Bastille Day Concerts, Fireworks and the Firemen’s Balls – Paris:
The Bastille Day celebrations in Paris is one of the largest events in the French calendar. On July 14th, the Fête Nationale celebrations kick off with a huge military parade on the Champs-Elysées, followed by a flypast with the tricolour by the French Air Force. In the evening, visitors can look forward to fireworks, firemen’s balls and concerts and parties.
If you’re in Paris on July 14, here is a taste of events for the grand Fête Nationale celebrations.
Bastille Day Military Parade
Since 1880, the July 14th celebration has always begun with the traditional military parade. The parade starts at the Place de l’Étoile and makes its way down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to the Place de la Concorde where the soldiers salute the President of the Republic, senior authorities of the State, the diplomatic corps and some foreign leaders.
From 9:10 a.m.
- The troops assemble at the Place de l’Étoile for the military inspection.
From 10:00 a.m.
- The Bastille Day military parade starts with the arrival of the President of France (Emmanuel Macron) and other military chiefs at Avenue de Friedland on the Champs-Elysées.
- Tribute paid to the President.
- Opening flypast
- Parade of troops on foot from Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde, followed by mounted troops
- Procession of troops in military vehicles
- Departure of the President
Fireworks at the Trocadero – July 14
The Champ de Mars and the Trocadéro are favourite places to watch the spectacular firework display. This year’s fireworks display will have the theme “Paris et de l’Olympisme” (Paris and the values it defends in its Olympic Games bid). Paris hopes to be host city for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Starting at about 23:00, it will last for about 35 minutes.
If you’re planning on attending the fireworks, do arrive early and avoid driving. The Metro and RER are the best means of getting to the Trocadero as even the Vélib stations around the Champ de Mars will be inaccessible. Note: Paris Metros are very busy at best of times and for the Bastille Day celebrations you can expect it to be packed.
The Orchestre national de France and the Choeur de Radio France will perform a big concert of operatic works at the foot of the Eiffel Tower starring the greatest international artists. This year’s theme ‘Paris and the Olympics’ ties in with the fireworks display. This free event in an amazing setting starts at 9.30pm.
Balls of Fire in Paris – July 13 and 14
The legendary annual firemen’s balls take place at many of Paris’s fire stations. All are welcome to join in the party from about 20:00 – 04:00 am. Entry is generally free, but there’ll be a barrel going around for donations. For the list of fire stations to head for and dates and times, see Parisinfo page.