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How to Celebrate the 14th of July

After the USA just celebrated the Independence Day with hot dogs and fireworks, the French prepare for their own National celebration next week. Bastille day, the 14th of July, commemorates the storming of the bastille on the same day in 1789. The Bastille was a fortress that acted as a State Prison, and its destruction remains a symbol of the people rising up against the Monarchy and aristocracy. The French Revolution represented a change in government from Monarchy to Republic, and so the day has become a celebration of the political empowerment of the people.

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The highlights of the celebration are the Military Parade that marches down the Champs Elysées, a festival at the place de la Bastille, and the 35 minute fireworks display behind the Eiffel Tower.

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Preparation for the parade begins at 9:10 and last officially from 10-12, the time of arrival and departure of the President of France, Francois Hollande. If you want to catch the air show, it is scheduled to begin at 10:45.

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Paris’ Military Parade on July 14 is the largest in Europe, and each year some of the foreign troops are invited in to put on their own distinctive Military displays, like this image below of French Polynesian forces in 2011.

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The fireworks display begins at 11PM and is best seen from around the Seine, Trocadéro, and the Champs de Mars.

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To learn more about the history of the city of Paris including the revolution, stop by the Musée Carnavalet in the Marais.

Or for a non-traditional 14th, there is always Napoleon Dynamite playing on an outdoor screen at Wanderlust, 32 Quai d’Austerlitz, 13ème, 10:30PM

Joyeux 14 juillet!

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