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Datum objave: 14.07.2020

Celebrating ‘Le 14 Juillet’ in Paris

The day does commemorate the storming of the Bastille on that day in 1789, but has evolved into La fête nationale,

Celebrating ‘Le 14 Juillet’ in Paris
Bastille Day is one of the most celebrated days in France and is also called le quatorze juillet, the 14th of July. The day does commemorate the storming of the Bastille on that day in 1789, but has evolved into La fête nationale, The French National Day. So what do the French do on their national day? Do they wear their national colors, eat a lot of food, and celebrate loudly through the night? You bet they do!
Bastille Day in Paris
When I traveled to Paris last summer for Bastille Day, I had to google what the holiday even was. It ended up becoming one of the most memorable days of my life. The morning of the 14th I headed to Champs-Élysées for the military parade. This parade culminates in a huge airshow with stunts from aircraft over the last several decades. It is phenomenal!
You do not need to search for lunch because all of the national delicacies are paraded through the crowds and there are vendors along the main streets. The city was in such a pleasant, bubbly mood, my friends and I wandered around all afternoon watching street performers and shopping – there were huge sales at almost every store that was still open.
As the evening settled in, the streets grew thick with pedestrians. Restaurants were packed or closed. In Parisian fashion, we packed a picnic and headed to the grand park around the “Invalides.” (Please note you may not drink alcohol in public parks in Paris after 4pm.) There were thousands of people lying in the grass, eating, talking, reading and soaking up the last of the sun’s warmth. As dusk approached, people migrated to the Eiffel Tower. Some people had been waiting all day, but we arrived at sunset and still had a clear view. They have a lovely concert before the fireworks, but seating is limited. They project the entire performance along the Champ de Mars. We stood in anxious anticipation as over a million people packed into the park to watch the spectacular show.
I cannot even describe the glory of the fireworks display from the Eiffel Tower – it is pure art. It was a theatrical performance in a sense, as it was a beautifully choreographed tribute to the history of France, but in place of dancers there were fireworks. They leapt from every square centimeter of the frame in such precise patterns and designs that words will not suffice. The feeling of awe was carried on the breeze as the National Orchestra played through this hour long performance. I was so moved by the beauty and brilliance that I wept and cheered as if I had France running through my veins. I am still not sure I could recount the history of the storming of the Bastille, but I know le 14 juillet is now one of my favorite holidays. I will forever remember the warmth I felt on that day, not just for Paris, not just for France, but for all of humanity as we championed diversity and unity, history and progress, hurts and healing, and most of all, love.
Tips for celebrating Bastille Day in Paris
1) Water is safe to drink from the tap. Bottled water is expensive! At restaurants, you must specify you want water in a glass, not a bottle to avoid additional costs.
2) The metro is the best way to get around, but buses are quite manageable as well. After the fireworks, you might not be able to get on the metro. We had to walk 4 miles home, but so do millions of other people, literally.
3) Safety: Don’t overdo it on the booze – being drunk in public is frowned upon, you risk losing your belongings, and bathrooms are few and far between. Be aware of pick pockets, especially in the crowds.
4) Bathrooms are not common in public places, so plan your food stops accordingly. Stay properly hydrated, sipping water throughout the day, and it should not be a problem.
5) If you ever wanted to go shopping in Paris, do it today, as many shops have special sales on offer. My favorite place was the Galleries Lafayette, which fits for any budget from bargain to designer. There are restaurants on the top floors and even on the roof from where you can enjoy an amazing view over the city!
Are you in Paris today (lucky you) or have you celebrated Bastille Day there in the past? Tell us your story!
This is a guest post by Stephanie Grandstaff.

Stephanie is an avid traveler, writer, and photographer who tries to live life to the full every day! She loves meeting new people, traveling to different countries, and learning about cultures. Share in her adventures by following on social media @segrandstaff.

Macron to host downsized Bastille Day, outline crisis response|3
President Emmanuel Macron will host Tuesday a Bastille Day ceremony scaled-down because of the coronavirus pandemic and also address the French in a rare television interview as fears grow over a potential second wave of infections.
For the first time since 1945, authorities have called off the annual military parade along the Champs-Elysees in Paris that marks the July 14, 1789, storming of the Bastille fortress that launched the French Revolution.
Just 2,000 soldiers -- half the usual number -- will gather at the Place de la Concorde.
However Macron is renewing another tradition, the July 14 president's interview, to detail his plans for surmounting the devastating social and economic crisis wrought by the COVID-19 outbreak.
He abandoned the ritual after taking office three years ago with a pledge to shake up politics as usual, but his new government is under pressure to prove it will rise to the unprecedented challenges.
Prominent doctors urged this week that face masks be mandatory indoors, while authorities have warned the virus appears to spreading faster in several areas as people let down their guard during summer holidays.
And despite billions of euros pledged to minimise the economic damage, questions remain over how the government will foster recovery from a recession expected to destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Elysee officials said the president, who this month replaced his prime minister with a hands-on technocrat, would address the health crisis as well as several measures to revive economic growth.
- De Gaulle and 'Resilience' -
Macron's live TV interview at the Elysee Palace will air at around 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), after the military review and his speech to honour the country's armed forces as well its doctors, nurses and others fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
No crowds will be allowed anywhere near the Concorde square to avoid contagion risks, and just 2,500 guests will be spread out on viewing benches, with only a handful of tanks and other military equipment on display.
The French air force will still carry out its traditional flyovers of the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees, including an A400M transport plane used to evacuate COVID-19 patients from overwhelmed hospitals at the height of the crisis.
The flights were part of Operation Resilience that Macron launched in March, which also saw a military field hospital set up in hard-hit eastern regions of the country.
Representatives of Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg have been invited, to thank the countries for taking in a total of 161 French patients in critical condition.
Macron's aides have said he will also seize the occasion to honour Charles de Gaulle on the 50th anniversary of the general's death, and the 80th of his famous call of June 18, 1940, to resist the Nazi occupation.
The ceremony will close with a rendition of the national anthem "La Marseillaise" and a flyover of the Patrouille de France acrobatics jets trailing blue, white and red smoke in honour of frontline health workers.
Later Tuesday, parks near the Eiffel Tower will be closed to avoid crowds for the Bastille Day fireworks in Paris, and most other cities have called off their shows altogether.
- Eye on election -
Macron's critics have accused him of initially underestimating and then mishandling a crisis that has now caused more than 30,000 deaths in France.
He has limited himself to a few televised addresses since March, while his previous premier Edouard Philippe enjoyed a popularity boost over his perceived steady hand.
New Prime Minister Jean Castex has riled unions by saying he will move quickly to finalise a controversial pensions overhaul suspended by the crisis.
Macron pushed ahead on the signature reform despite massive strikes over the winter, which drew in part on the anti-government anger laid bare in the "yellow vest" protests of 2018 and 2019.
His interview Tuesday is expected to set his other priorities for the less than two years that remain before he comes up for re-election in 2022.

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