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Jul 14 2021

France's Bastille Day

Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to France's national day. It is celebrated on July 14th each year.  In French, it is formally called Fête nationale ("National Celebration") and commonly and legally le 14 juillet ("the 14th of July").

The French National Day is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, a fortress-prison in Paris, on July 14, 1789, a major event of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération that celebrated the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790.

Meet Chief Petty Officer Joseph from the French Navy. We asked him a few questions about his country and about Bastille Day.

Read his answers below:



Chief Petty Officer Joseph

SHAPE Military Police

1. What do you miss most about home?

Well to be honest with you, I have this opportunity to live close to my country with my wife and my three children here in Mons. Belonging to the French Navy, I have left many good friends in Toulon, naval base in south East of France.

Nevertheless, I still have many friends in Paris and the vicinity. Therefore, the proximity of Mons allows me to see them often. And I have also managed to make new friends here in SHAPE.

2. What have you found rewarding about working in such a multinational environment as SHAPE?

It is great honour and pride to work with so many different nations and cultures. Every day, I have the privilege to be an ambassador for my country.

On a multicultural environment point of view, I have learned much more in SHAPE in a couple of months than in my all 20 years military career in the French Navy and after so many port visits conducted all over the world.

3. What is something unique about France that others might not know?

France is a big country and metropolitan France is the biggest territory in Western Europe. France has land borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Andorra.

However, its longest land border is with Brazil because of French Guiana, overseas territory, which is located on the Northeastern coast of South America.

4. During normal non COVID times how would you usually celebrate this national day?

Typically, I would celebrate the Bastille Day by participating in the local military parade in Toulon alongside with the national one, held on the same day.

The Bastille Day military parade passes down the Champs-Élysées in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, where the President of the French Republic, his government and foreign ambassadors to France stand. 

This is a very popular event in France, broadcast on French TV, and is the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe. Sometimes, invited detachments of foreign troops take part in the parade and foreign political leaders attend as guests. 

For 2021, TAKUBA Task Force will be part of the military parade. It is a European military Task Force led by France, composed of special and conventional forces from eight European countries (Belgium, Estonia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Sweden), which advises, assists and accompanies Malian Armed Forces in the fight against terrorism.

This huge military parade that gathers air, land and navy forces is unique in Europe. To make a confession, my military dream was born when I was a child watching this impressive military parade on TV!

See more on Bastille Day 2021 here.

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