July 14: The Storming of the Bastille

French Revolution

“Bastille Day”, known as Quatorze Juillet (14 July), is France’s National Day. With a history of what led to the revolutionary day, it is related to the historical event: the Fête de la Fédération, Festival of the Federation, a mass gathering which was held on on July 14 1790. Paris was in a state of high agitation in the early months of the French revolution. 1789, Paris people attacked the Bastille: a political prison, which was a symbol of the monarchy of the times, aiming to seize weapons, ammunition and powder to fight the royal troops and more. The people of Paris seized weapons from the the Invalides and stormed the ancient Royal fortress at Bastille. Eventually, they broke into the Bastille and released the prisoners that were captive there.


Bastille Day


The storming of the Bastille was a symbolic victory of the people of Paris against a symbol of the Ancien Régime, the Old Regime. The Fête de la Fédération gave birth to a new time in France with constitutional monarchy which abolished absolutism. Masses of people paraded to the Champ-de-Mars in Paris to attend a military parade led by Lafayette, with speeches by King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

Today, the festivities of July 14 in Paris are marked with the traditional military parade on the Champs-Elysées, and dancing and fireworks display through prominent monuments like the Eiffel Tower, city wide, with more celebrations across the nation. The military parade typically passes down the Champs-Élysées from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, to the President of the French Republic.