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.
Things to Do in Paris
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Can sb please help us? We’ll be with our two kids (5 and 7), visiting Paris on the 14 (we’ll be staying at Val D’Europe), but we’ve NO idea which stations will be closed. Please give me advice on the following:
1. We want to see the airplanes that form the French flag when the parade begins. Where should we get off while on the RER A line to see that? Will Etoile be closed? Should we get off at Chatelet and see them from the Louvre IF they’re visible there? Should we get off at La Defense and go to that Concorde Lafayette hotel cafe to see them (and have a drink or sth), but is that open to poor folk like us and how do we get there ? (not sure if taxis are easily available)
2. We want to go to the Science Museum in the afternoon, but, again, no idea how (also don’t know which stations will be closed)
3. Is there a place NEAR an RER A line station (hopefully they’ll be open, but the RER site wasn’t working in English) with a new view at the fireworks at night ? Again, we’ll be with two children and it’ll be very late, so we need easy access
Thanks guys 🙂
Helen Page says
For information on which Paris metro exits will be closed on July 14th, we suggest that you check this information with your hotel concierge who will have the latest holiday metro news. Your hotel concierge will also be able to provide you with metro maps and show you where the stops are.
As regards getting to the Science City, Line 7 will get you to Porte de la Villete station where you get off. (see the metro map here). As there’s tram construction work in the area, please follow Science City’s instructions on how to get to museum.
The fireworks at 23:00 is being launched from the Trocadero, so the best views are near the Eiffel Tower. Again, the metro will get you there. The metro will be very crowded after the event so consider if you want to subject your young children to the crowded transport system, especially if you don’t know your way around.
Thank you so much for replying to me!!
And to think that we had a hotel near the Eiffel tower, but cancelled it to stay in Val d’Europe. Sigh. In fact our hotel is Ibis, so I HIGHLY doubt there’s a concierge to give us metro information. And with two young kids, the trip will be made even more difficult. Can you imagine getting into so much trouble to go to the science museum, only to find out that it’s closed? THeir website is always under construction when it comes to the English version 🙁 In fact I’ve emailed them but haven’t received a reply yet.
I wonder if it’s better to rent a car. Of course that would still be a problem, as the area around the Eiffel tower will be too crowded or closed, and we’re too scared to rent a car because we’ve never driven on that side of the road (and, again, we’ll be with two young kids. Our kids).
Would you say watching it from far wouldn’t be that much of a good idea? Or maybe we shoul djust stay in Disneyland that day? I know they have ‘special’ fireworks, but would they be worth it as much as the Eiffel tower ones?
Thank you 🙂