How will France celebrate Bastille Day in 2020?

© Simon Lukas Getty Images

© Simon Lukas Getty Images - Credit: Archant

The French President and Prime Minister have decided to mark France’s Fête Nationale by honouring those fighting the coronavirus pandemic

France’s National Day is the highlight of the calendar in France, with parties and firework displays taking place across the country on 14 July to mark the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. The Fête Nationale celebrations have traditionally centred on a large-scale military parade along the Champs-Elysées in Paris, watched by thousands of spectators who line the French capital’s most famous avenue to watch the procession of soldiers and military vehicles. The parade has been held on the morning of le 14 juillet since 1880 when 14 July was officially recognised as a national holiday. However, for 2020 the celebrations will look a little different.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak and social distancing rules currently in place, this year the parade will be replaced by a smaller ceremony that will pay tribute to the military personnel and frontline health workers involved in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The ceremony will be held on the Place de la Concorde where the military parade usually ends, and will still include the traditional fly-over by the French air force.

Meanwhile, French Embassies around the world will also use France’s National Day to show their gratitude to “the heroes of this 14 July” – those working tirelessly to combat the pandemic. In London, the French Embassy to the UK will deliver thousands of viennoiseries to the staff of the Royal Brompton and Chelsea and Westminster hospitals as a thank you. The Embassy will hold a virtual celebration on 14 July in place of the garden party that is traditionally held at the French Residence, with the Ambassador’s message being broadcast on its website and social media channels, where it is also using the hashtag #BastilleDayHeroes.

If you’re keen to join in the celebrations at home with a classic French meal, French Residence Executive Chef Gilles Quillot has been sharing his secret recipes on Instagram and Tumblr in the run-up to Bastille Day. Recipes in the weekly La Recette Française series have been based around regional ingredients and have included dishes such as Provence vegetable tart and Roussillon apricot soup.


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