On the 14th July 1789 a historic event that would shake the very foundations of the French aristocracy forever. On the 16th May of the same year, King Louis XVI arranged a meeting to address the grievances of the poor, the church and the nobility.
Late eighteenth century France was a truly awful place where the poor were literally starving in the streets whilst the aristocracy ate and drank to excess and the upper echelons were attending to more than their fair share of debauchery.
This could not be allowed to continue so the king resurrected an old method of bringing everyone together as representatives of the ‘Commoner’ and reach some resolution to the already scandalous issues they faced. However, after some discussion, it was rumoured by some, that the government would try to suppress the poor so the meeting was left unresolved leading so discussions about the storming of the Bastille.
At the time, La Bastille was one of the most fortified buildings in Paris originally built to keep the British out. Later being developed into a prison for fifty captives, believed to have held various political miscreants and those who had less than complimentary words for the crown, the main reason for the invasion was to take into their possession the huge stashes of gunpowder and ammunition, just in case.
As it turned out, there were only seven detainees in the Bastille at the time, consisted of four forgers, two “lunatics” and a deviant aristocrat. None however were of any political importance.
As the thronged masses of the poor of Paris descended on the Bastille, Governor De Launay, commander of the Bastille, realised this was not going to go well and opened the Prison gates to prevent a massacre of both sides. Little did he know his actions would later lead to the abolishment of feudalism and bring into place the declaration of the rights of the man and of the citizen.
Tonight at 11pm a massive fireworks show lasting thirty-five minutes will take place at the “Trocadero” near to the tower, with the Eiffel Tower as the centerpiece, being used in this way for the first time since the millennium celebrations in 1999/2000.
With most events of this kind, usually a team of pyrotechnic specialists will have been working for the last few days putting all the equipment in place, securing firing systems, and getting everything ready for the appropriate time. But when you consider that the Eiffel tower is one of the planet’s most popular landmarks, you can’t just shut it down on a whim, so because of this teams of guys from “Group F” will have just FOUR HOURS to rig all the pyro for the show, hopefully the boys and girls that make up the French pyrotechnic and theatre group, best known for their 1998 World Cup fireworks show will have a head for heights.
This year’s theme is “Guerre et paix” or “war and peace”, as we remember those lost in the Great War.
The evening will start at 21:30 with a concert at the base of the Eiffel tower on the “Champ du Mars” with the fireworks show starting at 23:00, this will be televised for the millions of French not able to make it to the celebrations.
Any French wanting to stage their own celebrations this evening, will be here until 4pm today for collections, and have something to suit all budgets.