VII: Bastille Day 2014

When we planned our trip, Kaila and I narrowed down our visit to be in Paris either during the Tour de France or Bastille Day. We ended up choosing Bastille Day, or La Fête nationale/Le quatorze juillet as the French know it. This day marks the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, and there are celebrations all day throughout the country.

We began our day with the military parade along the Champs-Élysées. We probably should have gotten there a couple of hours before the parade started, because it was too crowded to even fight our way to the main street. From our metro exit, we caught a bit of the air show flying down the Champs-Élysées before settling on a side street and watching some of the units as they finished the parade.

I think the parade was technically over at this point for the servicemen, but they stayed information nonetheless.
We expected a bit more singing and noise from a parade, but only saw one or two units singing. I’m sure it was a lot noisier and festive along the main pathway.
This was definitely our favorite part of the parade – the dogs were all very enthusiastic!

After catching some of the parade we were ready for lunch, so we walked over to the two major Parisian department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. We had a very basic meal at Galeries Lafayette and then spent awhile on their rooftop balcony, overlooking the city.

Great views from the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette.
Another view from the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette, looking over the Opéra de Paris.

The part of the day we were most excited for was the Eiffel Tower fireworks. We had seen the area being prepped all week as we passed by it, so we knew it would be quite the show. Interestingly, Kaila and I had just gone to July 4 fireworks in the states before coming to Paris, and were in complete agreement that the July 4 fireworks were absolutely amazing. They went on for about 40 minutes, much longer than the show on the National Mall, and it was constant amusement. So, we thought we had already seen a great set of fireworks for the year of 2014. The Bastille Day fireworks however, put anything I’d ever seen in America to shame. There was music timed to match the display, there were fireworks being shot off of the Eiffel Tower, next to it, behind it, from the top, all while it was twinkling. There were different colors, French flags being displayed, fireworks being staggered as they were released from the bottom to top of the tower. It went on for the better part of an hour and we were in complete awe. The pictures below don’t do it justice. but this was one of the best parts of our trip to Paris.

Some shots from the absolutely amazing Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.
A shot from the Bastille Day grand finale. I had been using manual settings on my camera and didn’t have time to change the settings manually before the finale. The area around the tower is completely saturated due to how bright the display was, and you can just barely make out the top of the Eiffel Tower. Imagine seeing that in person!


One thought on “VII: Bastille Day 2014

  • Looks and reads like it was a fantastic show! I can appreciate that first group of military appear out of step, so hopefully they were done! lol The dogs do seem to be enjoying themselves, too. Like the shot overlooking the Opera de Paris because of the interesting architecture and rooftop view in the distance.

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