The 14th of July is a huge national holiday in France, and in Paris this year’s festivities actually begin the night before with dance parties hosted, per tradition, by municipal fire stations across the city. The revelry is followed the next morning with a time-honored military parade down the Champs-Élysées and then a massive fireworks display above the Eiffel Tower.
But Bastille Day is by no means confined to France — le quatorze juillet has become a global celebration — and it seems the farther-flung the fête, the funkier its flavor.
It makes sense that London would have a sizable Bastille Day celebration, since there are as many as 400,000 French nationals living there — a larger French population, in fact, than that of some actual French cities like Strasbourg or Bordeaux. This year’s event centers around Borough Market in the Bankside neighborhood and includes a bilingual children’s story time, snail races (they’re very slow), “La Marseillaise” singalongs and pickup games of pétanque.