Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by April Verge
Get ready to experience the ultimate celebration of French culture, history, and cuisine – Bastille Day in Paris 2024! If you’re in Paris during this time of year, there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the festivities than by joining locals as they commemorate one of the most significant events in France’s history. From stunning fireworks displays and lively parades to indulgent food fairs and cultural exhibitions, Bastille Day is an extravaganza that should not be missed.
In this blog post, I’ll show you how to make the most out of your Bastille Day celebrations in Paris – so get ready for a spectacular journey through one of Europe’s most enthralling cities!
Psst! This blog post contains affiliate links in it which sends me a bit of extra money if you use them… at no extra cost to you. Merci!
Top Bastille Day in Paris Experiences
Searching for something unique to do on July 14 in Paris? Don’t wait to book—demand typically spikes on and around Bastille Day!
🇫🇷 Top activities and tours in Paris:
- Paris 2-Hour River Seine Lunch Cruise – my top pick!
- Paris Catacombs: Skip-the-Line Special Access Tour
- Skip-the-Line Musée d’Orsay Ticket and Guided Tour – likely to sell out!
🇫🇷 Top activities outside of Paris:
- Palace of Versailles Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
- Paris Day Trip to Champagne with 8 Tastings & Lunch – top choice
- Giverny w/ Monet’s House & Gardens Half-Day Tour
- Disneyland Paris 1-Day Ticket – a favorite family-friendly activity
If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of Bastille Day in Paris:
What is Bastille Day?
Bastille Day, known in France as La Fête Nationale (French National Day) or Le Quatorze Juillet (July 14th) marks one of France’s most defining moments—the beginning of the French Revolution. On July 14th, 1789, Parisians stormed the Bastille prison in an act of defiance against an oppressive monarchy. This event ignited a series of events leading to sweeping social and political changes within France.
It has become a symbol of unity among the diverse regions and people that constitute modern-day France. From grand parades down Champs-Élysées to vibrant fireworks illuminating city skylines—Bastille Day showcases the essence of French culture: passion, pride, and joie de vivre.
How to celebrate Bastille Day in Paris
Bastille Day in Paris unfolds like a grand spectacle, painting the city in its national colors. From the grandeur of military parades to the mesmerizing fireworks illuminating the Parisian sky, the city buzzes with excitement and pride.
See the Military Parade on Bastille Day in Paris
The morning of July 14th in Paris begins with the resplendent Bastille Day military parade, a time-honored tradition that captures the pride and strength of the French nation. Starting at 10 AM, the parade commences at the iconic Arc de Triomphe and majestically proceeds down the Champs-Élysées avenue, culminating at Place de la Concorde.
As you stand along the Champs-Élysées, you’ll witness an impressive procession of troops, tanks, and armored vehicles, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of military bands. The atmosphere is charged with a sense of national pride, as Parisians and visitors alike gather to honor the occasion. The highlight of the parade is the breathtaking military flyover, where fighter jets soar overhead, trailing blue, white, and red smoke, symbolizing the French flag.
Get Free Museum Entry on Bastille Day in Paris
Bastille Day is not just a day of celebration but also an opportunity to delve into the rich cultural heritage of Paris. Many museums and historical sites welcome visitors, offering unique experiences:
The Louvre: On Bastille Day, the world-famous Louvre Museum opens its doors free of charge to everyone. It’s a splendid opportunity to explore its vast collection, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, without the usual ticket cost. The Louvre’s extensive array of art and artifacts makes it a treasure trove for art lovers and history enthusiasts alike.
Palace of Versailles: While not free, the Palace of Versailles is a must-visit for its historical significance and architectural grandeur. This majestic palace, with its beautifully landscaped gardens, is a testament to the lavishness of French royalty before the Revolution. Explore the Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Grand Apartments, and the immaculate gardens.
To fully experience the splendor of Versailles, consider purchasing a ticket in advance. Book your ticket here to secure your entry and avoid the long queues.
