Issues to Do on Bastille Day in Paris, France (2023 Information & Suggestions)

UPDATE FOR 2021: Bastille Day celebrations will resume this yr and are set to accommodate 25,000 viewers. The seated space won’t have formal spacing however social distancing and masks will probably be required. In the meantime, the standing space can have a 4-sqm spacing rule for each individual. All in all, folks will probably be allowed to enter Champs-Elysées for the parade.

One of many European celebrations that you must NOT miss out on could be the French Nationwide Day: ‘Bastille Day‘ in France!

Referred to as in lots of names: La Fête Nationale (The Nationwide Celebration), La Fête de la Bastille (Bastille Celebration), or Le Quatorze Juillet (the fourteenth of July), this superb affair is widely known yearly on the 14th of July. With French folks all around the world celebrating at the present time, naturally, it’s a HUGE celebration — extra so in Paris as they maintain festive occasions for all tastes and ages from the early hours of the morning until the wee hours of the night time.

That’s why this yr, I used to be extremely completely happy after I was invited to the ‘Metropolis of Love‘ to hitch the fête!

Come and take a look at this checklist of the prime issues to do in Paris which options one of the best actions and excursions to do out and in of town!

About Bastille Day

  • Bastille Day commemorates the Storming of the Bastille (a fortress and jail for individuals who opposed France’s kings) on July 14, 1789, thereby marking the French Revolution.
  • Bastille Day solely turned a nationwide vacation in 1880 and the French proceed to have fun it right now as a means of recognizing the importance of this occasion which ushered the finish of the royal monarchy and the start of its trendy republic.
  • It’s only on Paris’ Bastille Day that you simply get to witness the oldest and largest common army parade in Europe! It occurs on the morning of July 14 on the Champs-Élysées.

So how was it for me? Properly, I actually had a swell time spending Bastille Day in Paris — it was memorable and I extremely recommend that you simply make it a degree to attend this too!

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Issues to Do on Bastille Day

» 9AM: Witness the Navy Parade (Défilé Militaire) at Champs-Élysées

As I’ve already talked about above, that is Europe’s oldest and largest common army parade; subsequently, it’s fairly a sight to see!

All visitors will often be closed beginning at 7AM in Champs-Elysées and its surrounding streets, and it’s truly round 10AM that this system begins from the Arc de Triomphe — nonetheless, I’ve talked about 9AM as a result of it’s at all times finest to come back early. Given the hype that surrounds this army parade, it might probably get very crowded!

So throughout this parade, trumpets would usually first sign the arrival of the President of the French Republic, the Air Pressure will begin cruising low within the sky both doing stunts or spreading coloured smoke (after all within the colours of the French flag and it usually occurs round 10:45AM), after which the elite models of the French military will begin to parade down the picturesque avenue right down to Place de la Concorde on foot, on bikes, on horses, on tanks, on jeeps, and many others.

Lately, it has even grow to be a customized for France to ask models from its shut allies to take part within the parade. For this yr, they’ve invited troops from Australia and New Zealand.


  • There will probably be a HUGE crowd. Tons of individuals will line up on each side of the avenue of Champs-Elysées and safety may also be fairly tight! Given this reality, it’s advisable that you simply come early; or in case you can’t, convey a stool to face on (I’ve seen some folks doing this).
  • It’s finest to keep away from standing beneath a giant tree as a result of you may miss seeing the aerial present through the parade. Probably the greatest spots to be in could be beneath George V avenue.
  • An alternative choice is to come back round 8AM or earlier to order a seat in one of many open cafés or eating places in Champs-Elysées which can be on an higher degree of a constructing.
    • You may as well guide an AirBnB or Paris resort that has the mandatory vantage level to look over the avenue (simply ensure there are not any bushes in the way in which of your view!)
  • A few of the metro stations close to Champs-Elysées will probably be closed from 8AM till 12PM. They’re not at all times the identical yearly, however more often than not it’s the stations of Concorde, George V, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Champs Elysees Clemenceau, and Tuileries that will probably be closed. That being mentioned, do ensure to test earlier than you go!
    • Earlier than and after the present, I took the Saint-Philippe du Roule metro cease and it was only a 5-minute stroll to get to the avenue space.
    • To test which metro stations will probably be closed, go right here.
  • After the Bastille Day parade, you may stroll on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées till 6PM because it transforms right into a pedestrian-only street in the meanwhile so go mad snapping footage away on this spot!

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» Remainder of the Day: See Paris’ Sights or Watch a FREE Film Outdoor

Although it’s a nationwide vacation, a number of Paris’ eating places, museums, and points of interest keep open — a few of them may even be entered for FREE. For that motive, you must make use of this time to go to the Louvre Museum, the Notre Dame de Paris, the Musée d’Orsay, the Chateâu de Versailles and a lot extra!

