French Language Blog

Bastille Day 2021 Posted by on Jul 13, 2021 in Culture, History, Holidays

After last year’s quatorze juillet pas comme les autres1July 14th (Bastille Day) unlike the others, I was happy to see that this year’s festivities will see a return to more-or-less normal with des feux d’artifice, les bals des pompiers, un défilé militaire, [et un] concert sous la Tour Eiffel2fireworks, firemen’s balls, military parade, and a concert beneath the Eiffel Tower … you can find all the details here!

Photo by Atypeek Dgn from Pexels

Bastille Day 2021

A major part of any typical Bastille Day celebration in Paris is the défilé militaire down the Champs-Elysées. This military “parade” takes place on the ground … and in the air. This year’s air show will feature 71 planes and 25 helicopters … a highlight of which is the participation of la Patrouille de France in their Alpha Jets.

This “unité ultra populaire3ultra popular (military) unit – in existence since 1953 – opens the parade with des fumigènes tricolores (smoke plumes in the colors of France – le bleu, blanc, rouge) and leads the other planes down the parade route (rising dramatically over the Arch de Triomphe at the top of the Champs-Elysees4When I lived in France, we could see the aircraft flying holding patterns in the skies over our town in the north-western suburbs of Paris, before heading out over the city! and heading down to the Place de la Concorde). You can learn more in this brief video from FranceInfo.

If you were lucky enough to find yourself in Paris for this year’s celebrations, you could also enjoy a visit to the newly renovated Place de la Bastille. Like many of the city’s public spaces, the Place (whose first major ‘renovation’ kicked off the French Revolution!) has been redesigned to give more space to pedestrians and trees and less focus on cars. You can check out the new design here.

Les Sources de la Seine

I learned a fun fact in researching last week’s post.

It turns out that some 300 km southwest of Paris in the Cote-d’Or department of Bourgogne, you can find a little bout de Paris5piece of Paris. In 1864, the city of Paris purchased the lands surrounding the natural spring that give rise to the River Seine.

The lands around the headwater serve as a park and protect the river.  Enjoy this YouTube video visit to see for yourself.

Le Tour de France

The annual cycling race will wrap up this samedi6Saturday with the 112 km 21st étape7stage from the commune de Chatou (à l’ouest de Paris)8the community of Chatou (west of Paris) to the Champs-Elysées. Follow the action here!

French holidays: Bastille Day

5 Facts about the Bastille

French Culture – Fireworks

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Since my first trip to France at 16, I have been a passionate francophile. I love the language, food, music, art, people, and more that make France and la Francophonie in general such an amazing part of our global community. Having lived in France and studied the language and culture for over 35 years, it is my great pleasure to be able to share a little bit of my deep love with you through this blog.