Enjoy a French Revolution Walking Tour
For history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike, the French Revolution Walking Tour is an unmissable experience. This guided tour takes you through the heart of Paris, tracing the pivotal sites that shaped one of history’s most significant uprisings. You’ll walk the same streets where revolutionaries marched, visit landmarks like the Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette met their fateful end, and explore hidden corners that tell the tales of the Revolution.
Embark on a journey through history with the French Revolution Walking Tour. Don’t miss this chance to connect with the past on the streets of Paris – book your tour today!
Have fun at the Fireman’s Ball
A lesser-known but equally thrilling tradition of Bastille Day is the Firemen’s Ball. Held in fire stations across Paris on the evenings of July 13th and 14th, these balls are a fun and informal way to engage with the local community. Dance the night away to live music, enjoy refreshments, and mix with Paris’s bravest. The Firemen’s Ball is a unique cultural experience that embodies the spirit of camaraderie and festivity. Entry is usually free, but donations are appreciated, as they support the local fire brigades.
Bastille Day Firemen’s Balls in Paris —
- Rousseau Station, 21 rue du Jour, 1st Arrondissement, Metro Les Halles
- Sevigne Station, 7-9 rue de Sevigne, 4th Arrondissement, Metro Saint-Paul
- CCL5 Station, 47-59 rue Monge, 5th Arrondissement, Metro Place Monge
- Colombier Station, 11 rue du Vieux Colombier, 6th Arrondissement, Metro Saint-Sulpice
- Blanche Station, 28 rue Blanche, 9th Arrondissement, Metro Trinité d’Estienne d’Orves
- Chaligny Station, 26 rue de Chaligny, 12th Arrondissement, Metro Reuilly Diderot
- Port-Royal Station, 53-55 boulevard Port-Royal, 13th Arrondissement, Metro Les Gobelins
- Massena Station, 37 boulevard Massena, 13th Arrondissement, Metro Porte d’Ivry
- Grenelle Station, 6 place Violet, 15th Arrondissement, Metro Commerce
- Boursault Station, 27 rue Boursault, 17th Arrondissement, Metro Rome
- Montmartre Station, 12 rue Carpeaux, 18th Arrondissement, Metro Guy Moquet
- Bitche Station, 2 place de Bitche, 19th Arrondissement, Metro Crimee
- Menilmontant Station, 47 rue Saint-Fargeau, 20th Arrondissement, Metro Pelleport
Bastille Day Celebration Fireworks
The highlight of Bastille Day in Paris is the magnificent fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower, a spectacle that draws thousands of spectators each year. The evening’s festivities begin with a free concert at the Champ de Mars starting at 9 PM. This concert features a range of performances, often including classical music and contemporary pieces, setting the mood for the grand event to follow.
As the clock strikes 11 PM, the sky above the Eiffel Tower bursts into an array of colors with the fireworks show. This intricately choreographed display, synchronized with music and lights, creates a mesmerizing tableau against the Parisian night sky. The Eiffel Tower, illuminated and central to the spectacle, offers a breathtaking backdrop to the pyrotechnics.
For a spectacular view of the Bastille Day fireworks, consider these prime locations around Paris:
- Trocadéro Gardens: Directly across the river from the Eiffel Tower, it offers a fantastic, less crowded view.
- Montparnasse Tower: An elevated perspective with a panoramic view of the city’s skyline, ideal for capturing the fireworks display.
- Pont Alexandre III: This ornate bridge provides a unique and picturesque viewing spot along the Seine River.
- Pont de la Concorde: Another bridge option that offers a direct view of the Eiffel Tower and the surrounding fireworks.
- Champ de Mars: For those who prefer to be at the heart of the action, this park offers a close-up view right beneath the Eiffel Tower.
Arriving early at these locations is recommended to secure a good viewing spot, as they are popular with both locals and tourists.
