Did you know? The French call their national holiday, the 14th of July, NOT Bastille Day.
The 14th of July Military parade is back, the theme this year is « Share the Flame ».
There will be lots of folks lining the Champs-Elysées for the event, so bring a mask or better yet for a safer, better view, with commentary watch on TV.
Read more about the day’s events on Secrets of Paris.
Where to watch the fireworks on the 14th of July fireworks with slightly smaller crowds and a panoramic view
- Paris west: Pont du Garigliano (as well as many of the other bridges)
- Paris east: The intersection de la rue Piat and de la rue des Envierges or the Parc de Belleville
- Paris north: Montmartre
- Suresnes: Mont Valérien, Terrasse du Fécheray
- Meudon : Terrasse de l’observatoire
- Saint-Cloud: Parc de Saint-Cloud, rond-point de la Balustrade also known as La Lanterne
- The top of the Montparnasse tower: 50€
The fireworks on the 14th of July start at 23h and will be shot near the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro Gardens. It lasts 35 minutes. There will also be a free concert by the National Orchestra on the Champs de Mars starting at 21h15, but again you can expect heavy crowds. Above is a list of a few spots where there might be fewer crowds. Or watch it on TV on FR2. There will there will also be fireworks in other towns that night such as Suresnes and some the night before like in Boulogne-Billancourt.
Versailles is holding a special « Grandes Eaux Noctures » on the 14th. You can amble through the gardens, the fountains are on and lit, there’s baroque music and topping it all off fireworks by the world famous Groupe F (remember the spectacular show at Versailles last year on TV? Wow!). There’s a special family price for the 14th, 56€ for a family of 4. Reserve.
Did you know? The key to the Bastille was sent to George Washington by the Marquis de Lafayette with his compliments « as a Missionary of Liberty to its patriarch. » The key is still on display at Mount Vernon.
BAL DES POMPIERS – Firemen’s Balls Cancelled again.
The French national anthem sung on the 14th of July and many other occasions is La Marseillaise. Following France’s declaration of war on Austria and Prussia, the mayor of Strasbourg, Baron de Dietrich, asked army engineer Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle to write a marching song. On the night of April 25th 1792, Rouget de Lisle penned the Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin – War song for the Rhine Army, named in honour of the garrison to which he belonged. The song was meant to inspire the army to be strong in the face of the invader’s tyranny. The song was republished under the name of Chant de guerre aux armées des frontières – by François Mireur, who was in Marseilles to organise a march of revolutionary volunteers on King Louis XVI’s Tuileries palace. The revolutionaries adopted the song and sang it with fervor as they entered Paris, on July 30th 1792. The Parisians thus named it La Marseillaise. It was declared the national song on July 14th 1795 but then banned during the Empire. The July revolution of 1830 reinstated it, and it was rearranged by Hector Berlioz. It was finally adopted as the national anthem under the Third Republic in 1879. The Marseillaise has seven verses of which we usually sing just the first. Here are verses 1 and 4-7. To better understand the lyrics try your language skills on the Speak Easy game based on La Marseillaise below. For a complete translation to English see www.marseillaise.org and for a phonetic English version click here.
Allons enfants de la Patrie Le jour de gloire est arrivé ! Contre nous de la tyrannie L’étendard sanglant est levé Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes Mugir ces féroces soldats? Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras. Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes!
Aux armes citoyens Formez vos bataillons Marchons, marchons Qu’un sang impur Abreuve nos sillons
Tremblez, tyrans et vous perfides L’opprobre de tous les partis Tremblez! vos projets parricides Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix! Tout est soldat pour vous combattre S’ils tombent, nos jeunes héros La France en produit de nouveaux, Contre vous tout prêts à se battre.
Français, en guerriers magnanimes Portez ou retenez vos coups! Épargnez ces tristes victimes À regret s’armant contre nous Mais ces despotes sanguinaires Mais ces complices de Bouillé Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié Déchirent le sein de leur mère!
Nous entrerons dans la carrière Quand nos aînés n’y seront plus Nous y trouverons leur poussière Et la trace de leurs vertus Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre Que de partager leur cercueil Nous aurons le sublime orgueil De les venger ou de les suivre!
Amour sacré de la Patrie Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs Liberté, Liberté chérie Combats avec tes défenseurs! Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire Accoure à tes mâles accents Que tes ennemis expirants Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire!
Did you know? Of all the town, cities and counties named for figures of the American Revolution, Lafayette ranks fourth, right after Washington, Jefferson and Franklin. There are more than one hundred place names for him, plus countless street, avenue and parks. Lafayette Park faces the White House.