Bastille Day in France with military parade and firefighters' parties

Holiday. Bastille Day, French National Day.

When? July 14.

Where? France.

The meaning and history. This holiday commemorates the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, an important event in Paris on the third day of the violent revolution of 1789. Another important event, which took place on this day one year later, is the Fête de la Fédération, a celebration of the unity of the French nation during the French Revolution.The aim of this celebration was to symbolize peace.

How it is celebrated. For French people it’s a really important holiday. Celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests.

“It’s amazing to see the French Air Force in the sky with blue, white and red smoke, according to the colors of our national flag”, Elodie Treton (33), a biologist from France, says. “On this day we usually watch not only the parade, but also the fireworks, which take place in every city and even little towns. The best of them you can enjoy near the Eiffel Tower. Another interesting thing: firefighters make parties, called Firefighters Balls, where people can dance, drink and have fun”.

Family traditions. Elodie Treton was born in Châteauroux, France and lived in many different places before moving with her husband to Villach. “When we lived in France we used to celebrate Bastille Day, not in Austria... But I still watch the parade and the firework in Paris on a French channel on TV”.

Elodie and her husband (he is from Limoges, France and works for a French company in Villach) like Austria. “Carinthia is very beautiful and the Austrian traditions are really nice. But we are living now so far from our family! It takes two days to get the west of France. When I miss my homeland, I cook French food. In January I make “galette des rois” (kings cake) with almond cream, in February I cook "crêpes" (a sort of pancakes, but please don't tell the French that crêpes are pancakes), in March we eat chocolates, in April we eat lamb for Easter, and in July we make a grill on Bastille Day”. (July 2016)

Text: Vita Vitrenko
Photos: Elodie Treton, www.parisperfect.com