Bastille Day is a common English term for French National Day. As the Independence Day of the United States, this celebration takes place on July 14 of each year. Formally called Lafete Nationale (The national celebration), or more generally La quatorze Juillet (July 14) in France. The French do not use the term “Bastille Day”.
The French Revolution officially began on July 14, 1789, in the hope that the Jambon-Beurians would attack the Bastille for ammunition and free those who had been illegally imprisoned. Bastille Day is celebrated in France to commemorate the attack on the Bastille, so in many respects, it could be July 14, 1789, with the official response “When did the French Revolution start?” However, there are many factors in the years of elaboration that led to the storming of the Bastille, and true historians would argue that the French Revolution began before that night of July 14.
History of Bastille Day
Bastille Day is a public holiday celebrating the storming of the Bastille (military fortress and prison) on July 14, 1789, in a fierce rebellion that heralded the arrival of the French Revolution. In addition to holding gunpowder and other supplies of value to the revolutionary, the Bastille symbolized the French monarchy, especially the ruthless tyranny of Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette.
Bastille built in the 1300s during the Hundred Years War with England, Bastille was designed to protect the eastern entrance to the city of Paris. The massive defense of the dreaded stone building was upheld with more than 80 regular soldiers and 30 Swiss mercenaries, along with 30-meter-high walls and a large moat.
As a prison, it contained political opponents (such as the Voltaire writers and philosophers), many of whom were trapped without a trial ordered by the king. However, it was scheduled to be dismantled in 1789 and replaced by a public square. In addition, it was extended to only seven prisoners. Four were charged with forgery, two were deemed “crazy” and one was arrested at the request of his family.
The infamous Marquis de Sade, from whom the word “sadist” is derived, was also imprisoned there. However, he was taken away earlier that summer after accidentally shouting through the window that the prisoners inside had been massacred.
Causes of the French Revolution
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette continued to spend extravagantly, including helping the American colony gain independence from Britain, despite taking on huge debt from their predecessor. In the late 1780s, the French government was on the brink of economic disaster.
To make matters worse, the widespread poor harvest of 1788 caused a national famine. During peak hours, the average worker spent around 88% of their salary on that staple, as the price of bread was so high.
Unemployment was also a problem, with the public partially blaming the recently lowered tariffs between France and Britain. After a harsh winter, bakeries, granaries, and other food storage facilities began to suffer violent food riots in France.
Louis XVI and the Tennis Court Oath
To solve the crisis, Louis XVI was appointed a long-dormant Estates-General, a parliament divided by social classes into three orders: clergy (first housing complex), aristocrats (second housing complex), and common people (third housing complex).
Although it constituted approximately 98% of the population, two counterparts could be voted on third states. As a result of this inequality, the agent soon began to search for a stronger voice. After failing to take the first step, they declared a new organization called Parliament.
Finding the door to the conference room closed on June 20, 1789, they met at a nearby indoor tennis court. There, he rebelled against the king and then took a well-known oath on the tennis court according to new constitution.
The National Assembly
Louis XVI grudgingly agreed when many aristocrats and ministers crossed to attend parliament. However, he also moved some military regiments to and around Paris, fearing that he would force the dissolution of parliament.
Then, on July 11, the king removed his only non-noble minister, the popular and reformist Jacques Necker. The next day, protesting crowds rushed into the streets of Paris, harassing royalist soldiers and withdrawing from the city. The crowd also burned down most of Paris’s nasty customs, which tax goods, and began desperately searching for weapons and food.
On the morning of July 14, a rebel mob seized some 32,000 muskets and several cannons from the Hotel de Anvarid (military hospital) before resorting to a large amount of gunpowder stored in the Bastille.
Storming of the Bastille
Governor Bernard-René de Launay of Bastille was watching July 14 for fear of a large number of angry revolutionaries surrounding the fortress.
Without direct orders from Louis XVI, he allegedly received them warmly and promised not to fire. But as the discussions went on, the outsiders became restless. Some people may have thought their representatives were imprisoned.
