What to See & Do in Paris ⋆ Secrets and techniques of Paris


La Fête Nationale celebrating the 1789 French Revolution is likely one of the largest holidays in France, with a well-liked army parade and flyover on the Champs-Elysées and a night of fireworks and music on the Eiffel Tower. However there are lots of extra occasions happening all through the town to have a good time, and most of them are free!

The Army Parade on the Avenue des Champs Elysées

France’s Bastille Day Parade on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées — with its fighter jet flyover, procession of tanks, and troopers marching proudly of their gown uniforms from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde — is watched by hundreds in individual and extra on reside streaming on French TV (France 2). The 2-hour procession begins at 10am with President Emanuel Macron beginning on the Arc de Triomphe, main 5,100 troopers on foot, 66 planes, 28 helicopters, 221 autos and 200 horses of the Republican Guard right down to the Place de la Concorde, the place a musical choir sings for the grand finale. 

The 2019 Army Parade on the Champs Elysées

This 12 months’s parade theme is “Les Forces Morales de la France’’, which highlights the values of the French armies: resilience, braveness, army brotherhood, and a way of dedication.

July 14th 2023 "Forces Morales" Poster

After all, the army flyovers that open and shut the parade are one of many huge highlights, with the bleu-blanc-rouge plumes of the Patrouille de France getting essentially the most Instagram likes (roughly at 10:30am). You’ll be able to attempt to watch from any location that offers you a transparent view of the skies above the Champs Elysées. It’ll even be broadcast, together with the parade and fireworks present, on French TV as ordinary.

The 2023 parade goals to emphasise France’s dedication to “strategic solidarity” with its allies. In complete, troopers from round fifteen nations are becoming a member of the French parade on the Champs-Élysées. Amongst them, India, the visitor of honor, shall be represented by its Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who got here to have a good time the twenty fifth anniversary of the strategic partnership between his nation and France, together with 240 Indian troopers on parade and three Indian Rafales for the flyover.

As an instance France’s ongoing help for Ukraine, the Caesar cannons of the 4th infantry regiment and the SAMP/T of the air brigade for house management shall be a part of the parade. One other spotlight would be the participation of cadets from African army faculties who companion with France (Benin, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Senegal) marching alongside the cadets of the French army faculties.

On the finish of the parade, there shall be a musical efficiency in tribute to the eightieth anniversary of the dying of French Resistance hero Jean Moulin, the institution of the Nationwide Council of the Resistance, and the Resistance Medal. For the primary time, about forty reservists from the Nationwide Guard could have the dignity of carrying the flag throughout this ultimate efficiency.

Notice: If you happen to can’t make the parade (or hate crowds), you may catch the follow flyovers and processions within the days main as much as Bastille Day on July ninth and eleventh at Place de la Concorde and alongside the Avenue des Champs Elysées.

Full Video of Final Yr’s Parade

Bastille Day Parade Schedule

Notice that every one begin on the Arc de Triomphe and end at Place de la Concorde.

  • 9:30am: Completion of the positioning of the foot and motorized troops on the Étoile (Arc de Triomphe) and inspection of the troops by the final officers.
  • 9:45am: Completion of the positioning of the dignity detachments of the Republican Guard, at Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde.
  • 10:00am: Arrival of the President of the Republic, from Avenue Friedland then down the Champs-Elysées.
  • 10:15am: Honors given to the President of the Republic at Place de la Concorde by the first and 2nd infantry regiments of the Republican Guard.
  • 10:21am: Worldwide army music efficiency.
  • 10:33am: Aerial parade of 66 army planes (everybody’s favourite half!)
  • 10:44am: Parade of foot troops, starting with this 12 months’s Visitor of Honor (India) and the honored troops (African army faculties, French army faculties, and technical coaching faculties). They’re adopted by 5100 women and men of the French armed companies.
  • 11:29am: Aerial parade of 28 helicopters.
  • 11:33am: Starting of the parade of motorized troops (157 autos and 62 bikes). These go so gradual (additionally appear to get caught in site visitors jams, lol) you may have loads of time for pics.
  • 11:47am: Starting of the parade of 200 horseback troops of the Republican Guard.
  • 11:51am: Ultimate presentation celebrating the eightieth anniversary of the Resistance Medal.
  • 12:05pm: Departure of the President of the Republic.

Bonus Downloads: Parade PDF and New Bastille Day Parade App

Click on right here to take a look at the infographics detailing ALL of the autos and troops taking part on this 12 months’s parade each on land and within the air (in French).

