Even though it's the capital, Paris isn't the only place in France where one can celebrate Bastille Day
. As the most important public holiday in France, it's safe to say that one can celebrate it no matter where they are in the country. But certain regions, namely Île-de-France, Grand Est, Normandy, Hauts-de-France, and Provence prove to be a bit more worthy compared to the rest. After all, these places uphold French heritage unlike any other. Not to mention preserve its culture and history too. If you want to get to know more about France outside of Paris on Bastille Day, these are the places you need to check out!
Let's start with the obvious: Île-de-France. In the region where Paris resides, it's only natural that this place is also suitable for celebrating Bastille Day. If you're not into watching the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, you can always go on a day trip from Paris
to other parts of the province. Including the Palace of Versailles! After Paris, there's arguably no better place to commemorate Bastille Day than the former French royal court. Having preserved its opulence even after the French Revolution, the historic site stands as a reminder of France's past and what the French fervently fought against.
Even though Bastille Day is mostly related to the French Revolution, don't forget that it also serves as the Independence Day of France. It's a day to show pride in French heritage, history, and culture. So many places on this list are those that have made an impact on the country as a whole. Not the least of which is Normandy
. Beyond its Medieval castles and Impressionist art, this region is most known for D-Day, the largest invasion force in human history. It turned the tide of World War II, eventually becoming one of the many events that led to the Allies' Victory and liberation of France from German occupation.
Known for its picturesque villages of the French countryside
, Grand Est is another region steeped in French history, heritage, and culture. Since it's less international than Paris, you get a good sense of what the country's culture is all about in the many charming towns of this province. From the slow-paced lifestyle in Alsace to the sparkling wines of Champagne, a lot of what the rest of the world has fallen in love with France for can be found here. It's also worth noting that Strasbourg, located in Grand Est, is considered a “European Capital” since it's one of the four cities that house the seat of power of the EU.
In many ways, Centre-Val-de-Loire is the birthplace of the French Renaissance. You can see it in the grand architecture of the many châteaux
here, not the least of which is the iconic Châteaux of the Loire Valley. Looking like it came straight out of a Disney film
, it's become one it of the most important symbols of the French Renaissance. And though you may think that this doesn't have anything to do with Bastille Day, think again! The châteaux of this region, as well as the wine they produce too, all pertain to French art and excellence.
Located at the northernmost edge of the country, Hauts-de-France offers another peek into French history. One that's worth delving deeper into in celebration of Bastille Day. But what separates this region from all the others on this list? For one thing, there are the Belfries of Belgium and France. This group of 56 historical buildings is unique to this region as it's the main area that borders the two countries. And these structures, which are mostly churches, also symbolize the eventual separation between church and state in France. You'd do well to check them out in real life!
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, famously the home of the French Alps
, shows another side of French culture that's often overlooked. While the place's history barely has any relation to the French Revolution, it's still worth getting into in celebration of Bastille Day. Why? Because the alpine culture of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is one that you won't see anywhere else. You might think it's similar to the Swiss Alps and the like, but they're not. From its humble traditions to its unique cuisine, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is another part of the French heritage that's worth highlighting on the national holiday.
Finally, there's Provence. For this particular region, let's focus more on the “holiday” aspect of Bastille Day. Though it's one day in the French calendar when people can take pride in their own heritage, history, and culture, it's still also a holiday. A day where you don't have to go to school or work. And what better place to spend that holiday than on the French Riviera
? Don't get it twisted! This province has its own history to show off and culture to share, but at the end of the day, isn't there no better place to simply sit back and relax than this Mediterranean paradise?
It's natural to want to celebrate Bastille Day in Paris but it's important to remember that the holiday is commemorated all over the country. There are other French destinations where you can celebrate French culture and heritage just as much!