The Bastille day on July 14th took place at The Church near Henry Street. As the name goes it was a Church once and now it hosts a great pub/restaurant with plenty of space outside when the weather is good, and the music is great too.Le Petit Journal organised this event in memory of a very important day in French History.
For a day The Church appearance gave a feeling of being in France: French flags everywhere, many people dressed in the typical French hats and garlic around their neck, even their dresses reminds us of France (for example the small red scarf around their neck, the black and white striped T-shirts).There were a few panels where a person can stick their head in and be a Pirate for a day or a French for a day dressed in a black and white striped T-shirt, the small red scarf around the neck and a typical black French beret. The author was hoping to get a great story around garlic, but was told that they were wearing it just because the French apparently like it a lot. Upon a basic research it is found that French man dressed in the black beret, the black and white striped T-shirt, the small red scarf and the garlic around his neck comes from a British stereotype of French farmers and labourers. These people used to sell garlic and onions around their neck door to door. Originally from Brittany they would sell in the streets of London especially in the 1920s. The Bastille Day is a very important one in French history. This is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille that took place on July 14th, 1789 and was a turning point in the French Revolution. It also celebrates la Fete de la Federation, which celebrated the unity of the French people in 1790. Although they don’t celebrate this day much, celebrations are held throughout. It is celebrated in big cities (like in Italy June 2nd which is the day of when the Republic+ was born, is not celebrated if not in big cities like Rome which is the capital).The oldest and largest military parade in Europe is held on the morning of the 14th of July on the Champs Elysees in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests that ends with a firework show!
A little bit of history around the Bastille Day and the Fete de la Federation: Jaques Necker, the Finance Minister, who was sympathetic to the Third Estate, was dismissed on 11 July. The people of Paris then stormed the Bastille, fearful that they and their representatives would be attacked by the royal army or by foreign regiments of mercenaries in the king’s service and seeking to gain ammunition and gunpowder for the general populace. The Bastille was a fortress-prison in Paris which had often held people jailed based on lettres de cachet (literally “signet letters”), arbitrary royal indictments that could not be appealed and did not indicate the reason for the imprisonment. The Bastille held a large cache of ammunition and gunpowder and was also known for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government and was thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy. The crowd was eventually reinforced by mutinous French Guards, whose usual role was to protect public buildings. They proved a fair match for the fort’s defenders, and Governor De Launay, the commander of the Bastille, capitulated and opened the gates to avoid a mutual massacre. However, possibly because of a misunderstanding, fighting resumed. According to the official documents, about 200 attackers and just one defender died in the initial fighting, but in the aftermath, de Launay and seven other defenders were killed, as was Jacques De Flesselles, the prévôt des marchands (“provost of the merchants”), the elected head of the city’s guilds, who under the feudal monarchy also had the competences of a present-day mayor. After this event, on August 4th, 1789, the feudalism was abolished in France and on August 26th, the Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizens was born.The Fête de la Fédération on 14 July 1790 was a celebration of the unity of the French nation during the French Revolution. The aim of this celebration, one year after the Storming of the Bastille, was to symbolise peace. On the 30th of June 1878 there was a big celebration in honour of the French Republic and on the 14th of July 1879 there was another semi-official celebration. On the 21st of May 1880, Benjamin Raspall proposed a law to have “the Republic choose the 14 July as a yearly national holiday”. The law was made official on 6 July 1880, and the Ministry of the Interior recommended to Prefects that the day should be “celebrated with all the brilliance that the local resources allow”. Indeed, the celebrations of the new holiday in 1880 were particularly magnificent.
And this is how the modern Bastille Day was born. Vive la France!
Author: Francesca Gubellini