With France playing the World Cup final the next day this year’s Bastille Day celebrations promise to be even more fevered and patriotic than ever. The excitement on the streets of towns, cities and villages across the country will be palpable so definitely make the most of it.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris on Saturday July 14th there will be plethora of events and activities around the country to choose from, but here are some of the highlights you won’t want to miss.
At 10am at the Arc de Triomphe, drums and trumpets will announce the arrival of President Emmanuel Macron. Once he has been saluted the air show will get underway in the skies above the city with some 64 planes involved.
It promises to be spectacular. Check out the video below.
The military parade will begin at 10:45 and this year will salute Japan and Singapore. Soldiers from the two countries will join the 4,200 men and women marching down the cobbles of the famous avenue.
Those marching will include troops of firefighters, gendarmes and the Republican guard as well as the special forces who helped out after the disaster left by Hurricane Irma after it destroyed islands in the Caribbean in 2017.
The procession will move from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde.
If you really want to grab a close up spot to watch the parade you’ll have to be prepared to get there early – like 7am. Place Clemenceau is the recommended spot.
There are fireworks shows all over the country and the Paris region on the 14th, but one of the most spectacular displays is in Paris at the Champ de Mars, the gardens stretching between the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Militaire.
The firework show is due to kick off at 11pm. Check out some photos and videos of 2015’s stunning show for an idea of what to expect.
If you’re not up to braving the crowds at the Champ de Mars, take in the fireworks show from one of the bridges crossing the River Seine – we recommend either the Pont des Arts, Pont de la Concorde, or Pont Alexandre III.
Otherwise just find some high ground such as the Montparnasse tower, the Sacré Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, or a friend’s rooftop for an optimal view of the show.
After being dazzled by some feux d’artifice, why not not dance the night away with some firefighters?
And don’t be surprised if your local pompiers strip semi-naked and cavort around the stage doing impressions of those guys in The Full Monty.
Note that this year a huge ball will take place at the Cité des Sciences in the 19th arrondissement where an exhibition titled “fire” is currently taking place.
And for the first time in 40 years there will be a fireman’s ball in the town of Versailles to the south west of Paris. Although Versailles won’t be having a fireworks show. They were halted due to security concerns.
READ ALSO: Pompiers: Why are French firefighters so smoking hot?
Go to the Louvre or the Pantheon
Yes, you can go to Louvre pretty much anytime but on Saturday July 14th it will be open all day for FREE. And the same goes for the Pantheon in the 5th arrondissement.
Again why would you want to go shopping on July 14th? Well for the simple reason that most people will stay away from the shops thinking they are closed because its a public holiday.
But times have changed and the big stores in Paris like Galeries Lafayette, the Carrousel du Louvre, Bercy Village, the Centre Beaugrenelle, Centre Italie 2, Citadium Caumartin,and BHV Marais will be open. So it might be a good day to spend some money, especially given the sales are on.