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Fete Nationale in Loire Valley

Sooooo....I am JUST realizing that we will be biking in Loire Valley during Fete Nationale. I was trying to make this trip fit our schedule so I hadn't even considered this. Looking for an idea of what it will be like....

We will be in Blois on 7/13 and Amboise on 7/14 and I understand that celebrations can happen on either of those days. Looking back at 2019 it looks like we will hit both celebrations if the dates stay the same.

Does anyone know what type of celebrations these towns do other than fireworks? I assume I'll need to make our dinner reservations soon (these are the two stops where we don't already have meals included) - are restaurants typically even open on these days? - are there any celebratory activities we should think about purchasing tickets for in advance? Anything else we should prepare for or is it just a laid back event and something to enjoy and not give a second thought?

We will be heading to Paris on 7/15 so I assume we will past the activities there by then and things should be just regular crowds of people there?

Thanks for any help!

Posted by
1653 posts

Celebrations typically include fireworks, and village dances (sometimes quaint, sometimes nightclub-ish). Can't think of anything requiring tickets. And restaurants will typically be on Sunday hours, so whatever is closed on a Sunday night might be closed on 14 July. Double check locally. Unless you're looking at places with views of fireworks in a major city, there is no reason to book this early.

Posted by
28 posts

Ok great! Thank you. This should end up being a nice added bonus to the trip then.

Posted by
5392 posts

When it gets closer to time, search “bal de pompiers” - they will hold a ball either the 13th or 14th (or ask at your lodging). It’s not a fancy ball, just a village fête as described above.

Posted by
6739 posts

One of the most memorable Fête Nationale I ever experienced was in Blois, the evening of either the 13th or the 14th. In addition to fireworks and a dance, we also saw a sound and light show at the chateau. Enjoy.

Posted by
28 posts

Will do! Thanks for the phrasing - I’ll know what to look for now. I told our daughter about this last night (7 yo) and she is so excited. I’ll have to find a book she can read to learn more about it!

Posted by
283 posts

I don't know of anywhere in the Loire Valley that has a firefighters ball on either the 13th or 14th July. Some will have a band and dancing after the fireworks, but asking about a bal de pompiers will only be met with a blank look.

Posted by
6739 posts

Simón, It's a long, narrow valley. There's got to be "un bal" somewhere, even if it's not sponsored by military firefighters. We always had in bal in our Burgundy village, along with a children's parade with lit lanterns at dusk, the lanterns representing the guillotined heads.