Monday, July 14, 2008

Celebrate Bastille Day!

Celebrate Bastille Day!

We Americans have the 4th of July. The French have Bastille Day. Bastille Day is the French national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789.

The Bastille was the King's prison in Paris and a symbol to the French people of the absolute power of the King Louis 16th's rule (Marie Antoinette's husband). The storming of the prison by the peasant class was a symbol of liberty and the fight against oppression for all the French people. This day in history marks the beginning of the French Revolution, the birth of the Republic and a new government.

Place de la Bastille
(early 1900's vintage photograph)

The Place de la Bastille is a monument where the Bastille prison once stood. (The Bastille prison was demolished two days after the outraged Parisians stormed it in 1789.)

In the center is the column called the Colonne de Juillet (July column) honors the Parisians who died during the July 1830 Revolution. At the top of the column stands the cherub like figure of the Genie de la Liberte (The Spirit of Liberty).

Today in Paris there will be a grand military parade down the Champs Elysees. There will be festivals celebrating all over France. There will even be French celebrations in major cities across America.

You can celebrate, too! You could cook a French inspired meal...or dine out at your favorite French cafe. Easier yet....

pop open a great bottle of French wine or champagne
and toast "Vive la France"!


Ruth said...

I fixed poulet nicoise for dinner - does that count!?

Unknown said...

Oui, of course! Sounds very French Provencal. I may need that recipe!