A run-of-the-mill Bastille day begins with the military parade, followed by a concert and firework display at the Eiffel Tower, and Fireman’s Ball parties across town, but if being herded like cattle is not your tasse de thé, here’s how to do ‘Le quatorze juillet’ with chic Parisian elan…
Don’t: Défilé Militaire
Do: Lounge like a Parisian
Champs-Elysées will be packed tighter than Marie-Antoinette’s corset for this military marching tradition. Although the event itself fires off at 10am, keen beans pitch up the night before for frow views. We say avoid all that flag-waving nonsense, get your beauty winks and start your day like a true Parisian, settling into the discreet topiary-enveloped patio at iconic brasserie La Closerie des Lilas, with mule-kick espresso and a copy of Paris Match. Be warned: A-listers hiding in leafy nooks may cause whiplash.
Follow with a peaceful, civilised amble around the nearby Marie de' Medici-commissioned Jardin du Luxembourg to see what all this revolutionary fuss was about. Popular with the haute set, this formal garden and palace offers tyke-friendly playgrounds, sailboat ponds, puppet shows, pony rides and picnic areas.
The gardens and avenues surrounding Paris’ steel-corseted icon heave with tourists and out-of-towners vying for an eye on the bandstand and pyrotechnics. While the hordes are a non-non, the fireworks and general jubilant atmos are not to be missed. For an unfettered outlook and five-star banquet, sail away with Yachts de Paris, whose elegant flotilla ranges from floating resto Don Juan II (40 pax), helmed by chef Guy Krenzer, to the exclusive Cachemire (2-12 pax), complete with open fire, velvet banquettes, fine china and Baccarat crystalware.
Don’t: Fireman's Ball
Do: Shimmy till the small hours
After the fireworks have fizzled out, night owls swoop in for the Bals des Pompiers, a series of parties organised by local fire stations. If you’ve still got some pep in your step, we suggest you beeline for rooftop stunner Le Perchoir instead, loved by the young, pert and effortlessly hip for its thumping vibe and nighttime outlook across Sacré-Cœur. Or, kit to kill for David Lynch-designed boom-boom boite Silencio, where dancing kicks off after midnight with wriggle room for only a select 300. Vive la France!