Fete Nationale/Bastille Day
Tomorrow is Fête Nationale ("National Celebration") in France or as it is known outside of France "Bastille Day".
It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution.
Festivities are held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic.
The parade opens with many cadets from the École Polytechnique, Saint-Cyr, École Navale, and so forth, then other infantry troops, then motorised troops; aviation of the Patrouille de France flies above. In recent times, it has become customary to invite units from France's allies to the parade; in 2004 during the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, British troops (the band of the Royal Marines, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Grenadier Guards and King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery) led the Bastille Day parade in Paris for the first time, with the Red Arrows flying overhead.
Traditionally, the students of the École Polytechnique set up some form of joke.
The president used to give an interview to members of the press, discussing the situation of the country, recent events and projects for the future. Nicolas Sarkozy, elected president in 2007, has chosen not to give it.
Bastille Day falls during the Tour de France and is traditionally a day when French riders try to take a stage victory for France, working harder than they might on other days.
All over France the atmosphere is amazing and whether you are in a small village or a large town you are guranteed to have a fabulous time. Last year we spent the night in Castillonnes where the mood was upbeat, a lot of champagne was consumed and the firework display was incredible as it seemed to go on and on.....
So you can understand why it is one of the best days to be in France.....