Finally, a group of men clambered up the outer wall and lowered the drawbridge into the Bastille courtyard, allowing the crowd to enter in droves. When the men began trying to lower the second drawbridge, de Launay broke his oath and ordered the soldiers to fire. Almost 100 attackers were killed in the attack and dozens were injured, but the royalists lost only one soldier.
The Bastille Is Dismantled
But that same afternoon, the tide turned when a rebel detachment of the French Guards appeared. The French guards permanently stationed in Paris were known to sympathize with the revolutionaries. De Rhone, who was not well prepared for a long-term siege, waved the white flag of surrender as the cannon began to explode at the Bastille.
Captive, he marched to the town hall, where a bloodthirsty crowd separated him from the escort, killed him, then cut off his head and paraded through the city with a pike. Several other royalist soldiers were also massacred, anticipating horrific bloodshed that played an important role during and after the French Revolution.
In the wake of the Bastille raid, the prison fortress was systematically dismantled until almost nothing was left. Louis XVI, a de facto prisoner since October 1789, was sent to the guillotine a few years later. Shortly after, Marie Antoinette was beheaded.
How to celebrate Bastille Day
As the Independence Day of the United States, Bastille Day, known in France as the Day of the French Revolution or Le 14 Jouyer (July 14), is a French holiday that is celebrated with national festivals such as fires, fireworks, parades.
Participants see the French tricolor flag, hear the French slogans Liberté, Egalite, Fraternite (“freedom, equality, friendship”), and break into singing La Marseillaise are the popular symbols of France that originated at the height of the French Revolution.
One of the oldest annual military parades in the world, French troops have been marching along the Champs Elysees in Paris every year since Bastille Day in 1880, in front of French government officials and world leaders.
Bastille Day 2021
This year also Bastille Day celebrations have been planned with some special events in Paris,
Celebrate Bastille Day with a full-day champagne tasting tour from Paris to Reims for a unique experience in France. Visit 3 champagne makers and taste up to 8 glasses of champagne. Toast to Liberté, Egalite and Fraternite and visit the fascinating city of Reims. Many French kings were crowned in Reims before the collapse of the monarchy.
Take a 3-hour gourmet food tasting tour of the Marais district with a local guide – explore the best-preserved medieval areas of the city, see popular cultural sites, and delicious food along the way. After tasting French wine and spirits, you can finally visit the lively bars and restaurants on your own on the Place de la Bastille.
Visit the infamous French Revolutionary Prison Paris Conciergerie while Marie Antoinette spent the last days of terrorism.
Paris Highlights A 3-hour bike tour combines fresh air, easy exercise, and sightseeing, as your guide tells a fascinating story about life in Paris, as well as the most important sights of the city. Take a look at some special places that only the locals know about.
Bastille Day Fireworks and Free Concerts – Eiffel Tower
A truly spectacular Bastille Day fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero Gardens across the Seine illuminates the Paris night sky in dazzling light. The show follows a different theme each year, and each year you will swear the exhibit is the best of all.
Approximately 1 million Parisians and visitors to Paris can have a picnic or relax in the afternoon at the Champ de Mars, a large lawned park that surrounds the Eiffel Tower. If you want to drink wine or champagne as part of your picnic, start before as the Champ de Mars closes alcohol.
Image: Yann Caradec
Champ de Mars is also the venue for free outdoor concerts during the evening hours. At 9:10 pm, a special concert of classical music and opera begins with internationally renowned artists with musicians playing from the base of the Eiffel Tower and special lighting effects, France Inter and France 2 Television, but it will be broadcast live.
The fireworks start at 11:00 pm and it will continue about 35 minutes on the sky.
At least four metro stations around the Eiffel Tower (Passy, Dupleix, Ecole Militaire, Bir-Hakeim) will be completely closed, but other stations (La Motte Picquet-Grenelle, Trocadero) may have only one open entrance. Lena station closes at 9 p.m.
