What is essentially the French Independence Day. It’s known as Bastille day because on the day in 1789, the Bastille was stormed. The Bastille was a prison of the time. (It’s much written about in the Three Musketeers, which I found much more thrilling than I expected.)
Essentially, this day symbolizes the end of the King’s power, and the allocation of that power to the people. In French, it is officially called Fête Nationale <national celebration>, and casually, quatorze juillet <14th July>.
This year, the 14th of July was on a Monday. And, therefore, the parade in Montpellier was held on Sunday evening. This was really a new experience for me. There was a military marching band, and a group of fire baton twirling girls, the leader of which was a women who had to be in her early 70s!
After the parade past the spectators, everyone walked past them on the sidewalks and stopped again! It was really a fun way to have a parade.
On the actual 14th of July, there was a fireworks show, that was really really good. They kept up a constant flow of fireworks, and several times I thought we had reached the finale when it was only the middle. This went on for half an hour, with an ending that had so many fireworks, it was hard to see them all.