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Bastille Day Facts

·  In France, Bastille Day is called ‘la Fete National’ (national holiday) or ‘quatorze juillet’ (14th of July).

·  The day actually commemorates the Fete de la Federation held on 14 July 1790 which took place on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.

·  Only seven prisoners were being held inside the Bastille prison when it was stormed on 14 July 1789.

. It was not until 1880 that France officially recognised the 14th July as a yearly national holiday - when legislation was pronounced it was said that Bastille Day should be “celebrated with all the brilliance that their local resources allow.”

.  The famous phrase supposedly coined during the French Revolution by Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI wife, 'Let them eat cake' when told they had no bread, actually refers brioche (a cake like bread).

. The President also has the authority on this day to pardon criminals or petty offenders but President Sarkozy declined to continue this practice.

.    Entry to the Louvre is free on Bastille Day

.  Fire stations in Paris and around France open up on 13 and 14 July to throw parties/balls

.  Fireworks are set off around France and the Eiffel Tower (note only on Bastille Day not New Years)

.  The Bastille Day military parade on the Champs Elysees is the oldest and largest in western Europe.

More information about Bastille Day and things to do...

Read a blog we wrote about Bastille day

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