Bastille Day, a French holiday, is often compared to Independence Day in the United States. While this is an easy reference that many will understand, aside from both being largely celebrated national holidays, there are not too many other similarities.
More commonly referred to as “La Fete Nationale,” Bastille Day in France, marks the raiding of the Bastille Castle during the time of the French Revolution. The castle was heavily associated with the oppressive monarchy and held numerous political prisoners. Even though the prison was largely empty on the night of the raid, a few prisoners were freed, costing numerous guards and protesters their lives. This event signified a change in momentum for the revolutionaries, ultimately leading to the beginning of the French Republic.
Independence Day signifies the separation of the States from Britain. On the 4th of July, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. While there was certainly bloodshed in the struggle to form the U.S., the leaders of the time did not choose this as the focal point for their celebrations. Instead, the cultural heritage of the U.S. is celebrated on a day which highlights the newly defined ideals of the States.
Now, more than 200 years later, both of these national holidays are commemorated with speeches, parades, fireworks, concerts, and family gatherings.
In France, celebratory events include a large military parade through the Champs-Elysees, galas the evening before, concerts, and an impressive fireworks display after sunset on the 14th of July. Many will travel into the city to enjoy these festivities among the crowds. Others celebrate with just friends and family, gathering together to share picnics or long, leisurely meals.
To experience the celebration and make your own comparisons between this French holiday and the 4th of July, contact Bastille Day Tours. Our experienced team can help you navigate Paris and find the best viewing locations for the parade and fireworks.
For more about Bastille Day France activities, visit our blog. You’ll find more information about the types of events you can enjoy as well as tips for moving around Paris like a native during this French holiday.