Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q - Quatorze Juilliet - Bastille Day in France

I’ve been in France three times on the Quatorze Juillet, or Bastille Day as we English speakers call it. Once in Tarbes, once in Blagnac and once in Saint-Émilion. The French have a knack with fireworks, as I’m sure you’ve seen before in photos. Though I've been to Carcassonne, (near Toulouse) it's never been on le quatorze juillet and it's always been the one place I've always wanted to see the display of feu d’artifice. My children have seen it. They actually went to the spectacular show they put on and came back raving, even though they didn’t care for the crush of people. Over seven hundred thousand visitors descend upon Carcassonne each year to see the show in the old city.  I’ve tried to find photos of the "River of Fire" online, but no one seems to have any. I have seen this on a video my kids brought back to me, but I can't find a version of that online. There is some footage of it on youtube which you can see HERE starting around 9:57… but it isn't the quite the same. Carcassonne is one of my favorite places to visit in France. It is the oldest existing fortified town continuously inhabited in Eastern Europe and sets fire to imaginations across the world. It’s been used in films like “Robin Hood Prince of Thieves,” “LesVisiteurs” and others. Though this post is about the 14th of July, it centers on Carcassonne, where I think the best fireworks display is given. Someday I’ll get to see it in person! 


Fire works in Marseilles
French Foreign Legion on Parade
No caption needed here!
Or here.... Love the planes in the back
With the A380!
Fireworks in Blagnac
Military parade in Marseilles
My kids watching the parade in Toulouse
Carcassonne on fire.... works.

Carcassonne in action, you can just see the city under the fireworks.
Le bleu blanc rouge....


  1. It's an amazing experience for sure! I spent Bastille Day one year in Paris and we went to watch the display at the Eiffel Tower. It's been, gosh, going on 14 years (yikes!) now but still a fond memory :)

    Happy A to Z-ing!
    herding cats & burning soup.

    1. Wow, Paris would have been, and is, amazing to see on le quatorze! I've seen it on New Year's Eve, but not in July. Thanks for dropping by, again! I've put one of your novels on my wish list on Amazon...!

  2. My husband has been trying to get me to France for years. This is beautiful, I will have to say yes one of these days.

  3. Behind the Eiffel Tower is an amazing fireworks shot. Funny you can find photos or decent videos of the River of Fire.

  4. What gorgeous pics! I want to spend a few months traveling France some time in my life.

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  5. Anonymous10:02 AM

    I don't know if I could handle the people in Paris then. It was crazy enough when I was there in May and in August! I was supposed to go to Toulouse in 2011, but plans fell through. Someday, I will make it!

  6. Anonymous10:09 AM

    Loved visiting your blog! Would love to visit Paris (or anyplace in France) even more ..sigh

  7. Hi Lisa - stunning photos - and yes I went to the local fiesta when I was 15 - the August 15th one ... but I agree Carcassone looks quite extraordinary, with and without the fireworks .. lovely - Happy Easter .. cheers Hilary

  8. Ahhh. C'est tres merveilleux!

    I keep promising myself that I'll take a month off and visit my sister who lives in an unpronounceable place in La Vendee. After this, I'm definitely going to make sure it's in July.

    Thanks for the visit.

  9. Completely stunning photographs! Must be utterly mesmerising to have been there. If I ever go back to France again, I'll try and make it on Bastille Day.

  10. I first saw Paris (at night) from the back of an Army truck - an experience I was glad not to repeat. Stationed just outside Versailles I had lots of opportunities to visit the city - no fireworks though and not on the Quatorze Juillet.

  11. Reminds me of our 4th of July. Never been to the romantic country of France...someday...

  12. My parents took me camping in France when I was two weeks old. (I grew up in Sweden.) I've always wanted to visit there - it's on my bucket list.
    Those fireworks are amazing in pictures...I can't imagine in real life...WOW.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

  13. I wouldn't be too thrilled with the crowds but I'm sure it's quite a spectacle.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  14. I've been to Carcassonne and could imagine the wow factor with fireworks on those amazing battlements. I was caught in the crush on New Year's Eve at the Eiffel Tower for the fireworks display. Will never forget the majesty of that light show and will never forget the crowd!! Getting home was quite a challenge. I think we walked most of the way.

    Your posts are wonderful, Lisa.



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