Bastille Day!

Bonjour, mes amis!

I know that I’m currently in the middle of recounting my adventures while traveling in Asia this summer (if you haven’t been reading them, you can start here). But I would like to take a break to reflect on a special day today for France, as it is Bastille Day, aka “le 14 juillet” or “la fête nationale” for the prominent European country.

As you know from history textbooks, Bastille Day is a national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille, a prison-fortress in Paris, back on July 14, 1789. The event was a reaction towards the people’s unhappiness with the French monarchy, then under the rule of Louis XVI and his queen, the famous Marie Antoinette. French citizens gathered outside of the prison-fortress, demanding its surrender, as it was a symbol of monarchic tyranny. Cannon shots were fired, attackers were killed by the Royal Army, and nobles were seized, killed and beheaded, or otherwise assassinated. Although all but one day in French history, it was nevertheless an important one, for it marked the beginning of the French Revolution. It was the stepping stone to enacting further action in the years to come, from beheading the king and queen and later turning the country into a republic (which it is today).

Likened to the American Revolution one decade prior, the French Revolution had been inspired by it, which for me, as an American, is quite interesting in accessing the American-French ties in political ideals, which are very similar to each other. Even their respective Constitutions are nearly identical!

The day is a big one for the nation (think 4th of July in the U.S.), as people take time off to rest at home, party with friends and family, and of course watch the French military procession on the Champs-Élysées and the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower that same night. To be French, you must be proud: there’s not so much nationalist pride as there is during la fête nationale! 🙂

Although I am not French, Bastille Day is something that I acknowledge, even celebrate. The day brings back specific memories for me: I studied abroad in Paris two years ago in college and during my time there, I celebrated le 14 juillet; I had gone out with a friend from the program to dinner, and from there we made our way over to the Eiffel Tower to view the fireworks. Of course, there were a crazy amount of people all over the area: the Champs de Mars, the Trocadero, and elsewhereIt was very difficult to get good photos of the spectacle, as people were constantly in the way. However, I manage to capture a *decent* video of the fireworks, which I will share with you below. Two years later, and I still can’t help but reminisce about that night!

*video’s a bit blurry and overly bright, but I guarantee you that the fireworks were amazing!

Any case, whether or not you celebrate Bastille Day, have a good day and take care! Vive la France! 

— The Finicky Cynic

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