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Bastille Day Celebrations

Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower (Flickr attributed by y.caradec)

Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower (Flickr by y.caradec)

On July 14th the French will be celebrating Bastille Day. For those of who you do not know, Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison and is viewed as the first move towards democracy. Throughout France, Bastille Day is celebrated with fireworks, flag flying, parades, and parties. If you are American (like me) it can be compared to the spirit felt on the fourth of July. Just like in the United States the most grand of the celebrations are held in the largest of cities. So, Paris is the ideal place to be for Bastille Day! Although Paris holds the grandest celebrations, all of France holds celebrations on Bastille Day.

Bastille Day Celebrations in Paris

Bastille Day Celebrations on the Arc de Triomphe (Flickr by Ammar Abd Rabbo)

Bastille Day Celebrations on the Arc de Triomphe (Flickr by Ammar Abd Rabbo)

Some of the experiences that Paris offers on Bastille Day are a grand parade on the famous Champs Elysees and fireworks blasting off the Eiffel Tower. The sights of Paris are stunning without the flamboyancy; imagine how they will look with fireworks, parades, and flags in the streets! One way to see the key sights in Paris like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Champs Elysees is by using a hop-on-hop-off bus. This bus system has 19 stops that highlight all of Paris. In my travels I have found this to be a wonderful way to travel around a city. The double decker bus is a fun way to see all the sights. Also, using the hop-on-hop-off method allows you to spend as much time as you would like at a spot instead of being ushered around by a tour guide. Having experienced both forms, I have found the hop-on-hop-off bus system to be more relaxing.

More ideas for Bastille Day

Or celebrate Bastille Day by taking a step back in history to see the Palace of Versailles and look at how the French nobility lived. Versailles is the most famous palace in France that was home to many of the French royalty. Whilst at Versailles a tour of the palace is a must. The Hall of Mirrors is a breath taking ball room and is regarded as the most beautiful room in the palace. It is also necessary to meander through the gardens and view the fabulous fountains. I visited Versailles when I was 10 years old and still remember visiting this grand palace, which shows just how remarkable Versailles is.

In the evening after spending Bastille Day touring Versailles, a romantic dinner in Paris is the perfect way to end the day. What could be more beautiful than a glass ceiling boat cruising the Seine River looking at the Parisian monuments illuminated? Not much, this is why a dinner cruise on the Seine River is a wonderful way to end Bastille Day. Paris has many things to experience; so why not travel there when all of France is celebrating Bastille Day!

Bastille Day in the United States

Not spending your time in France during Bastille Day? That isn’t a problem because several cities in the United States hold celebrations for Bastille Day. There are celebrations throughout the United States in cities like New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and everywhere in between.

Celebrations in New York City for Bastille Day

The Statue of Liberty (Flickr by Koshyk)

The Statue of Liberty (Flickr by Koshyk)

One of America’s most visited destinations is New York City. So, it comes as no surprise that a Bastille Day celebration takes place there. The celebration takes place on 60th street between Lexington and Fifth Avenue. In NYC there will be French food, a themed market, live performances, and dancing. Another way to celebrate Bastille Day is to visit the Statue of Liberty, a gift given to America by the French. The Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most iconic images and is truly a site to behold.

Bastille Day celebrations in Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love or Philadelphia as it is more widely known holds a Bastille Day celebration as well. It is held in the Eastern State Penitentiary, which is regarded as America’s most historic prison. For Bastille Day the former Penitentiary holds a re-enactment of the storming of the Bastille. Also, French pastries are thrown over the walls and into the crowd. What a fun way to spend Bastille Day! One way to see the major sites in Philadelphia is to use the Philadelphia CityPass . The CityPass gives one a booklet of tickets to the major attractions in Philadelphia. The CityPass includes tickets to attractions like: The Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Philadelphia Zoo, a hop-on-hop-off tour, the National Constitution Centre, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Eastern State Penitentiary. The City Pass is a wonderful way to ensure all the sights of Philadelphia are seen.

San Francisco on Bastille Day

Another city that has a Bastille Day celebration is San Francisco. For Bastille Day San Francisco holds celebrations in the French quarter located downtown. San Francisco is famous for their foggy days, cable cars, and the Golden Gate Bridge. An exciting way to see San Francisco is to take a city tour and sightseeing cruise. On the city tour visit Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Twin Peaks, the Golden Gate Bridge, and many more. There are just as many sites to see by sea. By sea, cruise around Alcatraz Island, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, and watch the sea lions that inhabit Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf. After this introduction to the San Francisco area, it will be easier to find the French quarter where Bastille Day celebrations will be taking place.

So, whether one is in the heart of France or as far a way as San Francisco finding a way to celebrate Bastille Day can be accomplished.

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