Bookings for our 2017 Bastille Day Lunch are now open.
Click HERE to book.
Around the 14th of July of each year, the Alliance Française de la Sunshine Coast joins in the celebration of Bastille Day!
On the Sunshine Coast we celebrate in true French style with good food, good wine, singing, dancing and other entertainment. For the past few years, the 14th of July has been an occasion for l’Alliance Française de la Sunshine Coast to welcome its members and the general public to a celebration of all things French. It’s a real family affair and we invite you to join us.
For details on our next Bastille Day Event and other special events, we invite you to subscribe to our Newsletter to be among the first to know about all our upcoming events.
Why do French celebrate Bastille Day?
Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on the 14th of July each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) and commonly Le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July). It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. The anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the creation of the modern nation and the reconciliation of French people in the constitutional monarchy that preceded the First Republic.
The storming of the Bastille marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th’s Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol, the people signaled that the king’s power was no longer absolute: power should be based on 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 flag, it symbolized the Republic’s three ideals: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all French citizens. It marked the end of absolute monarchy, the birth of the sovereign Nation, and, eventually, the creation of the (First) Republic, in 1792.
On the first 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. Bastille Day was declared the French national holiday on 6 July 1880, on Benjamin Raspail’s recommendation, when the new Republic was firmly entrenched. Bastille Day has such a strong signification for the French because the holiday symbolizes the birth of the Republic.
How do French celebrate Bastille Day?
French people and lovers of France get together for a big celebration on the 14th July each year, Bastille Day.
Festivities are held on the morning of 14 July, on the avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic.
The parade opens with many cadets from the École Polytechnique, Saint-Cyr, École Navale, and so forth, then other infantry troops, then motorised troops; aviation of the Patrouille de France flies above trailing blue, white and red smoke.
In recent times, it has become customary to invite units from France’s allies to the parade. In 2002, the New York Fire Brigade led the parade in recognition of its role in the aftermath of the events of 11th September 2001. In 2004 during the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, British troops led the Bastille Day parade in Paris for the first time, with the Red Arrows aerobatic team flying overhead.
Traditionally, the students of the École Polytechnique set up some form of joke.
The President gives an interview to members of the press, discussing the situation of the country, recent events and projects for the future. The President also holds a garden party at his official residence, the Palais de l’Elysée.
Bastille Day falls during the Tour de France and is traditionally a day when French riders try to take a stage victory for France, working harder than they might on other days.