Tag Archives: French Revolution

Bastille Day Fireworks

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.

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Bastille Day Fireworks

Bastille Day, Frances most important national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and was seen as a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th’s Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol, the people warned France that the king’s power was no longer absolute: they thought power should be shared by the Nation and be limited by a separation of powers.

Although the Bastille only held seven prisoners at the time of its capture, the storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty and the fight against oppression for all French citizens; like the Tricolore, the French national flag, it symbolized the Republic’s three main ideas: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all the people of France. It signified the end of absolute monarchy, the birth of the sovereign Nation, and, ultimately, the formation of the (First) Republic, in 1792.

Eiffel Tower Fireworks Display

Bastille Day was officially declared a national holiday on 6 July 1880 when the new Republic was firmly established. Bastille Day is very important for the French as it symbolizes the birth of the Republic. As in the US, where the signing of the Declaration of Independence heralded the start of the American Revolution, in France, the storming of the Bastille began the Great Revolution. In both countries, the national holiday thus symbolises the beginning of a new form of government.

On the one year anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, delegates from every region of France proclaimed their allegiance to a single national community during the Fête de la Fédération in Paris – the first time in history that a people had claimed their right to self-determination.

There are nationwide celebrations every July the 14th but some of the biggest in the country take place in Paris along the famous Champs-Elysees. Thousands of spectators turn out to watch the procession and military bands as they make their way along the tree-lined avenue. After dark, raucous parties, the famous fireman’s ball – where members of the public are invited to attend in every fire station in the city – and huge fireworks display light up the night.

With a backdrop of the world-famous Eiffel Tower, the fireworks are certainly spectacular, the Tower itself is often rigged and massive jets of flame shoot from all sides as aerial shells burst high above to wow the cheering crowds. The French do everything with a sense of style and Bastille Day is their time to celebrate liberty, equality and fraternity with a healthy dose of pomp and ceremony. Viva La France !  and Viva Le Fireworks !

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Bastille Day 2008

Bastille Day, Frances most important national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and was seen as a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th’s Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol, the people warned France that the king’s power was no longer absolute: they thought power should be shared by the Nation and be limited by a separation of powers.

Although the Bastille only held seven prisoners at the time of its capture, the storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty and the fight against oppression for all French citizens; like the Tricolore, the French national flag, it symbolized the Republic’s three main ideas: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all the people of France. It signified the end of absolute monarchy, the birth of the sovereign Nation, and, ultimately, the formation of the (First) Republic, in 1792.

Bastille Day was officially declared a national holiday on 6 July 1880 when the new Republic was firmly established. Bastille Day is very important for the French as it symbolizes the birth of the Republic. As in the US, where the signing of the Declaration of Independence heralded the start of the American Revolution, in France, the storming of the Bastille began the Great Revolution. In both countries, the national holiday thus symbolizes the beginning of a new form of government.

Continues @ Epic Fireworks

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