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Bastille Day

If you could choose any week of the year to be in Paris, France, the week of Bastille Day would probably rank near the top.  Similar to American Independence Day on July 4th, July 14, or le quatorze juillet, is a similar holiday celebrating French Independence.  On that day in 1789, French citizens stormed the Bastille (a prison), which became a symbol of rebellion towards the monarchy of Louis VXI and so began the French Revolution.  Although the history of the day is ever important to its present and future, French citizens and tourists alike tend to know about it more for the celebrations.  Bastille Day is essentially comprised of a number of incredible fireworks shows all around the city, a giant dance party at Place de la Bastille, a military parade on the Champs-Elysees and the Fireman’s Gala.  

The fireworks show is considered to be one of the best shows in the world mostly due to the incredible setting the city of Paris provides.  For tourists, the best views are probably from the rooftop or balcony of a Paris apartment rental in Montmarte, Belleville, or anywhere at a higher altitude close to the Eiffel Tower.   The dance party, which traditionally occurs the night of the 13th at the original site of the Bastille jail, is a must see as well.  The City of Paris usually chooses a different theme every year which ends up bringing out elaborate costumes and there also tends to be some great live music.  For tourists, if your short term Paris rental is closer to the Champs- Elysees, there is no doubt you will hear the impressive military parade that starts near the Arc de Triomphe and comes down the two kilometer stretch before spreading out towards the rest of the city.  The French President usually speaks after the parade as well, although current president Nicolas Sarkozy decided not to give the speech in recent years.  Lastly, and possibly the most interesting part of the festivities is the Fireman’s Gala.  The quirky tradition involves Fire stations opening their doors to the public for a number of live demonstrations and dancing.  If you’re travelling to Paris with children and staying in a Paris vacation rental nearby, the demos are usually a huge hit with the kids.  

Like July 4th, Bastille Day is a national holiday, a celebration of the nation’s history and culture and a great reason to be in the City of Paris on the week of July 14th.