Bastille Day 2018

Bonjour, mes amis!

Today (July 14th) marks the 229th anniversary of the storming of the eponymous prison-tower during the French Revolution, followed by the unity of the French people exactly a year after. Known as “la fête Nationale” in France, it’s celebrated throughout the country with the day off from work, along with partying and fireworks to last throughout the night.

I won’t get too much into the history and significance of Bastille Day, as I’ve already done so in my posts from previous years. Instead, I want to discuss how this particular holiday has influenced me and my interest in French, as well as how I’ve gotten to the point today living in France.

The first (and, so far, only) time I’ve celebrated Bastille Day was when I was studying abroad in Paris over the summer after my third year in university. It also happened to be the first time I was in Paris, and it was the massive celebration (along with the fantastic summer away from home) that it really touched me. It was my first time ever really being truly independent, miles away from the U.S., and I was always exploring and discovering something new every day that I was studying abroad.

Along with my summer abroad, Bastille Day showed me just how beautiful France was, despite at times being problematic. It showed how people of different backgrounds could put aside their differences and unite for one night under the Eiffel Tower, enjoying each other’s company and the brilliant lights that burst in the air. Interestingly enough, John Lennon’s “Imagine” played during the spectacle, which really shows the people’s desire to stand together and just be human.

I haven’t celebrated Bastille Day in France since then. Even though I moved to France the following year after graduation and have lived there ever since, I would always go back home in the summer, thereby missing it. This year is no exception, but all the same, I still acknowledge this important moment in French history. Despite having struggled and at times have a love-hate relationship with the country, I believe that France has really shaped who I am so far, and I have to thank the nation for it.

Here’s a video that I recorded of Bastille Day when I studied abroad in 2014. Enjoy, and vive la République!

P.S. I’m far from being a soccer/football fan, but I wish the best for the French team during the World Cup finals. Allez les bleus!

— The Finicky Cynic

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