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Tuesday 16 July 2013

How Languedoc celebrates 'Le 14 Juillet' Bastille day with fireworks!

14th of July celebration - the perfect opportunity to see the true South of France and its wonderful welcoming people.

The 14th of July is the annual celebration of Bastille Day. Each town and village in the country celebrates this day although festivities vary according to location. In Paris for instance, there are large military parades every year accompanied by the impressive “Patrouille de France” aircraft aerobatics.

In the South of France it is a more humble, social and community-orientated event. Central squares and village plazas are filled with tables and chairs in preparation for the feast.

The festive menu is distributed a couple of days before the event and usually consists of a large paella or hog roast. Traditionally villagers also bring taboulets, salads, patés and homemade dips. Neighbours and friends eat and drink together, as volunteers help to serve the food. Traditionally you’ll find locals behind a make-shift bar selling beers, sangria and regional wines.

The older generation of women (a.k.a “les mammies du village”) take the lead in bringing everyone to the dance floor. French disco tunes and old classics always manage to dominate the playlist, however it is not complete without the national anthem and a couple of “chansons paillardes”*.

The climax of the evening is of course the midnight fireworks. The French (well known for being proud!), strive to have the most fantastic spectacle in the area. Fourteenth of July fireworks never disappoint.

If the village fête doesn’t sound quite right for you, try to find a slightly higher viewpoint on a hill where you can sit, relax, maybe enjoy a bottle of wine and watch as surrounding villages’ fireworks go off simultaneously. It really is breath taking!

*Chanson Paillarde (loosely translated from the French Wikipedia page):

A popular song chanted among friends in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Generally the lyrics are crude and filled with innuendos, most commonly sung when inebriated at some form of festivity.

How to get tickets for the community meal:

Its very simple, just go to the local Mairie in the town or village you’d like to spend the evening and ask their secretary for tickets to the feast.

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