The fourteenth of July

le 14 juillet

Are you aware that the French national holiday is celebrated on the fourteenth of July each year? It’s worth knowing that it was established in 1880 and it is without a doubt a public holiday. For the French, the day symbolises the end of absolute monarchy and privilege, but also national reconciliation.

Military parade

But what actually takes place in France during this commemoration? First of all, as in many other countries, a military parade is held in the capital, along the Champs-Elysées. The President of the Republic inspects the troops while spectators watch the aircraft of the Patrouille de France perform in the sky. These French Airforce planes are famous throughout the world for their acrobatic feats. Sometimes, the President makes a speech which is broadcast on television. Many towns host concerts and locals can watch brass bands playing in the streets. The soldiers perform military numbers, including the most famous of all: the Marseillaise national anthem.


But no 14 July would be complete without the traditional fireworks which appeal to young and old alike. All of the major towns and cities on the Côte d’Azur host their own displays and make every effort to put on the best show in the region. Antibes, Cannes and Nice amaze us every year with unforgettable pyrotechnic extravaganzas.

Balls and concerts

In the evening, balls are organised pretty much everywhere. The most popular continues to be the Fireman’s Ball, held on the eve of the national holiday. Firefighters open their doors to the public, allowing people to gain a better understanding of the service. And we mustn’t forget the famous bals musettes – dances featuring an instrument commonly associated with France: I am talking, of course, about the accordion. But don’t worry, there are also concerts aimed at a younger audience!

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July is here at last


Nissart: a regional variety of the Occitan language