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  • Writer's pictureNicola McCabe

Celebrating La Fète Nationale - Bastille Day

Celebrated in countries around the world as Bastille Day, here in France the 14th July is actually called ‘La fète nationale‘, which literally means National Day. It’s a public holiday and a day off for most people, including schools and businesses (the french love their holidays, and who can blame them?). There are several large-scale public events, like the grand military parade in Paris. But there are also lots of community events – meals ('repas' in french), dancing and fireworks. And everyone, young and old, gets involved.

So why does everyone call it Bastille Day, and what's its significance in French history?

French Revolution

The Bastille is a medieval fortress and prison in Paris, and La Fète Nationale on July 14th is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille in 1789.

Paris had become a scene of unrest and hostility. Crowds gathered outside the Bastille demanding the release of prisoners, and the removal of the cannons, rifles and gunpowder. The negotiations dragged on and rioting broke out, but when gunfire was heard the crowd turned into a violent, angry mob.

After several hours of fighting, the Governor of the Bastille surrendered, and the fortress and the prisoners being held there were liberated that evening.

The Storming of the Bastille is recognised as a pivotal event at the start of the French Revolution.

Fête de la Fédération‘ the following year, celebrated the changes brought about the revolution. After years of celebrating the anniversary of the event, finally in 1880 a politician called Benjamin Raspail, proposed that July 14 should become a holiday in France. The law was passed and ‘Bastille Day’ became a public holiday for the first time on July 14, 1880.

Joining in the celebrations

There is usually a large military parade in Paris on the morning of July 14. With service men and women, the French Navy and French Foreign Legion all taking part in the parade. There is a military aircraft fly past and the President Emmanuel Macron will give a speech. This year I think it might be a quieter event, but normally thousands of people will line the route all day, from very early in the morning, to get the best views.

Most french people like to spend their holiday with their family and close friends. They will prepare a celebratory meal or picnic, and raise a glass or two of wine before going out to the nearest village or town to watch the fireworks.

Here in the Limousin where Hot Tubs In France is based, we always try to join in the local festivities, because we love the french way of life. And it's a great way to get to know the neighbours. This year, because we have lots of deliveries, we will be working right up until the 13th to ensure that our new customers can enjoy 'La fète nationale‘ in their new hot tubs.

So we will be quietly celebrating the 14th July in our own hot tub heaven, with a glass or two of delicious Limousin wine. Who will you be celebrating with?

Cheers ! Santé ! From Hot Tubs In France

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