14th July app

New for 2023 is a free app, “14 Juillet” that offers you the fully-detailed program for the parade, together with the outline of every taking part regiment and army gear you’ll see taking place (or flying over) the Champs-Elysées. Sadly all the information is just in French, however there’s a tab on the backside to watch the reside feed in real-time (through the Elysée’s YouTube), so that you received’t miss a factor. There’s additionally a tab for the post-parade actions happening at Les Invalides, Hôtel de Ville, Place de la Nation, and the Parc André-Citroën, and a tab “Le Bleuet” for details about donating blood to help French troops (at Invalides all through the day, reserve your time on the app). Scan the QR code right here or discover the app for iOS on the App Retailer and for Android on Google Play:

If you happen to actually need to geek out and might perceive (or are keen to auto-translate) French, you possibly can obtain the Minister of the Military’s media booklet with the entire schedule and pictures with very detailed descriptions of the members, together with their historical past and stats.

Ideas for Attending the Parade

About 25,000 folks shall be allowed into the “corrals” alongside the Champs Elysées to observe in individual, so get there no later than 9:30am if you wish to get entry. The police will funnel everybody by means of a number of checkpoints, so don’t deliver something like umbrellas, glass bottles, pocket knives, and so forth, which shall be confiscated by safety earlier than you’re allowed to entry the areas reserved for spectators. Alcohol can be prohibited in any container.

Many metro and RER stations within the space are closed for the complete morning and thru 2pm, so count on large bottlenecks on aspect streets as everybody tries to stroll from the few open metro stations to the Champs-Elysées itself (Miromesnil on the north aspect of the Champs-Elysées and Alma-Marceau on the south aspect are fashionable). Vélib bike stations are locked within the space, and you might encounter massive crowds blocking the streets in the event you come by yourself bike. Notice that it’s normally unattainable to cross the Champs-Elysées, so plan accordingly. In any case, be ready for lengthy walks and put on a hat for the solar or rain!

The crowds trying to get to the Champs-Elysées...
The crowds on Rue Ponthieu making an attempt to get to the Champs-Elysées…

You will get an inside peek of what’s it like on this Secrets and techniques of Paris Neighborhood members-only article, “Secrets and techniques of Paris Bastille Day Recap.”

Meet the French Army at Invalides

On the finish of the parade, the general public can go to a few of the army planes and autos and chat with the troopers on the Esplanade des Invalides from 10am-6pm.

The general public’s probability to see army autos up shut on the Esplanade des Invalides

There are army train demonstrations within the North Gardens, parachute jumps, army music, pastry gross sales from the army “subject bakery”, a blood assortment middle for French troops within the Cour d’Honneur (reserve a time slot upfront right here), and a stand promoting merchandise from the Bleuet de France boutique (“cornflowers” to help French veterans, victims of terrorist assaults, and their households).

You’ll be able to see the full schedule right here (once more, in French, sorry!) Click on the picture under to see a bigger PDF displaying the place to seek out all the pieces as soon as on-site.

Different army demonstrations and stands shall be happening on the Parc André-Citroën (Air & Area Drive), Hôtel de Ville (Navy), and Place de la Nation (Military) all through the day.

The Bal des Pompiers

The standard Bal des Pompiers (Firefighters’ Ball) takes place every year on the eve (and night time) of Bastille Day. Though every station, or “caserne” in French, is free to make their very own hours, usually the events normally begin within the night round 9pm and end at 4am. The occasions are free in idea, however a €2 entry payment is normally charged, and raffel tickets are offered to assist increase funds to enhance the working situations of the firefighters or native charities. Music is normally a DJ however generally reside bands play early within the night, and there are at all times foods and drinks stands.

Bal des Pompiers at Cité des Sciences

Listed below are the Parisian places for July Thirteenth:

  • Caserne Rousseau: 21 Rue du Jour, 1st
  • Caserne Sévigné: 7 Rue de Sévigné, 4th
  • Caserne La Monnaie: 11 Quai de Conti, sixth
  • Caserne Colombier: 11 Rue du Vieux-Colombier, sixth
  • Caserne Blanche: 28 Rue Blanche, ninth
  • Caserne Chaligny: 26 Rue Chaligny, twelfth
  • Caserne Masséna: 37 Boulevard Masséna, Thirteenth
  • Caserne Grenelle: 6 Place Violet, fifteenth
  • Caserne Boursault: 27 Rue Boursault, seventeenth
  • Cité des sciences et de l’industrie: 30 Avenue Corentin Cariou, Nineteenth
  • Caserne Bitche: 2 Place de Bitche, Nineteenth
  • Caserne Ménilmontant: 47 Rue Saint-Fargeau, twentieth

Parisian places for July 14th:

  • Caserne Port Royal: 55 Boulevard de Port-Royal, Thirteenth
  • Caserne Montmartre: 12 Rue Carpeaux, 18th

WARNING: Whereas they’re a ton of enjoyable, they’re additionally very crowded, so be ready to attend in traces for all the pieces from entrance to meals to bogs and watch your belongings for pick-pockets.

