“Is this a revolt?” asked Louis XVI “No Sire, this is a revolution” replied the Duque of Rochefoucal, and so began the French Revolution. The date was the 12th of July 1789 two days before the storming of the Bastille.
On the 19th of May King Louis met with the deputies of the third estate representing the common people who later chose to break away and form a national assembly, swearing not to separate until a national constitution had been formed: The other two estates belonging to the Catholic Church and the French nobility.
On the 14th of July a decision was made to storm the Bastille; a symbol of Royal authority. Unknown to the invaders, the prison at the time only contained seven prisoners … and 30,000 lb of black powder! Very useful when you consider that earlier in the day, the Hotel Des Invalids had also been attacked to liberate the 30,000 muskets and cannons being stored in the cellar to help further their cause.
The words used “Men are born free, and remain free and equal” are still as relevant today as they have always been. In fact many countries use this statement within their human rights declarations.
In Paris, the biggest Bastille Day party on the planet begins at 11am, as the “Alpha Jets” (part of France’s air force) will fly over the Capital emitting plumes of red, white and blue smoke to emanate the tricolour flag and signifying the start of a parade of some 4,000 soldiers, firefighters and police officers will march down the Champs-Elysees where each side of the streets will be flanked by adoring crowds.
In the afternoon, many fire department ‘balls’ take place. These are commonly held in every neighbourhood across France.
The high point of the day takes place at sunset by the Eiffel Tower; overlooked by over 50,000 spectators as music fills the air with 250 members of the French National orchestra joined by the radio France choir who will be singing patriotic renditions of Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz and Wager, followed by a MASSIVE FIREWORKS DISPLAY.
Around the World, French expatriate will be remembering the reason for their freedom and joining in celebrations and in London there are a number of events planning in Battersea Park, Camden Town & Kentish Town.
Over in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, they have held especially themed events since 2008. There will be red, white and blue themed bunting as all things French will be on display around a specially arranged French style market with music, wine and food. The event takes place on Kampa Island, just over the Charles Bridge down the romantic lanes.
In the US, 50 cities have events planned to commemorate the day, from a forty-three foot replica of the Eiffel Tower in Milwaukie to the largest party outside France in the French quarter of New Orleans.
Whilst there is nothing on north of the M25, if you are an expatriate and plan to celebrate, please remember we are here seven days a week, with a whole of host of predominantly red, white and blue firework cakes and rockets to help you celebrate continued freedom!
Vive La Revolution