French National Day – also known as Bastille Day – is celebrated throughout France each year on July 14 (or, le quatorze Juillet). For some, the observance is all about fireworks and a spectacular military parade; but for most, it still marks the anniversary of the storming of a grand fortress during the first moments of the French Revolution.
The Bastille was infamous for holding political prisoners. French kings would imprison subjects who didn’t agree with them politically, making the fortress a representation of the monarchy’s oppressive nature. This event was the start of the French Revolution and the eventual fall of the French monarchy.
The French Republic has celebrated Bastille Day every year since 1880. The festivities take a different theme each year, and begin in the morning with the traditional military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. The troops prepare all year for the parade down the city’s most beautiful avenue before the French President and a huge crowd. An aerial show will also take place in the skies above Paris – airplanes and helicopters from the French Army and Air Force will display their skills.
A grand concert takes place in the evening, followed by a fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower that lights up the sky over Paris. People gather all over the city to watch the magnificent spectacle and continue celebrating at Firemen’s Balls held at fire stations around the city.
For years, the people of Fenton, MI have hosted a Bastille Day Celebration with a 15K run and 5K run & walk presented by The Laundry, Bauman’s Running & Walking Shop, and Paw Palace of Fenton. Proceeds benefit Genesee County Habitat for Humanity. Find info at geneseecountyhabitat.org.