Fun Facts About Bastille Day

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Now that Independence Day has come and gone, it is time to gear up for Bastille Day, or La fête nationale. Granted, it is for our friends across the pond, but who can resist French culture? The holiday takes place on Jul. 14, giving you the perfect reason to learn fun facts about Bastille Day. Who knows, maybe it will help you kick butt at trivia, too.

After all, when you are a die-hard Francophile, brushing up on history only makes sense. It is hard to not love the food, the language, and everything in between. Oh, and did I mention the food? No Bastille Day celebration would be complete without delicious French desserts. I am talking about crème fraîche, eclairs, and mousse... just to name a few. Personally, I am a huge fan of macarons and croissants, two treats I could totally live off of.

If you want to get really festive, try your hand at Paris-themed craft projects. Plus, you can even reuse red, white, and blue décor from Independence Day. The flag of France boasts the same colors, so that is a major win. I like to think of it as an excellent excuse to make red, white, and blue vegan jello shots again. (Hey, no one is judging.)

Now, if only we could all fly to France on Jul. 14. Talk about a dream come true.


The Bastille Was A Fortress

The Bastille has a (really) long history. In 1370, it was built and used as a fortress in Paris, France. Its main purpose? To defend France against England during the Hundred Years' War.


It Was Also A Prison

While the OG Bastille was a fortress, it later became a state prison in 1417. Basically, if you revolted against France's kings, there was a place for you in the Bastille. It remained a prison for hundreds of years.


July 14 Marked The Beginning Of The French Revolution

People weren't loving French Royalty, and they definitely made it known. By July 1789, tensions were at an all-time high. The Storming of the Bastille went down on Jul. 14 and royalty was not pleased. It also marked the beginning of the French Revolution, according to TIME.


Marie Antoinette Fled The Bastille

At the time, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were holding down the fort(ress). However, the mob attack drove them away, leaving the Bastille to be destroyed.


It Made Way For The Modern French Republic

Again, people weren't fans of royalty. The French monarchy was abolished in 1792, making way for the French Republic.


It Took 91 Years For Bastille Day To Become A Holiday

After the Storming of the Bastille, celebrations took place every year on Jul. 14. Yet, it didn't become a national French holiday until 1880, according to Britannica. That's a whopping 91 years later.


The Bastille Day Military Parade Is The Oldest In Europe

Every year, Bastille Day is celebrated with the Bastille Day Military Parade, the oldest military parade in Europe. It takes place on The Avenue des Champs-Elysées, which is embellished with flags.


Bastille Day Is Celebrated In Other Countries

On July 14, other countries get in on the fun. Belgium, Czech Republic, and India are just a few examples. In the United States, you can find Bastille Day celebrations in Milwaukee, New York, and (of course) New Orleans.