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Bastille Day - how Independence Day celebrate in France

How Independence Day Celebrate in France?

You may have heard about Bastille Day in France, but do you know why French people celebrate the day? Is it a national holiday? If you are wondering how Independence Day celebrate in France, here’s everything you need to know!

How Independence Day celebrate in France

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What Is Bastille Day: Independence Day of France?

As you might know, France is the first and also the oldest ally of America. And just like many other countries worldwide, these two countries have their different “national day”. While Americans celebrate their Independence Day on the 4th of July, the French have their Bastille Day. 

Bastille Day falls on the 14th of July. This is a national holiday in France that honors the actions of a mob of Frenchmen who stormed the Bastille, a fortress and prison in France, to get weapons and free prisoners. The reason for this uprising was due to their tiredness of the rule of their king. That was also an important milestone that marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

Bastille Day - discover how Independence Day celebrate in France

The French people consider Bastille Day as the end of the monarchy and the start of the modern republic. The lasting meaning of the event lies in its expression that power could be held by ordinary citizens, not by the king or the God.

What does the term Bastille Day mean?

There is an important thing about Bastille Day you should know: the national day is not called Bastille in France. Actually, Bastille Day is a popular English term used to describe the French National Holiday. This means only English speakers use the phrase “Bastille Day” for the national holiday of French. So, what term do French people use when talking about the important holiday of their country?

In France, the national holiday is formally called La fete nationale (meaning the National Celebration). However, there is one more popular term that is widely used by French people, it is “La quatorze juillet”. 

The way French people call their holiday is, in fact, similar to the way Americans express their Independence Day – the Fourth of July. In French, “Juillet” means July, and “quatorze” means 14. And the French refer to Bastille day as “quatorze juillet,” meaning “14th of July. “

What was the Bastille?

Bastille prison - how Independence Day celebrate in France

In case you are asking what the Bastille is, let us explain!

The Bastille was built in the 1300s. It was first constructed to protect the city of Paris from being attacked by the English. However, the fortress was used as a prison where wealthy felons and spies were kept. In the eyes of the peasant class, the Bastille represents the corruption and hypocrisy of the aristocratic government.

How Independence day celebrate in France – Celebrate Bastille Day

Let’s get to know how Independence Day celebrate in France!

Currently, the French find many different ways to celebrate their national holiday. There are several activities organized all over France. So what they are!

Organize parades

parade - how Independence Day celebrate in France

When discovering how Independence Day celebrate in France, we can’t miss parades! This is one of the biggest celebrations of Bastille Day in French. The oldest and also largest military parade in Europe is solemnly held in the morning of the 14th July, on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. 

This special event is organized in front of the President of the Republic, many French senior officials and guests from other nations. 

Firemen’s Balls 

Another outstanding tradition that shows how Independence Day celebrate in France is the famous Firemen’s Ball. This activity dates back to 1937 when the fire brigade of Montmartre opened their station doors for a small curious group of local people to come in. And a very interesting activity took place there. 

firework - how Independence Day celebrate in France

At the station, the local people had a chance to see the firemen host a lively evening with a gymnastics demonstration and small fireworks. Following the joy of citizens, this idea gradually became a very popular activity in many other fire stations. That’s how fireworks turn into an indispensable part when celebrating Bastille Day in France.

Fireworks are set in all cities across the country. It can be on the 13th or 14th of July. And the famous fireworks display is in Paris. Here thousands of people can watch fireworks when gathering around the Champ-de-Mars, on a balcony, or even on the 1st or 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower.

Hold Parties 

how Independence Day celebrate in France - party

Parties are one of the most important parts of how Independence Day celebrate in France. The national holiday is a valuable occasion for the French to spend time with their family, uncork a bottle of wine, enjoy delicious food, and watch fireworks at night.


museum - how Independence Day celebrate in France

Throughout Paris, several museums are free to the public on the national holiday. That’s why visiting museums after the parades and before the fireworks is also a wonderful part of how Independence Day celebrate in France.

Difference in the way Americans and the French celebrate their national day

As you can see, the French also celebrate their national holiday by having fireworks,  parades and parties. Though the two countries share the same similarities, there are a few differences we should know.

  • In France, they don’t say Happy 14th Of July or Happy Bastille Day!

Where it is common that Americans celebrate Independence Day by saying happy 4th of July, the French would never do the same way. You won’t hear French people say happy Bastille day or happy 14th of July. It is just because it sounds pretty weird to French ears.

  • In France, they don’t wave French flags 

Each country has their own way to show patriotism. While American usually have flags everywhere on their Independence Day, the French don’t do the same. 

It’s normal when you see French flags as an important part of the annual 14th of July military parade. However, you won’t see a French person standing around waving a French flag.

That’s all about how Independence Day celebrate in France. What do you think about Bastille Day in this country! Don’t forget to share this article on social media to share helpful information with your friend! Thanks for your attention!

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