Bastille day

Why do the brits (ok most of them) call le Quatorze Juillet, Bastille day? The locals don’t, they call it Fete Nationale. So come on call it by its real name, Fete Nationale or en anglais National Day!

A French friend punned in English about this topic! I've never heard that before, in fact never thought learning the English pun tended to get through to anybody who is not raised with them. I was asking about the fête nationale, why not fête de la prise de la Bastille or words to that effect. His immediate answer was "That's a bit of a Bastille my friend", then he chuckled? I scraped myself back off the floor and went into a daze. He usually never uses English with me, I know it is good but never realised how good, but that floored me good and proper. He never did get round to any opinion or answer though!

Lovely lovely fireworks in Bergerac last night, Brézac did a fabulous job as always (v handy having a snazzy internationally famous fireworks company on the doorstep ;-) ) obviously it had to have a Tour de France theme this year, what with them coming though at the end of the month so the musical accompaniment was slightly weird - the best in recent years has been the rugby world cup themed one (I am a sucker for hymns).

No need, I am a Scot, therefore cynicism is allowed ;-)

Like your OH, I'm just very grateful of being given the excuse to shut the shop and take a day off! ;-)

OH Ok thanks Andrew, couldn't get any sense out of the french OH, he's just thankful for a day off! I must admit, with shame, that I havent looked into the meaning of any of the jours feries that deeply, so shallow I am.. but I must start to pay more attention. I don't usually "celebrate" 14th July because I am totally against cutting peoples heads off ;-)

Brian you said English onslaught, wash your mouth out;-))

It is to do with the storming of the Bastille, Rachael, and la fête nationale. This year it is also being used to celebrate the centenary of the 14-18 war but normally it's just la fête nationale celebrating la république, le pays, la nation... ;-)

For that, 954 people stormed the place that was guarded by 32 Swiss mercenaries, who Swiss history shows were mostly fugitive criminals, and 82 former soldiers (invalides). Not only did the 'mob' only pinch somewhere in the range of 29,000 to 32,000 muskets, there was no inventory - just guesses, and forget the balls and powder (they were not the 'new' percussion cap kind) but also the barrel of flints. 98 attackers and one defender died. Heroism was not even part of it, Governor de Launay ordered a cease fire, then when he was dragged away but kicked a pastry cook in the groin. For that he was stabbed to death, his head was cut off and put on a pike that was carried around the streets. The actual achievement was two madmen, four forgers and one aristocrat, the Comte de Solages all of who were elderly and annoyed by the disturbance had been freed. A more popular figure, namely the Marquis de Sade, had been moved to another prison over a week earlier.

Oh well, what does one expect in a history that regards the defeat at Waterloo as cheating by the Prussians whose light cavalry attacked in great force from woods on the flank, weakening the main force for the English onslaught. That the army that had been losing back ground from the previously conquered parts of Europe for several months might still have won the war... ahem, ahem. But then, don't all countries tend to have a couple of those?

I must admit I have gone around calling it Bastille day for the last 12 years, but to be honest until yesterday I thought it was only to do with "1789 when la Bastille was stormed" not realising apparently it is mostly connected to the first world war. I guess that is why the french don't use the term Bastille very much.


... and a huge great cauldron of boiling water in the fireplace, just in case ;-)

Bet you have a Bah Humbug hat for wearing at Christmas, Vic ;-))

Who cares what they call it! In my book it's just another unnecessary public holiday of which the French get far too many. I wanted to go widget shopping this morning & was thwarted by closed shops. Is it any wonder France is going to the dogs? Send all the workers back to do what they should be doing & let us retired folk get on with doing what we do best.

Blame Labour, Gordon Brown did it ;-)

Look, they wanted to remember scaring the pants off 32 Swiss mercenaries and 82 pensioned ex-soldiers in the massive victory to save seven prisoners, albeit two of them were round the twist. Now that strikes me as being more than reasonable. Why, we could even imagine a Monty Python sketch in its honour or an episode of Blackadder. Now what could be better?

Yes Graham but your website is in English so it will use Bastille Day. If the French had called it Fete de la prise de la Bastille then yes, Bastille Day,but it never has been called that,so why do we, as English speakers feel it necessary to call it that. The majority of Brits wouldn’t have a clue about the Bastille but have simply heard other Brits call it that. It would mean as much if they had called it Fete de Charlie et l’usine de chocolat.;-))

2 were not of sound mind and one was put in their by his parents "for his own good"

Yes, I agree with the points made but my question is still why do we call it Bastille Day when the French, and lets not forget, it is their day, have NEVER called it that. How would we feel if the French called our 5th November event, gunpowder plot day, in French of course! :slight_smile: It was not chosen as the national day until 1880 and perhaps more of a celebration of 14th July 1790 Fete de la Federation. Upto then there had been no celebration of 14th July at all.

Just found the following link;