How to Celebrate Bastille Day in Paris


This blog post is a special edition about Bastille Day in France.  Every year the nation celebrates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 which was the beginning of the first French Revolution.  The lower class individuals believed the Bastille was a symbol of the power and hypocrisy of the nobility and they hoped that by taking down the Bastille they would be able to capture enough ammunition to start a real revolution.

Today, French people recognize this as the official end of the monarchy and the beginning of the republic.  The celebrations include a celebratory parade down the Champs Élysées and fireworks (feu d’artifice) on the Eiffel Tower.

As a foreigner participating in the festivities during my language camp in Paris, it is really cool to watch another nation celebrate their national holiday.  Whether it be hearing jets fly super low over the city (and hearing shouts throughout the school of “Is this an air raid?!”), or eating street vendor food while waiting four and a half hours for a firework show, the experience is very special.

The first thing we did to celebrate the day was go to a little fair in the Tuileries and do rides and eat junk food.  As an American teenager away from home, it was good to indulge in a little bit of junk food.  Like cotton candy!


One of my favorite parts of the day was sitting with my friends and watching all of the people walk by and attempting to guess their nationalities.  It was a great filler activity for the four and a half hours we spent waiting on a patch of grass with our counselors waiting for the fireworks to start.  We also played a game called 94% with our counselors to increase our French vocab knowledge.

Additionally, there were street vendors selling street food everywhere, but not the kind of food you would expect, like hamburgers and hot dogs, but rather kebobs in baguettes with onions on top.  My friends and I all got some and it was very, very good.

The fireworks were magical.  It was a roughly 35 minute show of multi-colored fireworks shooting out of the Eiffel Tower and creating a very patriotic and magical atmosphere.  The experience is something I will never forget in my entire life.

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