Things to do in Paris on Bastille day

Marking the storming of the Bastille prison that happened on July, 14th of 1789, which is a major event of the French Revolution, the Bastille Day celebrates France’s first stirrings of democracy. Although it took several bloody revolutions to establish a long-lasting Republic, this date is still the symbol of the fight for freedom from the arbitrary rule of absolute monarchy. The Bastille Day is one of the most important dates for the French. If you want to learn more about this event and commemorate this date with the locals, here’s our list of things to do in Paris on Bastille Day!

Things to do in Paris on Bastille Day

Similar in spirit to American Independence Day, July the 14th features patriotic processions, dazzling fireworks and kitschy balls that will make you experience French history and traditions. From pyrotechnics to parades, you’ll see that there are plenty of things to do in Paris on Bastille Day. So, “vive la Révolution“!

Military parade on the Champs-Elysées

If you want to feel like a real Parisian, the first thing to do on Bastille Day is to pay tribute to the French military on the traditional parade on the Champs-Elysées. It starts near the Arc de Triomphe and winds down the Champs-Elysées to the Place de la Concorde where the President as well as international figures attend the ceremony.

A moving tribute to the mounted regiments, artillery units and Air Force planes, the parade of the Bastille Day is the best way to experience festive Paris! If you want an insider’s tip: make sure you attend the parade further from the Arc de Triomphe in order for you to see the big equipment (tanks) that only enters the parade on Avenue George V.

Things to do in Paris on Bastille Day Military Parade

Also, don’t forget to join our Paris landmarks tour. You will be able to explore the best places of the right bank of Paris in the company of a local guide. This tour will take you to most of the greatest landmarks of the city of Paris.

Firemen’s ball

Among the things to do in Paris on Bastille Day, the most quirky and kitschy one is definitely the Firemen’s Ball (which translates to “Bal des Pompiers” in French). On July, 13th and 14th, the firehouses open their doors to the public and offer live demonstrations. Le Bal du 14 juillet is also the time to dance with the most handsome uniform-wearing boys of the capital.

Firemen's Ball

Dating back from the end of the 1930’s, these parties continue to gather Parisians in an open-air, popular and friendly atmosphere. So ladies and gentlemen put on your glittering dresses and your smartest suits to enjoy Bastille Day till the end of the night!

July 14th fireworks

Bastille fireworks

Another thing you can’t miss on Bastille day is the giant firework and light show at the Eiffel Tower. It is best viewed from the Champ de Mars where Parisians gather very early in the day to get a good spot and where they have picnics for dinner.

But since the Champ de Mars is always too crowded, insiders recommend the viewpoints from Centre Georges Pompidou, which is near the Marais or even Montmartre. Gather with your family or friends and enjoy the lights dazzling the capital in a lively atmosphere!

The fireworks start at 11 pm and last for about thirty minutes. Make sure you find a nice place to view the show and enjoy the night with the locals!

If you decide to watch the fireworks from the Centre Georges Pompidou or from Montmartre, make sure to visit the neighborhoods. The Marais and the Montmartre areas are simply the best! They are the most typically Parisian neighborhoods you will get to visit. Walk these areas, explore them and discover their hidden gems! You will love the atmosphere of these charming and lovely neighborhoods! If you want your walks to be even more special, join our walking tours! Our local guides will tell you all about the history of these areas and you will be able to experience the areas as locals do!

Enjoy the Louvre Museum for free


One of the best things to do in Paris on Bastille Day is to take a break from the summer heat and explore the never-ending corridors of the Louvre Museum, the world’s most famous museum that is free on July 14th to celebrate Bastille Day.

Meet the Mona Lisa, admire the Italian masters and travel through French history (Napoleon’s crowning by David, Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix) thanks to the prestigious collections of this mythical museum. Also keep in mind that nearly all of Paris’ museums stay open during Bastille Day even though it’s a national holiday.

You now know some of the things to do in Paris on Bastille Day! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. The National day is a very important event in France! Learn more about France’s history, culture and lifestyle while in Paris, especially on this very special day! Parisians are revolutionary, they always speak their minds and fight for their rights. On Bastille day, walk the city and understand the importance of this date! I hope to see you soon in one of our tours in Paris! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information about anything!

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