Postcard – Rouen from Côte Sainte-Catherine
The French national day or ‘la fête nationale’ on 14 July is France’s biggest national holiday.
Most English speaking countries know it as Bastille Day. At some point in everyone’s history lessons the storming of the Bastille by revolutionaries on 14 July 1789 gets a mention. However in France no-one will admit to knowing what you are talking about if you mention Bastille Day, referring to ‘Le quatorze juillet’ as simply a day of national pride.
After years of practice France is now very good at enjoying its national day and every city, town and village will be aflutter with flags and planning some sort of celebration.
Make the most of your day
It is a bank holiday so banks and many shops and businesses will be closed. Happily your local bakery will be open for part of the day as will be restaurants in the towns.
In the lead up to 14 July there will be a flurry of roadside adverts announcing local celebratory events. Keep an eye out for ‘Foire à tout’ (the village has had a clear out, expect boot sale type stalls everywhere plus food and entertainment) ‘Vide-greniers’ (much the same) and ‘Brocante’ (flea market), all are very pleasant ways to spend your fête nationale. For the evening every town and many villages will put on a fantastic show of ‘Feu d’artifice’ (fireworks) not to be missed.
Bonne Fête Nationale!