If you’re in Paris on 14th July, also known as Bastille Day, get ready to take part in one of the country’s biggest celebrations. France’s national day commemorates the bloody storming of the Bastille jail, an important milestone during the French Revolution of 1789, as well as the peaceful Fête de la Fédération which occurred exactly a year later. The occasion is marked by Europe’s largest military parade, attended by the French President, which occurs in the morning on the city’s main street, the Champs-Elysées. In the evening, the city will be packed with revellers celebrating, only pausing to admire the magnificent firework display which is launched from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
If you’re heading to Paris to celebrate Bastille Day, your nearest airports are Charles de Gaulle and Orly. From there, head into the city centre via the metro or the RER network express train. If you’d like to watch the military parade, head to the Champs-Elysées but try to avoid the nearest stations - Clemenceau and Franklin D. Roosevelt as they are likely to be very busy. Instead, get off at Victor Hugo station and walk from there. A must-see of the event is the evening fireworks which light up the Eiffel Tower and spread across the whole Paris skyline. The official spectator area is the Champs de Mars just below the Eiffel Tower and the Place du Trocadéro.
Start the celebrations early by going to one of the uniquely French Bastille Day traditions - the Firemen’s Ball (the Bal des Pompiers), which start the night before. Fire stations across the city throw open their doors and host big parties where you can dance the night away to traditional French songs and games. The following day, see if you can find the perfect terrace to view the fireworks. If you book early, you can watch them from a boat on the River Seine or from the rooftop terrace of the Musée du Quai Branly’s top restaurant, Les Ombres.
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Once you’ve recovered from the Bastille Day celebrations, make sure you find time to visit some of the many sights that Paris has to offer: explore the wonders of the magical Notre Dame Cathedral, take in a show at iconic institution, the Moulin Rouge, or simply kick back and relax amongst the beautiful surroundings of the Luxembourg Gardens.
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