And don’t assume that I forgot to share the well-known “teaser” video of the Strasbourg Bal des Pompiers for 2023, get pleasure from!

There Will Be Fireworks

July 14 Fireworks Theme

The fireworks present and reside musical live performance on the Eiffel Tower is happening as ordinary beginning at 9pm on the Champs de Mars with a classical music live performance that includes the Orchestre Nationwide de France, the Radio France Choir, and varied soloists. It is going to be broadcast reside on France 2 tv (and on many YouTube feeds), with the Marseillaise sung for the finale. This 12 months’s theme is “Paris Célèbre les Outre-Mer”, or Paris Celebrates the French Abroad Territories, so count on the music and colours of the fireworks to replicate Caribbean, Portuguese, and even Cuban influences (no less than that’s what the press launch says, ha!)

The fireworks above the Eiffel Tower start at 11pm and final for about 35 minutes. Many individuals camp out on the Champ de Mars all day to have a front-row seat, however you possibly can see this from wherever with a view of the Eiffel Tower (you’ll need to activate the TV to listen to the synchronized music in the event you’re too far-off to listen to it in individual). Right here’s the recording of the 2020 present:

Bastille Day Picnic and Get together Guidelines

If you happen to’re going to picnic on the Champ de Mars for Bastille Day, know that there shall be an enormous police safety presence, similar to the Champs-Elysées, and you’ll possible need to undergo one of many 4 checkpoints earlier than coming into. Knives (even on your picnic) and glass bottles of any form are prohibited, in addition to all alcohol after 4pm.

Even supposing you’ll see everybody making an attempt to get away with popping open beers and wine throughout Paris, there are fairly strict legal guidelines now about alcohol consumption in public. The police will possible flip a blind eye in the event you’re behaving, however be ready to have your wine or booze (particularly if it’s in a glass bottle) confiscated in the event that they resolve to crack down.

The Prefect of Police has banned the “acquisition, possession and use” of firecrackers and fireworks by anybody (besides professionals) in Paris and the encircling Petite Couronne suburbs from July 4th till July fifteenth. So don’t assume you could pop right down to Chinatown within the Thirteenth and decide up some sparklers and firecrackers to throw your personal personal rooftop pyrotechnics present.

Parisian Rooftops

If you happen to don’t need to watch the army flyover or the fireworks on the TV and also you don’t have a good view out of your window, the following finest choice to keep away from the crowds is to attempt to ebook a spot – rapidly! – at one of many many rooftop bars and eating places in Paris. Advance reservations are a should in all instances and areas replenish rapidly, such because the Observatory of the Tour de Montparnasse, which is promoting spots for €50.

Different Bastille Day Actions

Bastille Day on the Water

You’ll be able to watch the fireworks present proper on the Seine with a cruise on the Bateaux Parisiens (€165/individual, features a field meal; or full dinner cruises from €165); the Vedettes du Pont Neuf (€25/individual, features a glass of Champagne); Les Bateaux Mouches has dinner cruises with reside orchestra music from €230 (much less formal ones from €95); and Captain Fracasse has dinner cruises from €199.

Self-drive electrical boats on the Canal

You received’t see something taking place on the opposite aspect of Paris, nevertheless it’s the proper daytime escape to flee the crowds on the Canal de l’Ourcq with six of your mates in a self-drive electrical boat by means of Marin d’Eau Douce (€200 for boats as much as 7 folks for the afternoon).

And naturally Paris Plage shall be open all day and night on the Quays of the Seine and the Bassin de la Villette.

Museums and Monuments Open on Bastille Day

If you happen to’re on the lookout for one thing to do, most — however not all — museums shall be open on July 14th, together with the Louvre (with free entry for everybody!), Orsay, Carnavalet, and the Catacombes, in addition to Chateaux Versailles, Chantilly, Vaux-le-Vicomte and the gardens at Giverny. As ordinary, test on-line (you’ll want advance reserving on-line anyway) to be sure to get in.

Notice that the Arc de Triomphe shall be closed all morning (so you possibly can’t watch the parade from there) and the Eiffel Tower will shut within the afternoon and night (so you possibly can’t watch the fireworks from there). The Petit Palais is closed all day.

Versailles fountains
The Musical Fountains of Versailles

What Else is Open on Bastille Day, July 14th?

Meals & Eating: Generally, extra issues are open than in previous years. The open-air markets are open as ordinary (though some stands could also be absent), most supermarkets and comfort shops are both open all day or simply for the morning, and nearly all of eating places and cafés are open as ordinary (however do name to make a reservation earlier than crossing city). Principally, you’re not prone to hunger!