Bastille Day Fireworks Cruises
For an unforgettable experience, watch the Bastille Day fireworks from a cruise on the Seine. Pass all the iconic sights along the Seine and enjoy dinner, fine wines, and perhaps music and dancing, with dazzling fireworks in the sky.
So far only one cruise line offers this year’s Bastille Day dinner cruise, but it’s a great option with a glass canopy boat. Located on the river in front of the Eiffel Tower, the perfect place to watch the fireworks light up the sky, there is a romantic 4-hour cruise on the Seine passing the main sights of the city. Enjoy a special 6-course dinner with live music plus champagne and wine. Only fireworks on July 14 are available at night. For safety reasons, the capacity will be reduced this year. This cruise always sells out early so you don’t have to wait to book.
For a fun river excursion on Bastille Day, choose a 3-course gourmet lunch, white and red wine, an optional cheese plate, and a 2-hour lunch cruise on the Seine River with live music on board. This cruise runs every day from July (and some days in June), but Bastille Day cruises are especially popular. So, if you want, make a reservation in advance.
Where to Watch the Bastille Day Fireworks in Paris
This year’s fireworks display has yet to announce display rules, but it may be a bit different than it was before the pandemic.
To find out what to expect (although this year may be more relaxing), what happened last year is: The rally around the Eiffel Tower on the Champ de Mars is prohibited from 11:00 a.m. and it started at 4:00 p.m. at the Trocadero and Pont d’Iéna. Jena Bridge. As of 7:00 p.m., the entire area from Pont de Grenelle to Pont de l’Alma is no longer opened to the public (although residents and people staying in hotels in these areas could enter with additional documents).
If you don’t want to attend the millions of Parisians on the Champ de Mars, or if you don’t have a reservation for a Bastille Day fireworks cruise, you can watch the fireworks show from anywhere in Paris. Eiffel Tower: there are many places. There are the places that can you see fireworks besides a cruise on the Seine.
- Anywhere along or near the river (outside the gated area) with views of the Eiffel Tower
- Bridge over the river Seine (except in closed areas)
- Hotel rooms with views of the Eiffel Tower (or if the hotel has a rooftop terrace available to guests)
- Public spaces overlooking parks and nearby views, such as the Jardin des Tuileries and Place de la Concorde
- Parks des Buttes-Chaumont (19th arrondissement) and Parc de Belleville (20th arrondissement), further parks with views of the slopes
- From the top of the Montmartre hill (18th Avenue), in front of the Sacre Coeur, or from a nearby street where you can find unobstructed views.
- Rooftop bar and terrace (Ask the hotel for nearby suggestions and help with booking)
For up-close views, one as popular area (and sometimes even busier) as Champ de Mars is Trocadero, which crosses the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. Again, you must arrive early to stake your spot.
Beware of pickpockets, as well as in densely populated areas almost anywhere in the world.
Other popular viewing areas that may be less crowded include the nearby banks of the River Seine, the river bridges, Ile de Signes (accessed from the Ponde Grenell Bridge or the Pondeville Hakeim Bridge), and Place de la Concorde. , And even in some areas of the Tuileries Garden (there are many trees, so you should choose the location of the Tuileries Garden carefully).
Many metro stations near the Eiffel Tower close at 7 pm at the earliest. Duplex, Ecole-Militaire, Passy, Jena, Trocadero, Mott Picket Grenelle, etc. for security reasons. You will see closure signs posted at the station. Most city buses run, but the route changes. Security barricades may be installed in some locations.
Therefore, whenever possible, choose a viewing location that allows you to walk or get to a subway station well beyond the security zone.
It is not a night to depend on taxis and humans as it is full of people!
Bastille Day Parade & Military Flyover
Bastille Day celebrations Bastille Day begin at 10 am with formal military exercises at the Arc de Triomphe. Starting with the impressive trumpet, cornet, and drum fanfare, we will inspect and announce the arrival of the President of the French Republic, who will visit and preside over the assembled army, In addition to other rituals and compliments.
