Holidays in South France: All About Bastille Day in South France

If you are taking your villa holidays in South France this summer, Kingfisher offers a beautiful range of villas and farmhouses in the stunning Lot Valley. The villas are right in the heart of rural France where you can find more about French culture and enjoy taking part in some of the festivities during your holidays in South France.

One of the biggest celebrations in France is the Bastille Day on July 14th and is when each town has a blast and goes mad with activities, music and fireworks – and this year was no exception! Read on to find out more about it.

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Holidays in South France: About Bastille Day

The French call this day La Fête Nationale (otherwise known as the national celebration) and it is a public holiday in France. It celebrates a landmark event on 14th July 1789 – the storming of the Bastille fortress prison, which represented the harsh rule of the French Monarchy.

At the time of the storming by the angry French mob, the prison housed just seven inmates. However, its fall was significant enough to become a symbol of the French Revolution and this ultimately led to the establishment of a new form of government, the First Republic, on 22 September 1792.

Celebrations occur across the country to mark this event but undoubtedly the most significant is the military parade in Paris, held annually since 14th July 1880. It is the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe and takes place in front of the President of the French Republic as well as a number of French and foreign dignitaries.

French allies also join in the parade, which includes military aircraft that fly over the route. Even the red arrows took part in the parade in 2004. The President would generally speak to the press on the day, and hold a garden party, and he also has a right to pardon criminals (usually for motoring offences).

However, it is not only the capital that holds a celebration on the day. You will find festivities in towns and cities right across the country – and even worldwide – and these include balls, parties, fêtes, fireworks, diners and dances.

If you are taking your holidays in South France or anywhere else in the country during this period, as it is a public holiday, you will find that many businesses will be closed, including some restaurants and cafes; however, you will still find some stores will be open. Also, some of the roads will be closed for the celebrations.

The Eiffel tower and the French flag (or tricolor) is an important symbol of La Fête National – and represents liberty, equality and fraternity of all citizens in France. You will see the flags and bunting and some people will paint their faces in the tricolour colours which are blue, white and red.

Although you have missed Bastille Day celebrations this year, you have a chance to catch it next year so plan ahead for your holidays in South France for July 2013. Alternatively, there is still time to book a cottage in South France for August or September when there are other festivals to enjoy. In fact, whenever you visit the Lot Valley for your holidays in South France, you will find plenty to do for all ages and interests. Read on for more information.

Celebrations in the Lot Valley

Of course, wherever you are based for your holidays in South France, you will find plenty of celebrations near you, and you can find out more about these by visiting your local tourist office.

If you are spending your holidays in the Lot Valley, one of the many towns that celebrated Bastille Day was Villeneuve.

This year they had a beautiful firework display to orchestral music, although the evening kicked off at 7.45 pm with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, then led on to more traditional numbers. The evening ends with a dance followed by a disco, so there is always music on the night to suit all tastes.

Other Upcoming Festivals

Although you have missed Bastille Day for your summer holidays in South France, you can find many other fun-filled festivities in the Lot Valley.

Au Fil de L’Eau Une Histoire

If your French is good, there is a fantastic show held each year about the history of water at Valance d’Agen from 1st to 11th August. Au Fil de L’Eau Une Histoire is a spectacular sound and light show set to music and dancing. The show (in French) takes place at 10 pm in the Port Canal des Deux Mers. Bookings must be made in advance.

Medieval Festival at Bonaguil Castle 

A theatre festival takes place at this beautiful and important French monument on August 6th and 7th. Visit your local tourist information office to find out more.

Prune Show

Here’s your chance to join in the fun during the annual three day family event in Agen which involves stalls, street performances, music and dancing. The Prune Show takes place day and evening between August 31st to September 2nd.

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