Procuring: The soldes (summer time gross sales) are nonetheless going robust by means of July Nineteenth, and outlets aren’t about to overlook out on a day when nobody has to work. So many bigger outlets shall be open, together with:

Parks & Swimming pools: Some municipal companies shall be closed like libraries and city halls (mairies), however the parks are all open, and some public swimming pools shall be open as properly: Suzanne Berlioux (Les Halles) within the 1st, Roger Le Gall within the twelfth, Josephine Baker within the Thirteenth, Aspirant Dunand within the 14th, Aquaboulevard and Keller within the fifteenth, Champerret within the seventeenth, Pailleron and George Hermant within the Nineteenth, and Georges Vallerey within the twentieth.

Out of doors Enjoyable

The festive Fête des Tuileries has opened for the summer time with the Ferris wheel, stomach-emptying rides, barbe-à-papa (cotton sweet) and whack-a-mole video games. Open day by day on the Jardin des Tuileries, 11am-midnight (free entry, tickets will be bought for particular person rides), though it might open afterward the 14th because of the official ceremony happening proper subsequent door on the Place de la Concorde within the morning.

Fête des Tuileries

If you happen to’d prefer to get out of the center of the town, the Jardin d’Acclimatation within the Bois de Boulogne is a enjoyable escape, together with the funfair rides extra acceptable for youthful children (and anybody who doesn’t like rides that make you puke up your lunch).

Parks and Gardens Open Till Midnight

Most parks and gardens in Paris shut at sundown if they’ve gates. However from July 1-September 4 there are lots of parks that keep open till midnight, together with:

Parks and Gardens Open 24/7

And this week, due to the warmth wave “canicule” temperatures predicted to achieve 100°F, there are six parks open 24/7 from July Thirteenth-Nineteenth:

Public Transport Notes

Verify the RATP web site for station closures through the day. Normally stations all alongside the Champs-Elysées and across the Place de la Concorde are closed through the army ceremony, and stations across the Eiffel Tower and Trocadéro are closed through the fireworks.  If you happen to do plan on going out, needless to say even when the Paris metro extends its hours prefer it normally does through the Fête Nationale, ensure you may have a stable Plan B to get your self residence in the event you’re out after 12:45pm. Vélib service is also affected (ie bikes are locked at sure stations to stop vandalism), so pack your comfortable footwear if you must hoof it residence.

Metro/RER Stations Closed All Morning for Parade & Air Present from 6:30am-2pm

  • George V
  • Tuileries 
  • Concorde   
  • Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau   
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt   
  • Charles de Gaulle-Etoile  (solely exit Ave. Carnot shall be open at this station, transfers potential)

Metro/RER Stations Closed within the Afternoon

  • RER Champs de Mars – Tour Eiffel (from 3pm)
  • Passy (from 7pm)
  • Dupleix (from 7pm)
  • Alma-Marceau (from 7pm)
  • Ecole-Militaire (from 7pm)
  • Bir-Hakeim (from 7pm)
  • RER Pont de l’Alma (from 7pm)
  • Boissière (from 11pm)
  • Sèvres Lecourbe (from 11pm)
  • La Motte-Picquet – Grenelle (from 11pm transfers potential)

Vélib Bike Share Stations Closed All Day

In anticipation of the July 14 festivities and on the request of the Prefecture of Police, Vélib shall be closing round twenty stations, primarily within the seventh and eighth arrondissements of Paris, close to the Champs-Elysées and the Trocadéro. See the total listing of closed stations right here (ignore the date on the high of the submit, it’s for July 14th, 2023).

That implies that not solely will there be no bikes to lease, but in addition the bollards shall be blocked by pink gadgets to stop you from “parking” every other Vélib bikes there. You’ll must test the Vélib app for the listing of accessible stations to discover a bike or a parking spot all through the day.

Bus and Tram Closures

Many bus routes inside Paris shall be disrupted or diverted for the parade and fireworks present, test your line right here in the event you depend on it to get round. Moreover, due to the latest civil unrest in sure Parisian suburbs in late June, the trams and busses will cease working by 10pm, with many traces making their final go from 8pm. There shall be no Noctilien night time bus companies on July 13 or July 14.

Did You Know?

First celebrated in 1790 to mark the one-year anniversary of the July 14th storming of the Bastille jail that kicked off the French Revolution, it was initially known as the Fête de la Fédération. And since the Revolution hadn’t fairly but entered “Terror” mode – they had been nonetheless testing the Constitutional Monarchy mannequin – King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette had been even allowed to go away their heavily-surveillanced residence on the Tuileries Palace to attend the occasion as “King and Queen of the French”.

Planning for 2024

The Bastille Day parade happened on the Avenue des Champs Elysées for the primary time in 1919, after the Nice Conflict, then sporadically (as the placement modified every year) till 1980, when it grew to become the everlasting route. In 2024, since July 14th festivities happen just a few weeks earlier than the Summer season Olympic Video games, the parade route shall be moved to the east aspect of Paris, from Vincennes to Place de la Nation. It is going to be included into the route for the Olympic Flame.

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