Tis the season for picnics in the park, sipping apéritifs at sidewalk cafés, and let’s not forget, the festivities for le 14 Juillet. The city’s firefighters kick things off with les Bals de Pompiers (“firemen’s balls”) on the evening of July 13th, as the Parisian fire stations open their doors to much dancing and merriment. The following day, La Fête Nationale is a celebratory affair with a parade down the Champs-Elysées and a spectacular air show in the skies above.

When night falls, the famous fireworks show takes place over the Eiffel Tower. This year’s theme is “War and Peace” as it commemorates the 100th anniversary of World War I, and the pyrotechnic show will pay homage to the victims of the Great War as it illuminates the Eiffel Tower in scenes evocative of the conflict, the reconciliation, and the reconstruction.

The free concert at the foot of the Eiffel Tower is expected to draw half a million spectators. The Orchestre National de France and the Choeur et la Maîtrise de Radio France will perform music by Berlioz, Bizet, Puccini, John Williams, and Verdi, amongst others.

The fireworks will begin at 11 pm. For the best viewing, the place to be is the top of the Tour Montparnasse or the Trocadéro, for an elevated perch overlooking the Eiffel Tower, though a picnic on the Champ-de-Mars also promises to be memorable (if you can snag a spot!). The celebrated fireworks show is a whopping 35 minutes long. For more information, visit


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Mary Winston Nicklin
Based in Paris, Nicklin is the Web Editor of France Today. She is also the Editor of Bonjour Paris, the site's sister publication. As a freelance journalist, she has contributed to publications like The Washington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, CNN Travel, Vinepair, Travel Agent Magazine, and Luxury Travel Advisor.