Today is Bastille Day, France’s national holiday! In France, the day is not usually referred to as ‘Bastille Day’, but rather ‘la fête nationale’ or simply ‘le 14 juillet’.
The day marks an important moment in French history – the Storming of the Bastille (la prise de la Bastille) on 14th July 1789 - the beginning of the French Revolution (la Révolution française).
The Bastille was a formidable fort and prison, where people were often imprisoned without trial on the orders of the King, thanks to a lettre de cachet. The Bastille had, therefore, come to represent absolute monarchy (la monarchie absolue) and its power to enforce arbitrary judgements that could not be appealed (l’arbitraire royal). Although there were famously just seven prisoners being held there at the time, the Storming of the Bastille is seen as a symbolic uprising against the oppression of the people at the hands of the French monarchy and is often regarded as the beginning of the French Revolution.
The day is celebrated across France and in many French communities across the world. The biggest and most famous celebrations take part in Paris, including the fireworks (les feux d’artifices) at the Eiffel Tower and the huge military parade (le défilé militaire) that marches along the Champs-Elysées, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde. The President of the French Republic, François Hollande will watch on, accompanied by his government and foreign ambassadors to France.
Several of our groups will be in France during this fantastic public holiday (le jour férié) – we hope that they all enjoy this opportunity to soak up the vibrant French culture and learn more about its history!
France is one of our top school trip destinations, as it combines easy travel with fantastic learning opportunities. Whether your group are studying French, history, art, food technology or even fashion, we can arrange a trip to France to suit you.