In France for Bastille Day? Or Fête Nationale as the French call it? Head to one of these cities on 14th July for firework extravaganzas, dancing until the early hours and a wonderful celebratory atmosphere as the French show those Parisians a thing or two about partying! But if you’re in Paris, check out are blog about where to celebrate Bastille Day in Paris, an insider’s guide! and find a place to kip at some of these hostels in France.
The fireworks of the medieval city are known worldwide. The setting is glorious and the fireworks themselves are lit along the ramparts, designed to give the impression that the whole city has caught fire. It’s no wonder more than 700,000 people come every year to enjoy the show. The tradition dates back to 1898 and this year the light display promises to be just as spectacular. It’s best enjoyed from the banks of the river Aube on 14 July from 10:30pm.
In Nice, the Promenade des Anglais is the place to be on the 14th July. A military parade will be held in the afternoon and 6 stages hosting all kinds of music will be erected along the promenade called ‘Prom Party’ playing jazz, traditional music, DJs, gigs and traditional ball. The music will be interrupted at 11pm by fireworks on the beach which you can see from all along the Baie des Anges.
Once again, the beautiful settings only adds to the overall effect of the display. The fireworks are lit along the banks of the Rhône and a wonderful spot to enjoy the show is on the famous bridge of Avignon itself. Here you can also watch a traditional folk performance which takes place just before the fireworks kick off. To enjoy a different panorama, try the rock of the Doms above the Palais des Papes and although you’ll miss the folk show, you can escape the dense throng on the bridge. After the fireworks, a big ball will be thrown on the square of the Palais des Papes from 10pm with several bands playing.
In Bordeaux, a number of events take place on 13th and 14th July. A military parade on l’Esplanade des Quinconces and a giant picnic in Simone Signoret park start at 8pm, followed by a ball and fireworks. Another place to join in the dancing of a ball is at Victor Raulin square, Quai Louis XVIII and from the 14th, at the fire stations of Ornano and de la Benauge. Several fireworks displays will light up the night sky but the biggest one happens from the Bridge of Stone on the Garonne river at 10:45pm. You can see it from the Harbour of the Moon (Pont de la Lune).
The firework in the Vieux Port on 13th of July are just a warm up for the big ones on the 14th the Vieux Port, Fort d’Entrecasteaux and Notre-Dame de la Garde cathedral at 10:oopm. If you want to enjoy it without the crowds, try positioning yourself on Frioul Island, a wonderful setting. You can go there in the evening by boat for about €9 euros.
On 14th July, there’s a military parade then animations at the grand Rond Garden, Quai de la Daurade and the Halle aux Grains. Allées Jean-Jaurès hosts a big party rounded off with fireworks at 10.45pm.
Events are located in the Pâquier area, on the banks of the Annecy lake, with a beautiful panorama of the lake and the mountains. Lots of free animations for kids and gigs from 5:30pm with Country Western Dance, the Hillbilly Rockers and Swing Folies. The good thing is you’ll be at the perfect spot to enjoy the fireworks at 10:15pm. To finish, the ball starts at 10:40pm with the Mirage band playing until 1am.
In Lille all balls are held on the 13th July, most of them outside and starting at 8pm. Faubourg de Bethune, will be followed by fireworks in the schoolyard in the Bois Blanc neighbourhood with a ball in the Brossolette room. The most cosmopolitan of all the balls will be organised by the Wazemmes’ town hall on Casquette square.
On the 14th, a military parade will march along Boulevard de la Liberté from 5:30pm and a huge firework display will be thrown on the Champ de Mars at 11pm. The best place to enjoy it is on the banks of the river Deûle.
Head down to Charpak park in Montpellier’s Port Marianne District for the biggest fireworks in Hérault. The festivities start at 9:30pm on the steps of City Hall in Georges Frêche square, with music from the Big Band. Then at 11:00pm the fireworks will begin, culimating the the Grand Ball starting at 11:30pm and ending at 1:30am.
Traditionally fire stations open and organise balls for 14th July and in Lyon they take things very seriously indeed! Gerleand fire station has been known to become a giant night-club, with a lounge terrace and a sandy beach outside so you can party all night long on 13th and 14th July. Try the Croix Rousse square for a real good time with dance, music, drinks from 9:00am – 7:00pm. The main fireworks take place on the Fourvière hill on 14th at 10:30pm. Best spot to watch them is on the bank of the river Rhône or Saône.
Discover other places to celebrate Bastille Day in France at www.placesinfrance.com.
Thanks to terren in Virginia, TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³, Gimli_36 and joobili for the images off Flickr! Please note that all images were used under the Creative Commons license at the time of posting.