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What is celebrated on July 14th in France?

June 26, 2022 by Mylene in About France  ▪  

french national day

July 14 is the national day in France. The date of July 14 was chosen as the day of the national holiday in 1880 in reference to the storming of the Bastille by the people, “the awakening of freedom” as Victor Hugo puts it so well. It is also the date of the Federation Day of July 14, 1790, which has been officially commemorated in France for more than a century.

What happened on July 14, 1789?

In 1789, French people had difficulty feeding themselves, and the revolt rumbled. In early July 1789, Louis XVI brought more than 20,000 soldiers around Paris and also fired the very popular finance minister Jacques Necker. The king’s objective was to intervene militarily against the National Assembly. Following problems in some of the regiments called up, the king ordered foreign reinforcements, which were deemed to be safer. Foreign troops then surrounded Paris. The Parisians feeling threatened by the troops decided to attack the fortress of the Bastille in the east of Paris on July 14, 1789.

On the morning of July 14, 40,000 Parisians took guns and cannons from the cavern of the Invalides. Then they headed for the Bastille. The soldiers fired into the crowd. The Parisians finally managed to enter the square and get rid of the occupants, including the Marquis de Launay. They also freed the prisoners. The next day, the king recalled Necker and drove the troops away from Paris.

Storming of the Bastille and arrest of Governor M. DE LAUNAY, July 14, 1789, Unkown artist

Why the Bastille?

The Bastille served as an ammunition depot, a military garrison, and a prison. The king used to lock up whoever he wants. The Parisians wanted to obtain some weapons, which explains why they attacked the Bastille. The site was demolished after 1789.

Why July 14 is the republican symbol resulting from the revolution?

July 14, le quatorze juillet, was chosen as the national holiday in 1880 for two reasons:

  • A reminder of the storming of the Bastille by the people on July 14, 1789,
  • It is also the date of the Federation Day of July 14, 1790, which has been officially commemorated in France for more than a century.

How do the French celebrate July 14?

The French celebrate Bastille day on July 14 with parties and fireworks all over the country’s towns and villages.

A military parade has also been organized on the Champs-Elysées in Paris since 1919. The President of the French Republic often seizes the occasion to invite important political figures from all over the world.

The Parade of Victory on July 14, 1919, place de l’Etoile, in Paris.

Do you want to learn more about the History of France?

Join the Art and History Club to discover with other French learners the great names in History and the important periods in the History of France. You will find all the necessary information on this page.

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