8 Ideas/Tips To Spend An Exceptional Bastille Day (July 14th) In Paris

If there’s only one thing you shouldn’t miss if you are in Paris over the month of July, it’s the national Day (Bastille Day) on July 14th. For this occasion, the capital will attire itself with its best colors: blue, white and red. Beyond the traditional and globally renowned military parade, there are other activities to do in the capital on this national holiday…

 

1) Military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées

French troops parading down the Champs-Elysées avenue
Credits: Vince 11111, Flickr, under Creative Commons 2.0

On the morning of July 14th in Paris takes place the famous military parade going up the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. There are no less than 4000 soldiers and civilians parading by foot, 240 horsemen, 460 vehicles and about twenty airplanes. The main French army and police corps are represented, but some foreign army detachments are often invited. For a century now, this beautiful parade has been held on the Champs-Elysées, making it possible for everyone to see it. A unique event in the world, it gathers hundreds of thousands of people every year. Why not you?

Access:

Metro: Stations Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, George V, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Champs-Elysées – Clémenceau (lines 1, 2, 6, 9 or 13)
RER: Charles de Gaulle-Etoile (RER A)

 

 

2) “The inhabitants of île-de-France welcome their soldiers”

Since 2004, some Paris district councils, but also in île-de-France, offer citizens the chance to share a meal with some of the troops that paraded earlier in the morning on the Champs-Elysées. You then have the opportunity to talk with, and ask your questions of, the soldiers that are usually busy defending France. This activity has also become, since 2017, a blood drive campaign as a support to the French army.

Where? Salle Turenne du Musée de l’Armée, Hôtel national des Invalides Paris 7e
When? 10am – 6pm on July, 14th
More information: +33 1 41 46 72 70 (Monday – Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm)

 

 

3) Cultural activities

Louvre's pyramid
Credits: Jean Pierre Dalbéra, Flickr, under Creative Commons 2.0

Once the meeting with the soldiers is done, you will be able to stroll in Paris for the rest of the afternoon. A lot of museums and tourist spots are open to the public on Bastille Day. The Louvre Museum, of course, offers free entrance for all on this date, but also a plethora of other places such as the Grévin Museum, the Invalides, the Catacombs, etc. The complete list of monuments and museums open on July 14th can be found here. If the weather plays along, you will also be able to enjoy the many Parisian parks until the evening.

 

 

4) Tuileries’ Fair, Paris Plage …

Credits: ErasmusOfParis, flickr, under Creative Commons 2.0

Even though they are not organized just on this particular day, some on-going summer events are open on Bastille Day and are worth a look. That is true of the Tuileries’ Fair, a huge funfair with more than 60 attractions of which about twenty are merry-go-rounds. It’s held in the Tuileries’ Garden from June to August.

 

Paris Plage
Credits: Peter Haas, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons 3.0

Another summer event is Paris Plage (link in French). From July to September, Parisians get the opportunity to enjoy swimming, but also tanning and finding relaxing spots on the docks and banks of the Seine. In addition to the aquatic and nautical activities, concerts, sport events and exhibitions are organized, allowing everyone to find something that makes them go out and enjoy the sunny installations on the river Seine’s banks and in the Bassin de La Villette.

Tuileries’ Fair:
access: Jardin des Tuileries,
Metro: Tuileries (line 1) or Concorde (line 1, 8 and 12) stations.
Bus: 1017, 1018, 1019
Price: free entrance, but the access to attractions is charged.

Paris Plage:
access: Bassin de la Villette, 64, quai de la Seine 75019 Paris
Metro: Crimée station (line 7)

Voies sur Berges George Pompidou, Parc des Rives de Seine 75004 Paris. Metro: Pont Neuf (line 7), Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11)
Price: free entrance

 

 

5) Parisian sunset

The Arc de Triomphe before a sunset
© Maddieee – Pixabay

Once the evening has come, why not enjoy the magnificent sunset over Paris ? Many spots are available to spend the best moment possible:
– Seine’s docks
– Trocadéro
– Printemps store’s rooftop
– Eiffel Tower
From those places, and their stunning views, you will have the opportunity to admire the Parisian sky fading to orange and pink, while waiting for the dusk.

See also : The 8 best spots for magical sunsets in Paris

 

 

6) Eiffel Tower concert

On the Champ de Mars, you will have the chance to attend a big concert held right at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower.

