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My July 14th in Paris

I miss spending July 14th in Paris so much! I often open my eyes in the morning and wonder, “Why I no longer live in Paris? Why?” but on July 14th, the question does not leave me until nightfall.

On July 14th, Paris celebrates the republic and with her the whole country (yes, Paris is a Lady). It’s a national holiday commissioned by the Republican Party at the beginning of the Third Republic in 1880.

Lawmakers chose this date because of the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, but also the Feast of the Federation in 1790, and they did not point out the year of reference ion purpose, and this is why the law states that “The Republic adopts July 14th as an annual national holiday”.

Every year the Paris Opera offers a recital of opera or ballet and, depending on my schedule, I, therefore, started my day by going to the Bastille to finalize the details for the evening when opera production was planned or staying in bed, in both cases in front of the TV to follow the live streaming of the many traditional events in town.

The parade on the Champs-Elysées

The celebrations always start around 9:30 with a military parade on the Champs-Elysées, each year having a different theme. This year they’ll march from 10.10 a.m. upon the President’s arrival.

The parade’s theme is still a secret, but to let you have an idea, last year they celebrated the Order of the Liberation. Anyway, my favorite is always the troops on horseback, and I have to admit I kind of like the French Foreign Legion, old classic movies oblige 😉

Il 14 luglio la Francia e la mia Parigi sono in festa!

Picnic in public parks and fireworks

July 14th passes quickly, but quietly, between long chats with friends lying on the lawn of the chosen public park.

For years, the Sunday picnic was a fairly regular event of sunny days, and with my friends, we were used to picking a different location every weekend. Still, on this occasion, our own tradition has almost always led us to the Parc de Belleville.

Il 14 luglio la Francia e la mia Parigi sono in festa!

Until last century this park was actually open countryside with windmills, farms, vineyards, and taverns, and the eponymous village was inhabited mostly by workmen.

The actual public park was inaugurated in 1988 on the heights of the hill with spectacular views of Paris, and intellectuals and successful managers started to settle in the neighborhood. Belleville is now one of the areas that set Parisian trends.

We have always chosen it as the location for this special day because the fireworks fired at 11:00 p.m. from Trocadero are a real must-see from this hill. By the way, even the fireworks have an annual theme, and this year is “The Federations.”

Il 14 luglio la Francia e la mia Parigi sono in festa!

Other beautiful places to admire the fireworks are the gardens of the Champ de Mars, in front of the Museum of the Invalides, a sightseeing tour along the Seine, or the Montmartre hill. If you opt for the latter, I recommend the terrace of the Terrass’ up, which in addition to the stunning view, is also worth for the cocktails menu and the yummy platters of cheese and salami.

The ball of the firemen

July 14th is not complete without the mythical balls organized in fire stations! These are two evenings of music, laughter, achievements, and historical tradition. Balls are organized every year on the 13th and 14th, from 9:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m., and the fun is guaranteed.

The barracks are many and spread all around Paris, but for convenience, I have always gone to the one in rue de Sevigne, not far from the Saint Paul metro station on line 1, which for the occasion, prolong the service until 2:00 am. Since this is, for the most part, a voluntary job, on this occasion, donations are collected to improve each fire station … a small donation for a good cause.

Il 14 luglio la Francia e la mia Parigi sono in festa!

July 14th in Paris theaters and museums

On July 14th, Parisian museums are free, Disneyland Paris offers special discounts, and there are performances and parties worldwide. To check for detailed theatre and concerts schedule and programs, I recommend this page.

The Radio France National Orchestra and its Choir, conducted by my good friend Alain Altinoglu, will perform at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. This year performers rock! The concert is free and starts at 9:15 p.m. Again; you better take place in the gardens in advance.

July 14th in Paris

July also means Paris Quartier d’été festival: fifteen performances including dance, theater, music, and street performers. The only aim of the festival is to entertain the Parisians of all ages with events in the most beautiful places in the city: the Opéra Comique, the Théâtre de la Colline, the Belleville Park, along the Seine, in Montmartre or the Luxembourg Gardens.

P.S. traditionally, in Viriat, a small town in the Ain region, they do not celebrate on July 14th, but in August, and this is based on a municipal decree of 1880 wanted in order not to interrupt the wheat harvest. This peculiarity is explained every year on every news program, and I always say to myself that sooner or later I’ll be celebrating in this town too 🙂

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.