Bastille Day Fireworks Cruises
For a unique and unforgettable Bastille Day experience, consider a fireworks cruise along the Seine River. These cruises offer a front-row seat to the spectacular fireworks while gliding along the historic river. You’ll witness the Eiffel Tower and Parisian landmarks lit up in the night sky, creating a magical setting. These cruises often include dinner and drinks, making it a perfect blend of sightseeing, gastronomy, and celebration. Book in advance as these cruises are highly sought after and provide an elegant way to immerse yourself in the festive spirit of Bastille Day.
Things to know before visiting France during Bastille Day
What’s Open on Bastille Day
Even though Bastille Day is a national holiday in France, many establishments in Paris cater to the needs and interests of both locals and tourists, ensuring that the city remains lively and accessible:
- Shops and Boutiques: In tourist-frequented areas such as the Champs-Élysées, Le Marais, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, many shops and boutiques remain open. This is an excellent opportunity for visitors to explore Parisian fashion and lifestyle stores.
- Restaurants and Cafes: Parisian cuisine is an integral part of the city’s charm, and thankfully, most restaurants and cafes continue to serve customers on Bastille Day. From quaint bistros offering traditional French dishes to contemporary cafes with modern fare, there’s something to satisfy every palate. It’s a fantastic chance to indulge in culinary delights like croissants, escargot, coq au vin, or a classic ratatouille.
- Public Transport: The métro and bus services in Paris generally operate on Bastille Day, making it convenient for tourists to navigate the city. However, it’s important to note that there might be disruptions or changes in service routes due to parades and events, particularly in central areas. Check the latest transport updates and plan your travel routes in advance.
- Tourist Attractions: Many of Paris’s iconic tourist attractions, such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Paris Catacombs, and Sacré-Cœur, are open to the public on Bastille Day. These landmarks offer a glimpse into the rich history and architectural beauty of Paris. Visitors should be aware that these sites might be more crowded than usual, so planning ahead and possibly booking tickets online in advance is advisable.
- Grocery Stores and Pharmacies: Essential services like grocery stores and pharmacies in most neighborhoods remain open, albeit with possibly reduced hours.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate Bastille Day in Paris? Let us know in the comments
France Travel Planning 🇫🇷
For any trip to be successful, preparation is key. Do it the easy way:
- Booking.com – Find diverse accommodations, enjoy easy booking with great deals, and rely on real reviews and 24/7 support.
- Expedia.com – With its user-friendly interface, it simplifies the process of booking hotels and holiday packages to France.
- VRBO.com – Your go-to platform for unique and comfortable vacation rentals in France.
- DiscoverCars.com – Offers a seamless booking experience, ensuring you find the ideal car for your adventures in France.
- GetTransfer.com – Is the ultimate solution for your travel transfer needs, offering an efficient, flexible service and comfortable transportation.
- Trainline.com stands as a quintessential tool for savvy travelers seeking to navigate France’s extensive rail network with ease and confidence.
- Skyscanner.com – Simplifies your travel planning with its user-friendly interface, offering a comprehensive comparison of flights.
Attractions, Activities and Tours 🇫🇷
- Viator.com – Stands out as a trusted resource for travelers seeking unparalleled experiences across the globe.
- GetYourGuide.com – Offers an extensive collection of tours, activities, and attractions in France.
- ParisCityVision.com – This tour company specializes in crafting exceptional experiences across Paris and France.
- Orange Sim Card – Discover seamless connectivity on your French travels with an Orange Holiday Europe Sim Card, a top choice for tourists.
- Airalo.com – The world’s first eSIM store that solves the pain of high roaming bills by giving travelers access to eSIMs (digital SIM cards).
Travel Insurance ✈️
- SafetyWing.com – Travel with peace of mind knowing you’re protected in almost every corner of the world.
- Travel Insurance Master – Visit their website to discover the ideal insurance plan that aligns with your travel dreams.
These are only a few of my favorites; for more, see my comprehensive guide to the top travel booking websites for France.