France’s National Day – commonly known as Bastille Day – is a time for the French to celebrate. From the annual military parade on the Champs-Élysées in Paris to spectacular fireworks displays all over the country, la fête nationale is an unmissable event for both locals and tourists alike.
However, it’s not just France who celebrates this monumental day. Bastille Day is celebrated around the world. Some countries have French roots ingrained in their history while others simply love an excuse to get behind the French culture.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague began its French market in 2008, aptly named le marché du 14 juillet (fourteenth of July market). Held on Kampa Island between 11-14 July, the market celebrates all things French as well as marking the relinquishing of the EU presidency from France to the Czech Republic. Feast your eyes (and stomach!) on a wide array of French produce and treats and enjoy the evening musicians that come to play.
In a heart warming act of combining two cultures, Pondicherry celebrates with a parade of retired soldiers on the eve of Bastille Day. Why Pondicherry, you may ask? It was formerly a French colony so both the Indian and French National Anthems are played at the parade to honour the French soldiers who were killed in battle.
The city of Liège was decorated by the Légion d’Honneur for its resistance during the Battle of Liège in 1914, so it has a longstanding French history. Liège has put on Bastille Day celebrations since the end of WWI, including a traditional festival dance and a highly-anticipated fireworks display. It is said that Liège’s Bastille Day celebrations are larger than those of the Belgian National holiday!
With a strong French community, the Consulate General of France generously sponsors a festival that is organised by the local French community of Toronto. In an added French flair, the pièce de resistance is a bal populaire. Mimicking the Parisian ball, it’s a wonderful way to finish off the Bastille Day celebrations.
Miami, United States of America
While there are plenty of fun French events and activities held in Miami come Bastille Day, there is one pinnacle event. Every year, event planning company French & Famous work towards a coveted Bastille Day event. The location and theme changes from year to year, attracting over 1,000 party-goers, making it one to mark in your diary!
Budapest holds a two-day celebration along the Danube River, with music, dancing and French markets attracting people to the streets to enjoy a taste of France. In a nod to the country, some traditional French foods have been mixed with Hungarian specialties to create a unique and tasty surprise! At the end of the festival, nab a spot along the river banks to watch the annual fireworks display.
Are you a Francophile or dreaming of France? Take a look at our France river cruises with Avalon Waterways, coach tours with Globus or Cosmos, and hosted city stays in Paris with Independence by Globus.