastille. Fed up with the harsh rule of Bourbon monarchy, the troops stormed the fortress and kick started what came to be a huge revolution.

On July 14, 1790, the country celebrated the unity of its people through the tough times. The entire country came alive with festivities and that day still remains a reminiscence of French history. The day is also important since it gave rise to the concept of constitutional monarchy in the country.

The Celebrations

Since 1790, it has remained a regular celebration in the French calendar, except during the years of World War II. Even today, the French military parade that happens on July 14th is the largest and the oldest parades in the whole of Europe.

The parade is inaugurated by the President of France. It takes place in front of foreign guests, French government officials and the President. Military air shows are also usually a part of the parade and celebrations.

The parade showcases all departments of the French armed forces. It includes service personnel, both men and women, from different units, military school cadets, soldiers from French Foreign Legion and personnel from the French Navy.

The Paris Fire Brigade brings up the tail end with great aplomb. Civilian parades are another interesting spectacle of Bastille Day. Civilians dressed in gorgeous costumes parade on the streets, making for quite a visual treat.

In addition to the parade,  it’s also famous for firework displays, parties, concerts, dances, grand balls, communal meals and folk festivities. After the parade, people like to go out on picnics to the countryside to celebrate the real culture of the country.

The most famous landmark of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Bastille Day. The national flag consisting of three vertical stripes in blue, white and red is the other important symbol of the day. The tricolors of the national flag can be seem all over the country on this day. You can also see the French people painting their faces with the colors of their national flag.

Witnessing the stunning extravaganza displayed on this Day is indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience.