Girl Gone Gallic’s Bastille Day Guide for Paris.
If you are so lucky to be in Paris for Bastille’s Day, there are tons of great events in which to participate. To get you started with some ideas, try these…
The Military Parade
The oldest largest military parade of all of Europe; it has been held in Paris since 1880 each 14th of July. The parade passes from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champ Elysées to the Place de la Concorde (where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were guillotined) and ends in front of the French President of the Republic who presides over the ceremonies.
Make a day of it and take a walk around the area
Try this walk that goes Les Invalides through the 7th arrondissement to the Eiffel Tower (download PDF) : Parcours Des Invalides à la Tour Eiffel.
Listen to Music Concerts at the Eiffel Tower
Right at sunset, preceding the firework displays, free concerts are held every year on the Champs-de-Mars. Check the listings to find out when and what artists will be performing on www.parisinfo.com.
Watch the Fireworks (Feu d’artifice)
As my child would say, what’s most important is that there are fireworks ! Glorious wonderful fireworks … It wouldn’t be the same without them.
If you are in Paris and go to the Champs-de-Mars underneath the Eiffel Tower to see the fireworks (these days they are launched right off the tower), expect about 500,000 friends to be there with you.
If you want to try your viewing luck from somewhere else, try one of these awesome spots in Paris :
ON THE SEINE
The bridges of Paris – Pont des Arts, le Pont de la Concorde ou le pont Alexandre III
Attend « Les Bals des Pompiers »
For the females out there, if I were to say there are Firemen parties all over France would that may you skip a heartbeat ? There really are… Don’t miss these if you have always had a thing for a uniform ! Started in 1937 as a fundraiser for fire stations all over France, there is one of these dance parties somewhere in France near you. In Paris, there is just about one per arrondissement…
The metro and RER lines will run late on this day to help transport the merrymakers back home, and if you happen to have a Navigo pass it is de-zoned for the evening (and all other holidays and weekends this summer).
Of course, if you are a real Parisian you will stay far away from all the craziness… For the same reason Parisians also avoid New Year’s Day and my personal favorite France’s National Music Festival (Fête de la Musique).
-Girl Gone Gallic