Le Quatorze Juillet

On this day, July 14, 1789, revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison-fortress in a symbolic rejection of the French monarchy’s authoritarian rule. Though only housing seven inmates at the time, the long-time penitentiary for political prisoners stood in the center of Paris as a constant reminder of the tyranny of the French government. The immediate result of the attack was nearly one hundred deaths, yet in a far more significant corollary, the siege ultimately prompted the French Revolution, and marked the end of the French Monarchy.

Today, the people of France remember Bastille Day, or La Fête Nationale, as the birth of the French First Republic. In Paris, the day begins with Europe’s longest running and largest military parade filing from l’Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Élysées. The French President hosts an exorbitant garden party, and the festivities culminate with fireworks across the Seine.

Different regions in France recognize Le Quatorze Juillet in various ways. Street parties, music and dancing, and even a two-day-long celebration in Marseilles all commemorate the French national holiday as the country takes time to celebrate the rise of their esteemed Republic. Bonne fête du 14 juillet!

Journeying Through the Sacred Valley

peru walking vacationsWith the 100 year anniversary of Hiram Bingham’s rediscovery of Machu Picchu approaching (July 24, 1911), there has been a surge of press and public interest in the wondrous Incan ruins lately.

At VBT we have always felt that the best way to explore the famed “Lost City” is up-close and on foot.  In his recent New York Times article, “The Hidden Route to Machu Picchu,” Mark Adams echoes this sentiment as he describes, in appealing detail, rediscovering the Sacred Valley once again.  Adams discusses some of Bingham’s less celebrated finds in the Andes, the region’s drastically varying climates, and ultimately the reward of veering off of the tourist path and taking in Machu Picchu after an invigorating hike.

The inspiration that accompanies fixing one’s gaze upon the ancient wonder is undoubtedly remarkable, but don’t just take Mark’s word for it.  Join VBT on a walking vacation through Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley and embark on a rediscovery of your own.

Click below to view a video of our own vacation to Machu Picchu.

Peruvian Contrast from Ned Van Woert on Vimeo.