Known as la fête nationale or le quatorze juillet, Bastille Day is France’s most important national day. It marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (a prison) on 14 July 1789, beginning the French Revolution. Nowadays, you can find celebrations everywhere so here is how Bastille Day is celebrated around the world. 

Vancouver, Canada 

Bastille Day, Vancouver
Freshly baked baguettes and pastries ready for Bastille Day celebrations in Vancouver
Photo by bastilledayvancouver on Instagram

Vancouver is one of the most multicultural cities in North America. The Bastille Day Festival Society holds an annual, free event with French exhibits, food and entertainment to celebrate Bastille Day. A highlight is the beer garden serving crisp, French wine to quench your thirst on a hot summer’s day. Come nighttime, the Vancouver City Hall is lit up to display the colours of the French flag.  

Dublin, Ireland 

The Church Bar, Dublin
The converted Church Bar, Dublin
Photo by tinihigher on Instagram

In Ireland, the Embassy of France organises a range of fun events in Limerick, Cork and Dublin. In Dublin, you can partake in screenings of popular French films and specialty menus served at certain restaurants. The largest Bastille Day event is held at The Church, a former church come bar and restaurant. It’s a grandiose setting, having had its original pipe organs, stained glass, woodwork and artwork all restored. A two-day party ensues with French DJs, pétanque, wine and crêpes.  

Washington DC, USA 

Bastille Day, Washington DC
Photo by citycenterdc on Instagram

The Embassy of France works with Washington DC to bring France to life around 14 July. Several restaurants hold joyous parties with traditional French food and wine, and live music can be found dotted around the city, too. Don’t miss the French Festival – both educational and fun where you can meet period entertainment groups set during the time of the French Revolution.  

London, England 

French pastry
Connaught Patisserie in London adding their own French twist
Photo by nicolasrouzaud on Instagram

London is renowned for holding many citywide celebrations, and Bastille Day is no exception. From special French theatre put on at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town, to garden parties and cabaret, you’ll feel joie de vivre if visiting London at this time of year. We particularly love watching the Bankside and Borough Market turn French with street performers and traditional games.  

Of course, you can also celebrate Bastille Day in the motherland, France. Discover this magnificent country on an Avalon Waterways river cruise, or on a Globus or Cosmos tour. 

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