Where? Champ-de-Mars
When? 9pm (approx. 90 minutes long)
Price? Free
Access: Metro: Motte Piquet Grenelle or Ecole Militaire stations (line 8)
RER: Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel station (line C)
Bus: 28, 69, 80, 82, 87 and 92

 

 

7) Fireworks

…From the ground

Later at night, around 11pm, you will finally be able to witness the Bastille Day fireworks. Each year, fireworks are let off from the Trocadéro’s Gardens and from the Eiffel Tower, and spectators are invited to take their place on the grass of the Champ de Mars. A different theme is set every year, making the experience unique from one year to another. As a globally renowned pyrotechnic show, it will amaze you with its greatness and its magical extravaganza.

Where? Champ-de-Mars
When? Starts @ 11pm (approx. 30 minutes long)
Price? Free

…From the Seine

A romantic alternative is offered by a lot of Seine cruise providers. Here, it’s a question of combining the comfort of a water stroll with the amazement of a firework display, all of this to give a singular and unforgettable moment. There are four 4 different offers:

– the cruise-dinner on the Bateaux Mouches. This option includes a gastronomic dinner, accompanied by a musical atmosphere ensured by a live orchestra. The boat drops anchor at the platform at Pont de l’Alma, in front of the Eiffel Tower, right in time to allow passengers to see the fireworks. (8:30pm – 10:45pm, €175 per person).
– the cruise-dinner aboard the Bateaux Parisiens. A fluvial ride giving the passengers a chance to admire Paris, particularly thanks to the huge patio doors on both sides of the boat. This option offers a gastronomic dinner made by a Michelin-starred chef as well. The cruise will end with a landing in time to witness the fireworks being let off. (8pm – midnight, between €115 and €220 depending on the chosen option).
– the dancing cruise-dinner offered by La Marina, with a gastronomic menu and a unique view of Paris. Moreover, the boat has a ballroom so people can dance at the pace of the on-board orchestra. (9pm-midnight, €119 per person).
– the commentated cruise of the Bateaux Parisiens. This offer is directed to those who don’t want to have dinner aboard, but simply enjoy a boat ride on the Seine, with a view of the fireworks. This trip is commentated by a certified tour guide who will describe to you the different monuments you will encounter during your cruise. (8pm – midnight, €55 per person).

…From above

Note to those who would like to gain height: some places (hotels and restaurants) offer their clients an access to their panoramic roofs for Bastille Day’s night and the fireworks. We can list the Hotel Raphael, The Peninsula Paris, Le Ciel de Paris, Les Ombres or even the Novotel Paris Vaugirard Montparnasse. Certainly expensive, this alternative has the merit of being original and will surprise you for sure.

 

 

8) Firemen’s ball

Firemen's ball in Paris
Credits : NickK, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons 4.0

In order for the night to last longer, why not take part in one of the very famous Paris Firemen’s balls? Spread between the nights of the 13rd and the 14th of July, these events usually gather a significant amount of participants, because they are usually very popular. Balls are organized in several fire stations in the capital. Here’s the list:

Night of the 07/13

  • Caserne Rousseau, 21 rue du Jour 75001 PARIS
  • Caserne Sévigné, 07-09 rue de Sévigné 75004 PARIS
  • CCL 5, Arènes de Lutèce, 49-53 rue Monge 75005 PARIS
  • Caserne Colombier, 11 rue du Vieux Colombier 75006 PARIS
  • Caserne Blanche, 28 rue Blanche 75009 PARIS
  • Caserne Chaligny, 26 rue de Chaligny 75012 PARIS
  • Caserne Massena, 37 boulevard Masséna 75013 PARIS
  • Caserne Port-Royal, 53-55 boulevard Port-Royal 75013 PARIS
  • Caserne Grenelle, 06 place Violet 75015 PARIS
  • Caserne Boursault, Centre de secours et voie publique, 27 rue Boursault 75017 PARIS
  • Caserne Montmartre, 12 rue Carpeaux 75018 PARIS
  • Caserne Bitche, Centre de secours et voie publique, 02 place de Bitche 75019 PARIS
  • Caserne Ménilmontant, 47 rue Saint-Fargeau 75020 PARIS

Night of the 07/14

  • Caserne Rousseau, 21 rue du Jour 75001 PARIS
  • Caserne Sévigné, 07-09 rue de Sévigné 75004 PARIS
  • Caserne Colombier, 11 rue du Vieux Colombier 75006 PARIS
  • Caserne Chaligny, 26 rue de Chaligny 75012 PARIS
  • Caserne Port-Royal, 53-55 boulevard Port-Royal 75013 PARIS
  • Caserne Grenelle, 06 place Violet 75015 PARIS