For concepts, go learn my information right here:

» READ: Prime 10 FREE Issues to Do in Paris

If nonetheless, you simply need to chill with buddies, you may attend a FREE Open Air Cinema within the inexperienced lawns of Parc de la Villette that’s situated within the nineteenth district within the northeastern a part of Paris. It runs from July to August as a part of its annual Open Air Movie Pageant — so it’s probably the greatest issues to do on Bastille Day.

You possibly can at all times lease chairs and blankets on web site if in case you didn’t get the prospect to convey one. However like I mentioned, it’s open for all! If you wish to entry the garden on different dates, you have to register on the La Villette web site. (Most movies, nonetheless, are in French however there are additionally overseas movies being performed however with French subtitles.)

For more information, you may test by right here.

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» 9PM: Catch the Stay Live performance and Fireworks Present at Champ de Mars

Yet one more spotlight of at the present time that’s nice to do with buddies as you convey alongside a picnic blanket, some meals, and bottles of wine!

So firstly, the reside classical live performance will begin at 9:15PM on the foot of the Eiffel Tower that includes the Orchestre Nationwide de France and the Choir of Radio France — this may change within the coming years, however up to now they’ve been constantly doing it. They’ll carry out fashionable present tunes and soundtracks, and by the top of the night time (through the fireworks present) they’ll play the French nationwide track: Le Marseillaise.

The Fireworks Present will begin at precisely 11PM and the dazzling lights will set off from the Eiffel Tower and the gardens of Trocadéro for about 35 minutes.


  • As per traditional, Parisians and guests alike will probably be flocking to this, so if you wish to have one of the best view, reserve your picnic spot on Champ de Mars at round 5PM. (Some folks even begin marking their territory on the early hours of the morning!)
    • Relaxation assured, there are different spots in Paris which can be good for watching the fireworks (corresponding to that on a Seine river cruise). I didn’t handle to get a spot in Champ de Mars so I ended up within the bridge of Pont de l’Alma which nonetheless had nice views of all of it (as you may see in my video and within the photograph above)! For the opposite finest locations to view the fireworks show, you may learn my put up beneath…

» READ: The Finest Spots to Watch Bastille Day Fireworks in Paris, France

  • Remember that there are only a few public bathrooms and they’ll find yourself being crowded too; so I recommend that you simply put together some money beforehand for getting low-cost drinks in close by cafés or bars as a way to use their restroom.
  • Very similar to the Bastille Day Navy Parade, metro stations throughout the neighborhood will probably be closed earlier than and/or after the present.
    • Even when there are close by metro stations open after the Fireworks Present, they are going to be filled with folks so I recommend that you simply put on comfy sneakers for strolling because you may must stroll a bit additional out from the Champs de Mars space to get to a metro station that’s open and fewer crowded.
    • After the present, I needed to stroll a bit to achieve the Iéna metro station (because it was the closest connection to my resort situated within the Bastille neighborhood). As soon as I used to be there, I needed to look ahead to 10 minutes nonetheless till the group thinned a bit extra.
    • To test which metro stations will probably be closed, go right here.
    • When you assume you will get a taxi or Uber — don’t. The encircling space will probably be in a jam so that you’re actually higher off strolling.

– – –

» Late Evening: Attend a Fireman’s Ball (Les Bals des Pompiers) 

One good strategy to keep away from the busy metro stations after the Fireworks Present: make a detour and attend a close-by Fireman’s Ball!

Because the identify goes, this social gathering takes place in hearth stations (casernes) round Paris’ 20 arrondissements — so sure, you may social gathering with (sizzling) firemen and French people! *wink*

Whereas there are many decisions to go for Firemen’s Balls, it’s mentioned that one of the best events are completed on the eve of Bastille Day (July 13). You possibly can see on this hyperlink an inventory of the collaborating hearth stations.

These aren’t just for leisure however for charity too since there’s at all times a small entrance charge to be paid for and naturally, snacks and drinks to purchase. When you’re up for it, the firemen may also be promoting raffle tickets and once more, the entire proceeds will probably be given to charities or for the development of their very own amenities.

When you keep in these locations up till late night time, most of them will rework right into a dance membership full of youthful folks, full with a DJ.


  • These all-night soirees begin at round 9PM till the early hours of the morning (however most would wind down round midnight)
  • These events don’t solely occur on the 14th of July but additionally on the thirteenth; however take observe that metro stations are open till 2:15AM solely throughout today.
  • If you need a whole checklist of Fireman’s Ball events going round in Paris, test by this hyperlink.

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» Prime Paris Excursions «

Come and take a look at my checklist of the ‘Finest Accommodations in Paris’ which options the highest really helpful decisions for affordable to luxurious lodging decisions.

• • •


The month of July is actually a time whereby the entire of France comes alive, and even in case you’re not a neighborhood, you might be at all times welcome to have fun Bastille Day with the French folks!

If you wish to be on the heart of all of it, then for certain a visit to Paris on July 14 is a should. With tons of occasions and actions to select from, it’s now my hope that you simply get probably the most out of at the present time with the assistance of this information. Bonne Fête Nationale!

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