France is at its climax in July ! The summer weather brings everybody outdoor, the schools close down for vacation, festivals flourish in every regions and there is a touch of celebration in the air! Follow our guide for this month’s best selection!
14th of July: French National Day
National Day on July 14th plays its part in making July an exciting time of the year for the French! Everywhere in the country, celebrations take place, usually at night but the enthusiasm of celebration is best felt in Paris. Locals and tourists alike, the whole city will completely embrace the joyful atmosphere!.
Here are the top three exciting activities that you should not miss on National Day.
National Day Fireworks Show
The fireworks show is an old tradition of National Day but it seems to step up every year! Expect an exceptional show against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower. Some fireworks are even fired from the tower itself, giving you that wow moment!
2018’s show will start at 11pm on the evening of July 14th! Don’t miss it and get a good viewing spot a little ahead. If you arrive early at the Champs the Mars, you may catch the evening special concert by the Eiffel Tower at 9.30pm. If you are looking for the extra romance, consider booking a river cruise or restaurant with a view, to enjoy a unique moment away from the crowds.
Champs Elysees Parade
The parade on the Champs Elysées is also a unique event not to be missed. All French troops will walk down the Champs Elysees in this spectacular parade, showcasing the various army corps: from police to special forces, everybody is here. Oh and yes, that includes the incredible fighter jet flight from the Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe by the elite French air force.
“Bal des pompiers”: party time
French people are party people and National Day is no exception! Traditionally, in every little town around France, there will be a popular, family-friendly evening party organized by the locals, usually on the town’s main square. In Paris, the firefighters are well-known for opening their fire stations to the young crowds who want to party for free until dawn!
Paris goes outdoor in July!
- Paris Plages: the beach comes to town
During summer, Paris transforms into a waterfront resort ! You will see sand, palm trees, relaxing chairs and sun umbrellas popping out along the Seine River! Created in 2002, Paris Plages is extending significantly this year. In addition to the usual beach near Hotel de Ville, the left bank will have its own too near Musée d’Orsay and the Alexander III bridge. Further North, la Villette is joining the event with a unique filtered river pool! So pick-up your sunglasses and beach towel and come by the Seine to enjoy the games and activities prepared by the local community or simply sip a cocktail and relax.
- Paris Outdoor Film Festival
Have you ever dreamt of that so romantic experience of outdoor cinema? Paris has the perfect one for you! Don’t miss the “cinéma en plein air” held in Parc de la Villette from the 19th of July throughout the entire summer in August. The Festival is free and has movies in original language almost every day of the week. This year, the focus is on singing and music in movies so check out the program here for a beautiful movie night!
Arles International Photography Exhibition
The Arles Photography Exhibition is another major French highlight for the summer. Founded in 1970 by various artists and intellectuals including art master Picasso, the Arles Photography Exhibition has become one of the world’s leading photography event for contemporary artwork. During 6 weeks, influential press and artist photographers take over the city of Arles and present their works in different locations of the antique city, including churches, streets and theatres.
Ask us for more detailed tickets information or how to arrange a great exhibition trip there!
And in case you’ve missed going to Arles (which is really worth the detour), get a second chance spotting the photography works in China, Xiamen, afterwards, at the Jimei x Arles festival !
How do the French do it? — the story of French National Day
Lastly we want to give you a brief introduction of what’s behind July 14th.
July 14th is actually a very symbolic day in the French History. On that day in 1789, during the turmoil of the French Revolution, the Bastille jail, where many political prisoners were held and which symbolized the unfair, absolute royal power, was captured. In 1789, Bastille Day marked a turning point in the French Revolution, symbolizing the collapse of the old system and the takeover of power by the people. But the tradition of celebrating 14th of July really grew at the end of the 19th century, under the IIIrd French Republic. Since then, 14th of July remains an important celebration for the people of France, and an opportunity to shout the country’s motto “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”
We hope you will enjoy the summer and celebration vibe taking over France in July! As a visitor it’s the unique opportunity to join the French who also start their vacation and celebrate their time off and their country.
So don’t hesitate, come and customize your own unique trip to France with us!