Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Celebrating Bastille Day in France

A summer cruise along the waterways of France is in itself a truly memorable experience. However, if you are lucky enough that Bastille Day falls on a cruising day, we know of a number of fantastic vantage points that we can cruise to for sensational views of the fireworks and a glass of champagne as you watch. Bastille Day, France’s celebration of independence, is a public holiday with a relaxed atmosphere as families prepare for the day’s grand finale in the form of spectacular firework displays all across the country.

Some History

Bastille Day is celebrated to mark one of France’s most significant dates. Noted as one of the most successful rebellions against oppression in history, 14th July 1789 saw the storming of The Bastille prison by angry Parisians protesting the King’s reign, ever-increasing taxation and continued scarcity of food. This day marked the beginning of France’s transition from a feudal aristocracy to a modern Republic.

The Bastille itself was a medieval fortress located on the east side of Paris that was originally built in 1370 to defend Paris against the English during the Hundred Years’ War. During the reign of King Louis XVI it was used as a state prison to hold political prisoners, often for years without trial. The prison was chosen as the rebel’s target as it was seen as a symbol of the monarchy’s oppressive rule over the starving people.

Modern Day Celebration

Today France celebrates this significant turn in their history with an impressive military parade along Paris’ famous Champs-Élysées. Come nightfall the sky is lit up with a spectacular fireworks display from the Eiffel Tower.

All over France families prepare delicious regional dishes, such as Normandy Fish Stew and Bayonne ham tart with garlic. Picnics and parties continue late into the night, culminating with local firework displays and revelry into the wee hours of the morning.

A Day to Remember

Bastille Day is a uniquely French day of celebration complete with party atmosphere and contagious joyfulness. If you want to experience it firsthand on French soil (or should that be water?), get in touch to book your summer barge cruise.

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