Bastille Day on the Champs-Elysees

Bastille Day: 14 July The National Holiday

Bastille Day today means, for all in France, the solemn military parade up the Champs Elysées in the presence of the head of State.
Military parade on the Champs-Elysées

It is also a holiday on which each commune is holding its local dance and fireworks.

But above all, Bastille Day, or the Fourteenth of July, is the symbol of the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the Republic. The national holiday is a time when all citizens can feel themselves to be members of a republican nation. It is because this national holiday is rooted in the history of the birth of the Republic that it has such great significance.

The people storm the Bastille

On 5 May 1789, the King convened the Estates General to hear their complaints; but the assembly of the Third Estate, representing the citizens of the town, soon broke away and formed the Constituent National Assembly.

On 20 June 1789, the deputies of the Third Estate took the oath of the Jeu de Paume "to not separate until the Constitution had been established". The Deputies’ opposition was echoed by public opinion. The people of Paris rose up and decided to march on the Bastille, a state prison that symbolized the absolutism and arbitrariness of the Ancien Regime.

The Nation marches towards the Republic

The storming of the Bastille, on 14 July 1789, immediately became a symbol of historical dimension; it was proof that power no longer resided in the King or in God, but in the people, in accordance with the theories developed by the Philosophes of the eighteenth century.
The storming of the Bastille in Paris - Painting of Jean Pierre Houel (1735-1813)

On 16 July, the King recognized the tricolor cockade: the Revolution had succeeded.

The storming of the Bastille symbolizes, for all citizens of France, liberty, democracy and the struggle against all forms of oppression.

Symbols of the French Republic

The main symbols of the Republic share the same revolutionary origins. The national motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", the nat... [Read more]
11 July 2014