Celebrating Bastille Day in Paris

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Vive la France! Party in Paris for Bastille Day and you’ll enjoy dazzling fireworks displays, impressive parades and plenty more. Here, we take a look at the story behind Bastille Day and how you can celebrate in the French capital.

If you haven’t booked your Bastille Day bed yet don’t worry, we’ve still got plenty of availability at lots of our great hostels in Paris.

1. When is Bastille Day?

Bastille Day takes place on the same date every year, namely July 14th.

2. What does Bastille Day commemorate?

Also known as La Fête Nationale, Bastille Day is a national holiday in France and is an important patriotic event. The day marks the storming of the Bastille prison back in 1789, which was the first major event kicking off the French Revolution.

3. What kind of celebrations are associated with Bastille Day?

Fantastic fireworks, impressive parades and wild parties are just some of the events you can enjoy all across France on Bastille Day. Without a doubt though, the best place to go to really get into the spirit of things is the French capital, Paris.

4. What happens in Paris on Bastille Day?

Bastille Day celebrations in Paris actually begin on the night of July 13th, with parties taking place in bars and clubs throughout the city. If you like your celebrations a bit quirkier, keep in mind that lots of other parties are actually held in fire stations all over Paris. Firemen open up their fire stations to members of the public, put on demonstrations and host live entertainment, dancing and more. These unusual parties are a huge hit with both locals and visitors. Don’t worry if you’re not in town on the 13th, these parties also take place on Bastille Day itself so you won’t miss out on any of the fun.

Starting around 10am on July 14th, the Bastille Day traditional military parade is quite a spectacle. Heading from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde, this parade features French troops decked out in all their official uniforms marching along the iconic Champs-Élysées. Military planes also fly over the parade route, wowing the crowd with acrobatic aerial stunts.

5. Where are some of the best places to catch the fireworks?

Once evening arrives on Bastille Day, prepare yourself for a breathtaking display lighting up the Eiffel Tower and the sky above. Make your way to the Champs-Élysées and the Champ-de-Mars to stand shoulder to shoulder with locals and visitors on who all join together, looking up at the night sky ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at the impressive fireworks.

One of our favourite places to catch the show is Place de la Concorde. Covering over 8 hectares, this large square looks towards the Eiffel Tower, making it a great spot to watch the Bastille Day celebrations. On a regular day, Place de la Concorde is one of the best places in town to enjoy free entertainment, from musicians and dancers to more unusual street entertainers, and these are sure to be out in force on Bastille Day.

For a more elevated view, head for high ground in Montmartre, one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Paris. The views of the city are especially breathtaking from the stunning Sacre Coeur church, located right at the top of the ‘butte’ or hill in Montmartre.

Bastille Day celebrations in Paris are something you won’t ever forget. If you’re thinking of joining the party, don’t forget we’ve got lots of great hostels in Paris for you to check out.

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Thanks to Joe DeSousa for the great Flickr pic!

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