Paris --July 14 (la fete nationale) what not to miss?

Hi, we will be in Paris over their national holiday and I was wondering if anyone would like to share their experiences with us if they have been to Paris trough the 14th of July? What should we not miss? Best places to watch the parade or the fireworks, etc..?? Thank you!!
We are really excite to be able to celebrate this holiday with the Parisians while we are visiting Paris.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7827 posts

They close off the Champs Elsysees and have a big military parade . I hate parades,, lol so I avoided the area myself. It seemed they set up seating stands on lower end near Place du Concorde, but these are apparently for VIPs.. others just line the street.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
672 posts

The military parade was worthwhile for us (2012) because the United States rarely parades military equipment. You do need to get there early enough to have a view, and perhaps avoid the most crowded spots. Some Metro stops are closed for security and crowd safety. If you don't go to the parade, be in a spot to see the aircraft flyovers that follow the Champs Elysee at the start and end of the parade - which doesn't run that long. I don't mean to sound snooty, but the 2012 fireworks (at the Eiffel Tower) were much less impressive than in 2010. In 2010, there were extra lights, TV projections, and fireworks mortars right ON the Eiffel Tower. In 2012, it wasn't any better than our town's (big...) display fund-raiser for the fire department. The Champs de Mars is a huge mob scene, fun if your idea of a Saturday night is a Rave, surrounded by police lines. The trick would be to find a mostly unobstructed viewpoint at least a mile away. TripAdvisor posters often speak of the Firemen's Balls, or parties at many of the city firehouses. But you need to do research and probably stand in line like an overcrowded nightclub to get in. I have no first-hand information on that. Look up some old web pages and you'll see that the participating firehouses are nowhere near downtown, but you may be staying far enough away to be near one of them. Perhaps a useful question to ask yourself is, what do I like to do on New Years Eve or Canads Day?

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

The Fireman's Balls are outside the firehouses, in the street, and take place the evening of the 13th, starting after sundown. They are a lot of fun. Every town has them.

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1410 posts

I suggest you do not miss the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. I went last year and had a wonderful time. It was a beautiful blend of music and artistic fireworks. Many people were there, but it was a great crowd as far as I could tell. (Just don't expect to get on the metro right afterwards -- the stations will be overflowing!)

Posted by Tania
Halton, Ontario, Canada
105 posts

Thank you for all your replies. We weren't really sure what to expect. We are staying in the 5th, so probably won't be far enough out to experience the firemans balls. Great advice for the parade and fireworks!
Thanks again.