Vive la France! Celebrating Bastille Day in Paris

“Vive la France!” If you were in Paris last week you would be hearing this phrase a lot. It’s the patriotic exclamation of the French cheered in the streets on the 14th of July. What’s commonly referred to as Bastille Day abroad, and locally referred to as simply the 14 juillet, is the national celebration of France. Everywhere you go in Paris the French flag is flying high with national pride throughout the festivities.

Paris Rendezvous Much like the 4th of July in the states, the 14th of July brings us all together at the height of summer to celebrate our red, white and blue and commemorate the founding of the French Republic in the aftermath of the revolution. In fact, both the American and French revolutions happened on the heels of The Enlightenment, with ideas inspiring the masses to take action and balance the power in favor of the people in a time when monarchies were the norm. Today, you can replace the barbecue with picnics, the beer with wine, and the Statue of Liberty with the Eiffel Tower and voilà…you can begin to imagine what the 14th of July is like here in the French capital.

The celebrations in Paris are the biggest in the nation of course. On the morning of the 14th, the Champs Élysées between Place de l’Étoile and the Tuileries is paraded with stunningly coordinated military spectacles. The French Republican Guard lines up on horseback in their traditional uniforms, marching for the people in perfect unison. Overhead, the French Air Force wows the crowd as they appear in the sky above the Arc de Triomphe in perfect aerial formation, leaving behind ribbons of red, white, and blue in the sky. Even the President makes his appearance here.

But oh the night! 14 juillet goes out with a bang in Paris that is bigger and brighter than any spectacle I’ve ever seen…fireworks at the Eiffel Tower! This year I braved the crowds taking their places on the Champ de Mars and Trocadéro to see it first-hand. It exceeded my every expectation. With nearly 50 different designs worked into this year’s celebration, the combination of fireworks, changing lights, and music spiraling out wowed us all. All of Paris was a glow with Eiffel’s light, and reeling with excitement. I couldn’t help but feel proud to call such a beautiful country my home along with Lancôme, and honored to be able to share a taste of the 14 juillet with all of you here. Now say it with me…vive la France!

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