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How French People Celebrate July 14th

Updated: 2 days ago

The 14th of July is the day of the national French celebration. Established in 1880, this date commemorates both the storming of the Bastille on the 14th July 1789, which ended absolute rule, and the Festival of the Federation of the 14th July 1790.

Today, celebrations for the national festival are held all over France. The oldest and largest military parade in Europe takes place on the morning of the 14th July on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, in front of the President of the Republic, French senior officials and foreign guests. The procession is made up of military units either on foot, motorised, or in the air, and sometimes invites troops of foreign forces to parade beside the French armies.

Around 5,000 participants are taking part in the parade along the Champs-Elysées, including 4,300 on foot, 73 planes, 24 helicopters, 221 vehicles, and 200 horses from la Garde républicaine.

Numerous fireworks are let off in all cities, either on the 13th or 14th of July. The most famous display is in Paris, where thousands of people gather around the Champ-de-Mars, on the Seine, on a balcony or even on the 1st or 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower.

It isn't a day for reflection or politics. It is a day of leisurely family activities and celebrations, adorned with a lavish military parade.

The French can choose between the storming of the Bastille and the people; the Fête de la Fédération and national unity; and everything in between. Or they can simply enjoy a day off and admire the fireworks with their friends and family, oblivious to the complex story behind July 14.

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