What is Bastille Day?

Bastille Day is the French national holiday, which is celebrated on the 14th of July each year. Now, a little bit of history…

The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of radical social and political upheaval in French and European history. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic, and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from liberal political groups and the masses on the streets. Old ideas about hierarchy and tradition succumbed to new Enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights.

Bastille Day celebrates the start of the French Revolution when, on July 14, 1789, the people of Paris stormed the Bastille, a prison stronghold on the bank of the Seine river. Its fall was the flashpoint of the French Revolution, and it subsequently became an icon of the French Republic.

Each year, festivities are held on the morning of the 14th of July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic. A military parade first takes place, followed by the French President’s interview, and a garden party at the Palais de l’Elysee. All over the country, people celebrate with music, dancing, firing firecrackers, holding candlelight lantern processions and enjoying fireworks.