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.
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.
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.