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!