Monday, July 13, 2009


The Americans had a Revolution and the French followed suit with their own a few years later. Over two centuries have passed and the remnants of this fight for freedom still remain. One cannot miss the ubiquitous French motto "Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité" screaming to the high heavens on many
public buildings and statues all over the country.

Fête Nationale (National Celebration) or what is more commonly referred to as le quatorze juillet (the 14th of July) commemorates the Fête de la Fédération of 1790 held on the first anniversary after the storming of the now long gone Bastille Prison. Poor Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette didn't stand a change against Monsieur Guillotine and the old monarchy was replaced by a new constitutional monarchy. A grand feast celebrated the new government and "Bastille Day" has been recognized ever since. Of course, the dynamics have changed a bit. For one thing we no longer have to wear the formal attire and white wigs the 18th century citizens had to endure!

Like in the U.S., the French make their Indedpendence Day a national holiday, celebrating into the wee hours of the night. For the daytime festivities, join the crowds at the Champs-Elysees where there is the customary parade as well as the military jets streaming blue, white and red above.

For the evening, you won't want to miss the specatular fireworks. Of course, you will be able to see them just about anywhere in Paris, but if don't mind the crowds head towards the Eifel Tower. You will be so close to the action that you will inevitibly duck out of the way as the fireworks will appear to be falling on you. The Chinese may have discovered fireworks, but the French use their artistic abilities to create the most magnificent show I have ever seen. For those of you who watched the millenium celebrations around the world, you will probably remember that France's display blew everyone else's away.

So, eat, drink and be merry on this day of national celebration. The French certainly will be.

Thank you for reading and bonne journée!