The most important celebration in France, Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution, when rioters stormed the Bastille prison on July 14th, 1789. Though there were only four lonely prisoners there at the time of the attack, it was the event that marked the beginning of the end for the French monarchy. It would take a few more revolutions to bring forth democracy, but France celebrates this day as the birth of the French Republic.
So what should you do in Paris for Bastille Day? See our picks for the best things to do for the 14 (quatorze)
Wake up early to watch an epic spectacle – the traditional military parade on Champs-Élysées. Beginning promptly at 10am, spectators gather on the sidewalks of the famous avenue to view the French military march from the Arc de Triomphe all the way to the Place de la Concorde. The impressive fighter jets soar through the sky leaving behind a patriotic trail of bleu, blanc, rouge behind. President Macron will be in attendance along with other important guests, as is the tradition every year.
Many museums around the capital offer free entry for the Fête
Les Invalides, the military museum and home of Napoleon’s tomb, also opens its doors for Bastille Day, and the Panthéon is also free from 1-7pm and offers special events including conferences and guided tours.
Catch a free jazz concert at the beautiful Musée du Quai-Branly in the 7th Arrondissement. If you’re planning to view the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower, then this is a good place to be right before as it’s very close to the Iron Lady! It’s just a short walk to your next destination!
The pyrotechnic spectacle at the Eiffel Tower is a sight not to be missed. Beginning around
Watch the fireworks alight from the highest hill in Paris – the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Montmartre. Take a blanket, a wine bottle, and see the whole city sparkle from here.
If you want to dance and drink with some of the bravest men and women in Paris, don’t miss the Bal des Pompiers, The Firemen’s Ball. Taking place at certain fire stations throughout the city, it’s a chance to enjoy a little music, and meet a few French firefighters. Admission fees vary by location, but you can find participating stations here.
Happy Bastille Day!
Will Les Bleues be able to defeat defending champions Team USA? Or will one of the outsiders like China, Brazil, or The Netherlands surprise us all by winning the cup? We'll find out soon as the tournament kicks off this Friday, June 7 at 9 pm, continuing all month until the champion is crowned in Lyon on July 7.