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Bastille Day

Is it a good idea to be in Paris the week of Bastille Day? I will be traveling with my two grandchildren who will be 18. I am an experienced confident traveler, having been to Europe 5 times, Paris for a week. I could possibly rearrange the trip, but had wanted Paris to be the grand finale! I am worried that there will be huge crowds at every attraction and we’ll spend half our time waiting in lines, but am intrigued by the idea of witnessing the spectacle of the Bastille Day celebration.

Posted by
11411 posts

They dont call it Bastille Day anymore( its what I grew up calling it.. but it is old fashioned now) .. its just called July 14th.. Ive been there many times on July 14th and unless you are actually by the Champs Elysees you wont notice much.. sometimes you get lucky if in another area of town and can see the fly over.. so yeah.. its literally no problem to be in town then.. except of course if you want to go to the Champs to watch the parade.. which I have never done.. as I dislike the area and parades in general..lol .

It will be fine.

Posted by
76 posts

As noted above, you can't go wrong by calling it the 14th of July (le quatorze juillet). Any French person would know what you mean.

But also commonly used is la fête nationale, which is a shortened version of the formal name, la fête nationale française.

You shouldn't have much trouble as long as you familiarize yourself with where events are occurring and how they might affect your ability to get around.

Posted by
5700 posts

It is also the day with the spectacular fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower -- I would plan to watch that from afar and not too close because the crowds are horrible -- but the Eiffel tower is visible from much of Paris and you can find other spots only mildly crowded and with easier metro back to the hotel.

The night before there are 'fireman's balls' in each arrondissement. We participated in one the year we were there and in the 19th -- it was in public square with a band and tables and dancing and you got drinks from nearby cafes and brought your own snacks -- quite informal. I am sure some of them are more formal, but keep your eyes peeled for signs announcing them.

You can see the fly overs and such for the parade from much of the city -- we tend to avoid parades and crowds, but most of the city won't be crowded. When we were there the Louvre was free on Fete Nationale and not at all crowded -- tourists were not aware it was a free day and locals had other things to do.