Bastille Day Parade, Concerts, Fireworks and Concerts – Paris:
The Bastille Day celebrations in Paris is one of the largest and most important event in the French calendar. On July 14th, the Fête Nationale celebrations kick off with a huge military parade on the Champs-Elysées. This parade has been held since 1880 but was cancelled last year because of Covid restrictions. The French Air Force show their aerobatic skills in a flypast, painting the Parisienne skies with the tricolor.
In the evening, visitors can look forward to fireworks, concerts and parties. The very popular firemen’s balls have unfortunately been cancelled.
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 kicked off with the traditional military parade. It 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 invited foreign leaders.
From 9:10 a.m.
- The troops assemble at the Place de l’Étoile for the military inspection.
From 10:10 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.
- The iconic 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. The theme for this year’s pyrotechnic show is “Liberty” one of the fundamental values that define French society. The fireworks usually starts at 23:00 and lasts for about 35 minutes.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris and are planning on attending the fireworks, do arrive early and avoid driving. The Metro and RER are the best means of getting to the Trocadero.
Note: Paris Metros are very busy at best of times and for the Bastille Day celebrations you can expect it to be packed. Also, it’s advisable to keep posted on announcements as arrangements can change due to the coronavirus.
The Orchestre National de France and the Choir of Radio France will perform a big symphonic and classical concert at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. This year’s key performers include South African soprano Pretty Yende, mezzo Clémentine Margaine, tenor Piotr Beczała and others. This free event starts at 9.15 pm.
Balls of Fire in Paris – July 13 and 14 (Cancelled)
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.