Bastille Day celebrations rock Paris

Get ready for another French celebration – as the Revolution that signified the end of the Monarchy back in 1789 is remembered up and down the country on Bastille Day – an annual event that takes place on July 14th! It’s a national holiday here in France but in reality, it’s more like a national celebration and everyone is in the mood to party.  There will be major events for the whole family to enjoy, so this is a chance to get into the spirit of the biggest French event of the year here in Paris.

For starters, you can expect a Parisian lockdown on Sunday as the rollout of the festivities begins. After months of preparation, the day kicks off with a jaw-dropping  grand military parade on the Champs-Elysees which kicks off at 10:30am. Bookended by an appearance and speech from President Macron,  thousands of people will be surrounding the monument waving the French flag with boundless enthusiasm! Vive la France!

10.10am: Arrival of French President
10.30am: Start of parade
11.45am: End of parade
12pm: Departure of French President

After this, you can take a little breather, perhaps grab some lunch or take a boat ride on the River Seine and then maybe head to one of the free music concerts on offer. Both the Pantheon and the Musee du quai Branly are throwing open their doors to give you and the family the chance to stay in the Bastille Day vibe by enjoying a musical ensemble. Expect jazzy beats on the roof garden at the Branly Museum and music from the 19th century at The Pantheon.

Also, for the 7th consecutive year, the Orchestre National de France and the Choeur de Radio France will give a big concert of operatic works at the foot of the Eiffel Tower starring the greatest international artists. This free, quality event in this amazing setting starts at 9.30pm, preceding the highly anticipated fireworks display that commences at 11pm.

The Fireworks at the Eiffel Tower is probably the most loved part of the day. It is the moment that everyone is waiting for and it brings this annual Bastille celebration and national holiday to a climactic close.  The rest of Paris couldn’t be quieter as people swarm the suburbs and the other 19 arrondissements, towards the Eiffel Tower for a bright colourful sky concerto that never disappoints.  The display can be watched from the Champs de Mars or the Trocadero and it lasts for around 30 minutes. It’s pretty spectacular! Definitely, do not miss it whilst you’re in Paris. It’ll be over by 11:30 so get there early and find a good spot.

Here’s a peek at what it looked like last year.

On top of all of the above, this is the weekend of the Firemans Ball which traditionally takes place over Bastille weekend. All the fire stations are open to the public and become party venues; and the firefighters’ dance with all the revellers.

It is so much fun and given it only happens once a year, make a plan to soak up this experience. Here is the link where you can find the address of your nearest fire station.

So with all that said, what is the Bastille Day celebration really about? Here are some essential historical facts you need to know.

  • The Bastille was a prison that represented the absolute power of the Monarch and symbolised a corrupt government.
  • In 1789 The Bastille held seven influential prisoners.
  • On July 14 an angry group of Parisians stormed the prison.
  • King Louis XVI and his wife Marie ‘let them eat cake’ Antoinette, went into hiding at Versailles.
  • The peasants in the city went wild, burning and pillaging houses and destroying symbols of the aristocracy.
  • This symbolised the beginning of the French Revolution.
  • To the French, this date represents the downfall of the Monarchy and recognised that power could be held by ordinary citizens, not by the king or God!

We hope you have a fabulous  Sunday, enjoy every moment.

Up the Revolution! Enjoy Bastille Day!

Love MLP x

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