France’s biggest national holiday, July 14, marks the storming of the Bastille prison, which heralded the end of absolute monarchy.In France, everyone gets the day off and festivities start on July 13.
Fire station balls
Every year, no less than 40 fire stations are transformed into big public dance halls for the weekend.Music, dancing, drinks: Parisians are happy and fun until the early morning.
Military parade on the Champs-Élysées
Bastille Day is a chance for the French to honor their fighting men and women.Traditionally, a huge procession parades down the Champs-Elysées, from the Place de l’Etoile (Arc de Triomphe) to the Place de la Concorde, where the French President watches, with many members of the government and foreign ambassadors on the VIP stand.
Groups of service-members on marching on foot, horseback, or in vehicles, parade to the sound of drums of brass bands, while military planes, equipped with smoke canisters, pass by over the avenue.
Such a grandiose parade, rebroadcast on television, and followed by millions of people!
Bastille Day fireworks at the Trocadéro
To wrap up the festive weekend, don’t miss the magnificent fireworks.The show generally starts at 11 p.m. and lasts around 30 minutes. Champs de Mars, Trocadéro gardens, Palais de Tokyo, Pont de l’Alma, barges…There are many choice locations.A word of warning, however, if you want to get a good spot and not be blocked by the crowd, you need to arrive around 8 p.m.