So I was really bummed that I missed Bastille Day last year; I was in England, working in the London 2012 Olympic Games. However! I am SO excited that this year, I’m in Paris and the celebration plans are well underway!
For those of you who maybe don’t know what the significance of this day is for the French, I suggest you don’t visit Paris until you do. The 14th of July is by far the most celebrated of all dates in France, followed shortly after by the 21st of June, being Fete de la Musique ( what can I say? The French know how to party, and then some!)
The 14th July 1789: The city of Paris was a hot mess, to put it lightly. As is given in its English name, this was the day the working class Parisians decided they had had enough of the monarchy and their extravegant spending of the country’s economy. In a ditch attempt to grasp government attention, the working class banded together and took to the Streets of Paris in protest of this injustice, before deciding to close in on the Bastille Prison, which at the time, was only holding about 9 prisoners (it’s the quality over the quantity point here, right?)
This day is symbolic of the French Revolution and can be seen as having had a significant impact on how society operates even until today’s lifestyle ( the French also LOVE a good manif.) The idea of revolution and change, as you will notice when visiting Paris, is still alive and kicking in the best possible way. You’ve gotta hand to em, they voice their opinions will not go down without a fight.
So, you say you’re in Paris too during le quartorze juillet? With NOTHING to do? How is this possible, when there’s a whole weekend full of celebratory activities calling your name! I present to you:
**The “Storming” of Paris’ Bastille Day célébrations**
1. Bang, Bang, Bang!
Probably Paris’ most well attended bastille day event is that of the Bastille Day fireworks, having attracted one million people back in 1979, it bagged itself a Guinness World Record for that very reasion. The theme for this years’ is “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” the three immortalising words of the French Revolution, which looks set to make it a very loud and proud occasion. For the super early birds, free concerts and fabulous food will be available around the area all day in the run up to the fireworks.
*Sunday 14th July. Starts from 23:00 but be advised to arrive early. Metro Trocadéro, RER Champ de Mars.*
2. Crepes “a la tricolor”
The idea of having the opportunity to make and paint a crepe in the patriotic colours of red, white and blue and then eating it, for FREE, and without pre inscrition, tickles me pink. If this puts a smile on your dial, head on down to Wanderlust on Saturday the 13th to be a part of this super duper cute Bastille hommage. Did I mention that it’s FREE?
*metro Quai D’Austerlitz.*
3. Drummer Boy
If parades and marching bands are more your thing, you may want to consider a visit to the Champs Elysees, which will see the French military out in full force (literally) down this magnificent avenue.
*Metro Charles de Gaulle – Etoile.*
If you are in Paris this weekend, or might be considering it, take it from someone who missed it last year: this is Paris at its absolute best ( And lets face it, Paris is pretty much perfect all year round) so if I were you, I’d hop on that Eurostar/ Megabus / jet plane, throw cares to the Wind and come and dansez avec nous!
VIVE LA FRANCE!