14th of July, celebrating the storming of the Bastille and the Fête de la Fédération

If you’re interested in French culture, you probably know there’s something going on around the 14th of July. Maybe you have watched on television the famous military parade that takes place every year on the Champs-Elysées, in Paris. Or maybe you have seen with your own eyes the traditional flypast, during the day, and then, at night, the fireworks that are shot from the Eiffel Tower. However, July, 14th is a national holiday so fireworks, balls and celebrations actually take place all over France and not only in Paris. But, do you know exactly what are those celebrations for ? Let’s have an insight into what is called, in English, “Bastille Day” !

In 1789, there were two reasons for the atmosphere of fear and insecurity that reigned on July, 14th in France. The first reason is that Necker, a French minister who was truly appreciated by the people, had just been dismissed by Louis XVI; only a few days before being dismissed, he had called the States-General, an assembly that was called when there were important crisis. The second reason to that atmosphere was that soldiers were surrounding Paris. This situation led to many Parisians setting their eyes on Les Invalides, where they could get arms.Then, they headed to the Bastille fortress in search for munitions. During the afternoon of the 14th of July, these Parisians stormed and destroyed the Bastille, a major symbol of royal power.

Starting from that point, the National Guard troops started creating fédérations, associations where they joined together. The commander-in-chief of the National Guard of France, La Fayette, suggested that there should be a national celebration of this federation movement taking place in the whole country and that this celebration should happen on the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. La Fayette’s suggestion was accepted by the National Assembly and, on July, 14th of 1790, a military parade composed of thousands of “fédérations” troops occurred in Paris. This celebration called Fête de la Fédération lasted for a few days.

Despite the euphoria reigning during this Fête de la Fédération, it stopped being celebrated that way for almost a century, for two reasons. The first one is that the events happening on the 14th of July weren’t planned to be mass gathering. The other reason is that July, 14th stopped being considered as an important date. For example, for a few years starting on 1804, it was August, 15th, date of birth of Napoleon I, that was considered as a date worth celebrating. It’s not until the 1870s that we’ll start considering again the 14th of July as a date of matter. Then, it’s on July, 6th of 1880, that the 14th of July was officially and legally made national day of France.

So, on July, 14th of 1790, France actually celebrated its national unity on the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille but, for the years after 1790, the purpose was to celebrate this so called Fête de la Fédération of 1790 ! However, it’s the storming of the Bastille that is usually considered as the major reason for 14th of July celebrations. But 14th of July of both 1789 and 1790 were important days for France and that’s why this date is now a symbol.


Read this article in: Français, Eesti,

Need help with the summer hits ?

July 18, 2018 / August 31, 2018

Summer is here. And like every year, it brings the sun, bright holidays and happy moods all around. Well, that’s how it should be anyway. But like every year, summer also brings back this old threat, the one you can’t avoid, can’t escape… the summer hits ! You know, those two or three...

Read more

French cultureMusicsummersummer hits

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir

July 13, 2018

After the death of his mother, Aja, a young con artist from Mumbai starts an extraordinary journey looking for the father he never knew. In Paris, he falls in love in a Swedish furniture store, he faces the dangers of crossing the border with Somali immigrants to England, becomes famous on a dance...

Read more

French groovy-jazzy-funky rhythms for a free concert in Saaremaa !

July 12, 2018 / July 22, 2018 - Kuressaare, Saaremaa

Groovy-jazzy-funky vibes coming directly from Paris heart are waiting for you at Saaremaa July 21 for a free concert !  Come and enjoy those energetic and joyful songs while tasting the best pizzas of the island.  What ? SiinMeOleme 2018 : Pariis rencontre Saaremaa When ? 21 July, Saturday, at...

Read more

Chansons for children – learn French through singing

April 12, 2018 - Tallinn

The most productive time to learn a new language is from the time of birth to the age of 5-10. At this time, children have the possibility to learn another language quickly and without an accent. Therefore, learning a new language earlier will give you a very important advantage. In these classes,...

Read more

Chocolala’s new Chocolate museum in Tallinn !

Do you have a sweet tooth ? Then why don’t you go to the Chocolate Museum that opened on the 2nd of June of this year in Tallinn Old Town ? Do you know you can get -10% with your IF Pass at handmade chocolate shop Chocolala ? Well, now you can also have a quick review of chocolate history in...

Read more

Come meet the illustrator Vanessa Hié on March 15th

March 15, 2018 - Tallinn

The Paris-based illustrator Vanessa Hié will be at the Children's Literature Centre in Tallinn, on Tuesday, March 15th for demos of her works and discussions with the audience. A meeting for children will take place at 10am, while adults can come meet her at 5pm. Vanessa Hié's website:...

Read more

The french albums to listen this summer

Camille - Ouï A little bit less crazy than her previous album (Ilo Veyou, released in 2011), but still very delightful, Ouï marks a successful return of the talented Camille. The french artist whose musical style is indefinable and completely unique, gives us 11 rhythmic songs, imbued with...

Read more

Tous les mêmes

This week, listen to singer Stromae and his original song "Tous les mêmes", from the record "Racine Carrée".   About Stromae Brussels-based Paul Van Haver was born in 1985. He became known with the song "Alors on danse" in 2009. Today, he's an author, composer and interpreter. Video...

Read more

Study in France Virtual Fair from November 6th to 15th

November 6, 2017 / November 15, 2017

Campus France Estonia hosts in collaboration with 13 other Campus France offices in Europe the Study in France Virtual education fair from November 6th to 15th. The online education exhibition will be promoting 40 French higher education institutions and programs to prospective students and...

Read more