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5 things to know and do for 14 July

5 things to know and do for 14 July



This Wednesday 14 July, France celebrates its bank holidays. Despite the health crisis, fireworks, colourful events, music and good humour will be the order of the day for the commemoration of the famous holiday that every French person knows... or thinks they know! Anecdotes and festivities below.

5 things you didn't know about 14 July 🇫🇷👩🏫

14 July does not commemorate the storming of the Bastille

Although we think of it as the storming of the Bastille, we are in fact celebrating the Fête de la Fédération, which took place on 14 July 1790 on the Champ de Mars. This choice of symbolic reference is intended to avoid celebrating an act of war and instead focus on commemorating a moment of rejoicing and sharing.

14 July became a bank holiday in 1880

Numerous decisions were taken throughout the 19th century as to the symbolism of a particular date in the calendar. Initially, 14 July replaced 30 June, which replaced 15 August, which in turn replaced 4 May... The changes were such that commemorating 14 July was prohibited between 1800 and 1848. 

Archive of the National Holiday of 14 July from the 3rd Republic

Fireworks as a symbol of the monarchy

Fireworks seem to be a must nowadays, but they were originally very badly perceived by the people who saw them as useless expenses. 

Imported from China by Louis XIII, fireworks were a key attraction set up for many occasions. But after the Revolution, it was completely abandoned and only resumed under the Third Republic, when the National Holiday was officially established - to finally become the tradition we know today. 

The firemen's ball only dates from 1937

It all began on 14 July 1937 when firemen from the Montmartre fire station, returning from the military parade, met a group of passers-by and made friends with them. After a few pleasant exchanges, one of the firemen suggested to his superior that they show their new friends around the fire station, located on rue Carpeau. The sergeant accepted, which marked the beginning of a long tradition that continues to this day! 

Not all French people celebrate the bank holidays on 14 July

The commune of Viriat, in the Ain, does not celebrate 14 July. Not for lack of desire, but rather because a municipal decree, established in 1880, allows the inhabitants to harvest at this time. It is therefore for economic reasons that the commune of Viriat does not celebrate 14 July. Instead, a celebration of the bank holidays is organised a little later, in August. You didn't think they didn't celebrate it at all 😏

5 things to do this July 14, 2021 🇫🇷🎉


The programme of festivities around the National Day of 14 July in Thionville will be a little different this year. Unfortunately, there will be no fireworks or ball, but the official commemorations and military parades are still planned in the streets of the city: flag bearers, military regiment, patriotic associations and firemen will be present. Find the programme of the day here.  


While several towns in the agglomeration have decided to maintain the festivities linked to the bank holidays, the town of Nancy will have to concentrate solely on the traditional ceremony. It will take place at the same place as in previous years, at the Désilles memorial, from 11am to midday. 

As for the festivities, the city of Nancy has decided to play the safety card. However, if you want to attend the fireworks, you can go to the many towns in the agglomeration that have maintained their fireworks shows: Malzéville, Villers, or Saint-Max, where the fireworks will be shot on the banks of the Meurthe, near the place where the fireworks of Nancy are traditionally shot.


The traditional fireworks of the city of Metz will unfortunately not take place this summer. Due to the health crisis, the prefecture has chosen not to maintain this part of the event. The fireworks will be replaced by a march through the city centre by five brass bands in the afternoon.

A concert by the Metz brass band is also planned in the courtyard of the covered market (no reservation required but limited seating). 

To finish the evening, an open-air cinema will take place in the Botanical Garden located in the town of Montigny-lès-Metz, showing "Les singes qui voulait voir la mer" at 10.30 pm. 

As a small bonus, the director will be present to discuss with the audience. Don't forget the popcorn! 🍿


In Brittany, some fireworks are maintained this year, on 13 and 14 July in Carnac, Saint-Brieuc or in Rennes, the Breton capital. According to France Bleu, the city will offer one of the most beautiful Breton fireworks. " We are happy that the health conditions have allowed us to maintain this event, which will allow the people of Rennes to meet around this festival and friendly meeting," said Cyrille Morel, deputy for nightlife in the city of Rennes. 

The fire will be fired from the Bellangerais stadium, which can accommodate up to 30,000 people. No health pass is required, only the wearing of a mask. Good news for the people of Rennes! 


This small town in the north of Meurthe-Et-Moselle highlights its heritage and traditions each year by organising fun and enchanting events.

Every year in July, the Longwy la Nuit festival takes over the town for a week. The concept: concerts are organised every evening in different places in the town. 

This year, on the occasion of the National Holiday, the city is organising a masked evening in the colours of its emblematic enamels, which we have already mentioned in a previous article

These festivities will be open to the public, but it will be compulsory to wear a mask at all times. You can consult the programme of the Longwy la Nuit festival at this address .

Coverage of the "Longwy by Night" festival

The 14th of July is a celebration for all French people. So happy holidays to you, to us and to all the everyday heroes who support local commerce. Join the movement. 🦸♀️🦸♂️


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