On the 14th of July, France celebrates its largest national holiday. Known to the English speaking west as Bastille Day, the French call this holiday La Fete Nationale (The national Festival) or simply La Quatorze Juillet (The 14th of July). It marks the day in 1789 when revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, a prison and a symbol of the monarchy. The country comes together in a festive display of community and culture with military parades, fireworks, free attractions, street parties, and concerts. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Paris around Bastille Day, here are some suggestions on how to make the most of this exciting public holiday. Paris is also one of the 80 countries where you can use Vodafone’s $5 Roaming, so you can use your Vodafone plan for $5 extra a day during your stay.

Learn about the history

To fully appreciate the significance of Bastille Day, put on some comfortable walking shoes and take a historical walking tour around the city. Tour guides can take you around many of the significant sites of the French Revolution which will help paint a vivid picture for you. A couple of major sites to see include the Place de la Concorde (where King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and over 1000 other aristocrats were executed during the revolution) and the remains of the Bastille itself.

Attend the firefighter’s ball

Though it might seem like an unusual tradition to foreigners, fire stations throughout Paris are open to party goers on the night of the 13th for a big party known as the Bal de Pompiers or the firefighter’s ball. Do a bit of research in advance so you know which barracks are participating. There is often a small donation or entry fee but all the profits go into improving conditions for firefighters and their working environments.

Watch the Parade

On the morning of the 14th, make your way to Champs Elysees to watch the military parade. It’s the largest regular military parade in all of Europe with fighter pilots flying over sky, leaving a smoke trail in the sky in the colours of the French flag. Around 8,800 soldiers take part in the parade, hundreds of horses and vehicles, and dozens of planes and helicopters.

Have a Picnic on the Champ de Mars

Later that night, enjoy classical music concerts and a stunning fireworks display around the Champ de Mars, which is a massive public greenspace on the southern side of the Eiffel tower. In 1790, the first festival celebration in honour of the fall of the Bastille was held at the Champ de Mars. The tradition remains, and every year since then the park is a central point for the celebrations of Bastille Day. Many Parisians will spend the whole day having a picnic at the Champ de Mars to guarantee a good spot for the evening celebrations before the throngs of people from the Parade come to watch.

Take advantage of free attractions

One of the added bonuses of Bastille Day is that many museums and attractions around Paris are free to enter. For example, you could check out The Louvre and see The Mona Lisa, The Venus De Milo, or (extremely relevant for Bastille Day) Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People. Another free attraction is the Panthéon, which was once a church dedicated to the patron saint of France but after the French Revolution became a mausoleum of Parisian heroes like Victor Hugo and Voltaire.


With Vodafone $5 Roaming, travel further and stay connected. You can use Vodafone’s $5 Roaming with your phone, tablet or mobile broadband plan for just $5 extra a day in 80 countries, for up to 90 days in a calendar year. Countries may vary, so check the list of included countries before you travel. For Plus & Advance Plans, only Your Max Speed data is included while $5 Roaming.

Terms and conditions

$5 Roaming
Countries subject to change, see current list and full details at www.vodafone.com.au/roaming. Available to eligible customers. $5 Daily Charge is in addition to minimum monthly spend. For Plus Plan and Advance Plan customers, only Your Max Speed data allowance can be accessed while $5 Roaming. For all plans, once your included data or Your Max Speed data (as applicable for your plan) is exhausted, additional data will be automatically added at a charge of $10/GB (“Additional Data”). Additional Data expires at the end of your billing month, is not shareable and can only be used while in $5 Roaming countries. Max 90 days of use in any calendar year. Opt-out at any time, visit myvodafone.com.au/ or call 1555. All roaming services subject to network availability.

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Luke Ellery


Luke Ellery,

Luke is an enthusiastic writer with a background in creative writing and content marketing. He began his content journey in Auckland, managing a wedding blog. Luke considers himself a passionate grammarian and a thorough researcher; skills he undoubtedly picked up while completing his postgraduate studies in Ancient History. In his spare time, Luke peruses the specials aisle in the supermarket, and works to pay for the backyard that his future dogs deserve.