Image: Jérémy Barande
Around 10:45 a.m., a spectacular elevated highway for military aircraft in the colors of the French flag passes overhead.
A huge military parade down the Champs Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde starts at 11:00 am and lasts about an hour. This includes representatives of the French elite military regiment in vehicles, including hiking, horseback riding, and tanks.
If you want a good view of the parade, plan to arrive at 8 am or earlier. The crowd is usually large (unless the weather is bad) – because you have to be behind a barricade that leaves little space along the sidewalk – and you have to go through a security check.
For breathtaking views, book one of your rooms or suites overlooking the 5-star parade route at the Paris Marriott Champs Elysees. You should expect the price to be high, but the view will be high.
Alternatively, you can reserve a seat on the upper floors of the cafe along the Champs Elysees by stopping a few days before to reserve a table by the window.
If you want to skip the parade but want to see the flight of a military plane, the logistics are much easier: you can see the plane from many parts of the city.
Nearby parks, such as the Jardin des Tuileries and the Esplanade des Invalides (left bank), are ideal places to see, as the line of sight is not blocked by nearby buildings.
Metro Stations & Streets Are Closed for the Parade?
Due to the parade and elevated roads, around half a dozen subway stations will be fully or partially closed on the morning of Jul 14.
At least two metro stations in the parade area (Tuileries and Concorde) will be completely closed, and stations along the Champs Elysees (Champs Elysees Clemenceau, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George V, CDG-Étoile) will be closed or the entrance will be closed. Only one is open. If they are fully open, they will be mobs, just like other nearby stations (Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, Terne, Alma-Marceau, Victor Hugo, Gare de Neuilly / Porte Maillot, and even on the left bank of the Invalides).
Vehicles are closed from 6:30 am to 1:00 pm on the Champs Elysees and other nearby streets. That is, the bus route will be changed to avoid this area. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a bottle of water (or two). Champs Elysees – You can expect tight security in the Place de la Concorde area.
Firemen’s Balls- Bastille Day Biggest Parties
A tradition that began a century ago after the Bastille Day fireworks, the festival continues throughout the city at the Leval de Pompierre (firefighters dance) organized by fire departments across Paris.
If the “dances” remind you of a vision of formal attire and a stuffy atmosphere, rest assured that these dances are the exact opposite. A casual outdoor party with lots of music, dancing, champagne, and fun.
The firefighters’ dance will be held on July 13 and 14, beginning at 9 pm and continuing until 4 am. They are open to the public and are a great way for visitors to experience the “real” Paris on Bastille Day.
More Things to Do on Bastille Day in Paris
Most of the museums, department stores, and larger shopping complexes in Paris open on Bastille Day. (Summer sales are still ongoing!) The Arc de Triomphe is open only in the afternoon due to the Bastille Day parade in the morning.
The Louvre, Orsay, Picasso, the Catacombs, the Pompidou Center, the Paris Zoo, the Adaptation Gardens, and other popular museums and outdoor attractions are expected to attract large numbers of people. Lesser-known places are Dali Paris, Conciergerie, Palace of Discovery, Guimet Oriental Museum, Great Perfume Museum, Science and Industry Museum, Paris Museum of Modern Art.
All parks in Paris, such as the Bois de Boulogne Accrimation Park and the Paris Zoological Park / Paris Zoo (Vincennes Zoo), are open and there are several large public swimming pools (Paris Plage Pool, 5th Piscine Pontwards, Josephine Baker). It is also available. A great water boulevard on 15, a Chappelle on 17, and Georges Valerie on 20).
Many neighborhood bakeries and small produce stores will open (but in some cases only in the morning) to allow Parisians to purchase picnic supplies. Many locals spend at least part of their Bastille day relaxing in the park with family, friends, food, and wine.
The metro and city buses operate normally, except that the Champs Elysees and the stations around the Eiffel Tower / Champ de Mars are closed.