Where to celebrate Bastille Day in France
PUBLISHED: 10:37 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:54 10 July 2018
Are you going to be in France on 14 July? Here is our pick of the places to go to celebrate France's most important national holiday, Bastille Day
Military parade, Champs-Élysées, Paris
One of the best places to celebrate France’s national holiday is on the tree-lined Champs Élysées in central Paris. The two-kilometre-long thoroughfare is covered in blue, white and red decorations, and hosts a huge military parade. A march, led by the French president, runs from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde, while fighter jets fly past in formation. The parade will start at 10:00.
Concert and fireworks display, Eiffel Tower, Paris
The area in front of the Eiffel Tower known as the Champs de Mars is the setting for a moving classical music concert where the works of Puccini, Mozart, or Verdi will be interpreted by the Orchestre National de France and Radio France’s choir from 21:00. Following that, the yearly spectacular 35-minute-long fireworks display will be fired from the Trocadéro and is best enjoyed from the Champs de Mars. Get down there to bag yourself a prime position for a dazzling spectacle of choreographed fireworks against the backdrop of the Parisian night sky. This year’s theme is l’Amour so snuggle up with your loved to watch the show.
Firemen’s balls, across Paris
After a stunning firework show, what is better than dancing the night away with a group of fire fighters? Fire stations across the capital open their doors until the early hours for traditional firemen’s balls where young and old can enjoy a good old boogie.
Fireworks display over Lake Annecy
This stunning alpine town nestled on the pristine lake of the same name offers visitors a Bastille Day to remember. The celebrations take place in the centre of town on Le Pâquier promenade, with evening concerts, picnics, dancing and the all-important fireworks display where the colours all reflect beautifully off the lake.
Fireworks display, Lyon
France’s foodie capital holds everything from fire station balls to gourmet get-togethers, but the real highlight here is the fireworks display. The 20-minute show is best seen from the left bank of the river Saône between the maréchal Juin and Bonaparte bridges. The theme this year is ‘maîtres de la Lumière’ and will transport spectators on a journey around the world to discover countries who’ve mastered the art of fireworks, from France to China.
Fireworks display, Carcassonne
This medieval walled city in the south-west of France is the setting for the Festival de la Cité throughout July, with many different musical and theatrical performances held among the ramparts. But, on the 14 July, the city focuses its attention on an incredible fireworks display – which has been billed as one of the best in the whole country. The 25-minute show starts at 22:30 and is set against the spectacular backdrop of the Cité, culminating in some 1200 charges detonated over the 600-metre-high walls in just six seconds.
Concert and fireworks display, Toulouse
The Pink City is the setting for a spectacular free concert on the 14 July with some of the biggest names in the business including Martin Solveig there to help music lovers get their groove on. And once everyone is all tuned out, they can end the evening in style by watching the impressive firework display, shot from 24 boats on the Garonne.
Parade and grand ball, Bordeaux
This wine-making city has plenty going on to celebrate Bastille Day. Highlights include the military parade which passes through the city centre to the tune of La Marseillaise and the Grand Ball, where you can dance until it hurts to the sweet sounds of jazz. The evening culminates with a fireworks display best enjoyed from the riverbanks at 22:45.