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CultureJuly 14th in France (Bastille Day)

See Bastille Day fireworks

Small town Bastille Day parade.

Fête de la Fédération on July 14, 1790.

July 14th is known to many outside France as Bastille Day. In France, July 14th is called fête nationale or le 14 Juillet. It's a double anniversary, the storming of the Bastille on July 14th 1789 and Fête de la Fédération on July 14th 1790. It symbolizes the end of the Monarchy and the beginning of what is now called the First French Republic. The Bastille, a prison at the time, was stormed on July 14, 1789. This event came to represent the end of the king's power and the transfer of power to the people. The Fête de la Fédération was a celebration a year later throughout France that brought the French together in a national unity not seen until then. In 1880 when July 14th became a national holiday, both July 14th 1789 and July 14th 1790 were cited.

Today, Bastille Day is a national holiday and a day of celebration more like Fête de la Fédération than the storming of the Bastille. July 14th takes the form of parades and fireworks. The most famous military parade takes place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris and has all the pomp and pageantry you would expect. The Republican Guard - The French President's personal guards, leads the parade. Bastille Day and the days leading up to it are one of the few times when you will see the French flag everywhere. In general, the French are very low-key about their flag, only showing it off on special days like Bastille Day.

Be warned, sometimes Bastille Day is celebrated on July 13th. I learned this once the hard way when I missed a local parade that had taken place not on July 14th but on July 13th. Also, most stores and shops are closed.

The storming of the Bastille on July 14th 1789.

July 14th parade.

Related Article:
Paris on July 14th.

Related links
14 JULY -- A NATIONAL HOLIDAY IN FRANCE
Embassy of France in the US - Bastille Day: July 14

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