France Celebrates Bastille Day!

Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In France, it is formally called La fête nationale.

Bastille Day is celebrated annually on July 14 in France and French-speaking regions around the world.Signifying the start of the French Revolution, more than 200 years on it’s still a central event in the nation’s calendar, with celebrations including military parades.

The storming of the Bastille prison by angry crowds in 1789 Paris may have been a violent day, but nowadays it’s marked peacefully by millions.Fireworks light skies above the Eiffel Tower as part of France's annual Bastille Day celebrations

Below is a brief History of the Bastille day:

he events of July 14, 1789 helped entrench La Fête Nationale – the national holiday – in France.

After all, they helped to kickstart the revolution which saw an out-of-touch monarchy ditched as people took back power from the elites.The day itself is celebrated in true Gallic style annually – since 1790 – with events held throughout France.

Bastille Day celebrations

The ‘Fête de la Fédération’ as they call it sees the oldest and largest military parade in Europe held in the morning on Paris’ iconic Champs-Élysées.Gathering more than 4,000 military and police personnel, the event is attended by the French President – currently François Hollande – and assorted French dignitaries.

In the evening, La Tour Eiffel takes centre stage as the sight of some pretty audacious fireworks.The Bastille started out as a medieval fortress around 1370 in Paris, but later became a prison.

Under King Louis XVI, many opponents of the monarchy were kept there, often without trial.

But in 1789, tensions boiled over when the monarchy’s failings coupled with high taxes and food prices incited people to revolt.Kicking back against the feudal system, members of the public – including many starving through poverty – decided to hit back against Louis XVI’s plans to raise taxes further.

Targeted because of its symbolism of royal rule, the Bastille – complete with seven prisoners – was attacked by 300 violently revolutionaries keen to get their hands on an armory stash onside.A battle ensued, where the walls were pulled down and the governor killed.

Fireworks light skies above the Eiffel Tower as part of France's annual Bastille Day celebrations

Whatever you say, don’t call it Bastille Day. That’s a British term – the French call it the much more poetic ‘la fête du 14-Juillet’, or simply ‘la fête nationale’.In fact, you don’t wish people ‘happy’ anything. Perhaps safest sticking with “Vive la France! Vive la République!” because that’s what it was all about.

Les feux d’artifice à Lagny sur Marne 2016 – Fireworks from last night at Lagny sur Marne

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