01 of 06
In Pictures: Bastille Day, Past and Present
Bastille Day, also known in French as "La Fête Nationale", falls every 14th of July, marking a day of colorful celebrations, but also a solemn remembrance of the French citizens who fought for the establishment of a democratic Republic starting in the late 18th century. The 1789 storming of the Bastille prison was the watershed moment of public disobedience that has become the traditional symbol of the beginning of the first French Revolution (and also gave Bastille Day its name). Click through the gallery of Bastille Day pictures to get a sense of how the day has been celebrated in the past, as well as the traditions carried on today.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
History of Bastille Day: The Storming of the Bastille
This historical illustration shows the storming of the Bastille prison in central Paris on July 14th, 1789. The prison, housed in a fortified medieval structure which was later ravaged by fire and destroyed, was targeted due to its large arms stores, and the storming by insurrectionists was a critical moment in the first stirrings of the French Revolution. Today, the Colonne du Juillet stands at the site, though it does not actually commemorate the storming of the Bastille, but rather the 1830 Revolution known as "Les Trois Glorieuses". The ultracontemporary Opera Bastille now occupies the square and is the main attraction here.
Read More: Short History of ParisContinue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Bastille Day Fireworks in 1935
This shot circa 1935 shows firework displays illuminating the skies of Paris for the occasion of Bastille Day in 1935. Fireworks are an obvious staple of July 14th celebrations most years, but expect to compete with large crowds to get a glimpse!
Related:Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Feting Bastille Day in Cherbourg, 1944 (Before Paris' Liberation)
While not shot in Paris but in Cherbourg, in nearby Normandy, this photo shows residents and soldiers celebrating the liberation of the city of Cherbourg by Allied forces for the occasion of Bastille Day on July 14th, 1944-- only a little over a month before Paris would in turn see its own Liberation from Nazi occupying forces, on August 25th.
Read More: Short History of ParisContinue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Air Demonstration Over Concorde
A common element of the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris is an airshow. This shot shows French Air Force planes flying over the Place de la Concorde in Paris for the occasion of the Bastille Day on July 14th, 2002.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Traditional Military Parade on the Champs-Elysées
Traditional military parades and ceremonies are another common feature in French Bastille Day celebrations. In this shot, Britain's Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment rides down the Champs Elysees on Bastille Day in 2004, invited by the French government to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Franco-British friendship treaty known as the Entente Cordiale.