Bastille Day

15 Jul

Bastille Day or “la fete Nationale” is the France’s national holiday.  Having been to many Canada Day celebrations, we were certainly shocked by the differences we saw in France on this festive day.  Canada Day is a day to celebrate Canada, and everything it entails.  Usually there are parades, music, festivals, etc. Anything that highlights what makes our country great. Bastille Day on the other hand is a very militaristic day.  The parade is all military, tanks, helicopters, machine gun toting soldiers… I felt more like I was in a communist dictator led country with all the bravado and show of force.

We went to see the parade, however although it takes a long route through Paris, is mainly meant for the 30 or so politicians sitting at Place de Concorde.  This again seemed odd, they are celebrating their freedom from their former monarchy, the people that divided the rich and poor and had everyone bow down before them, yet they celebrate by having their military do just this?  Lucky for us, it started to pour rain shortly after the parade started so we were saved from the very pushy and rude people out to watch the parade.  We went home and watched the rest on tv, a much better view than we would have had anyways.

After the parade, the only other organized festivities during the day seems to be “let you kids play on military vehicles”.  Close by our apartment they had all kinds of tanks, jeeps, helicopters and even attack dogs on display.  Most of the equipment looked brand new, maybe even never used. I couldn’t help but think that France had more “display” helicopters than Canada probably had operational ones…

Fireworks pictures to come another day…

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