A short video of Bastille Day in Capestang!
July 14th is the biggest national holiday in France and it celebrates the beginning of the revolution.
More commonly the holiday is called La Fête Nationale or Le Quatorze Juillet by the locals.
In 1789, July 14th is the day that the people of France took absolute power away from Louis the 16th by storming the Bastille prison which started the French revolution. It marks the end of total power to the regime and eventually made way for the first republic in 1792.
A monumental time in French history, today the people gather to watch fireworks and listen to local bands. In Capestang, the children start the event by receiving free lanterns with candles inside from the town hall or Marie. The children led a procession around our village that ended by the Canal du Midi Bridge in front of our tourist office by our port.
The fireworks started at 10:00pm after the sun went down. It was a spectacular display for such a small town and draws tourists from all over the region, keeping the cafes and restaurants busy until the wee hours of the morning.
Children run through the streets with firecrackers and the police are at hand in case an issue arises. I love the way the French let the kids play, probably remembering running down the same streets when they were children.
The band played cover tunes and French traditional music. The members changed outfits a number of times and different singers took centre stage to entertain the crowd below the stage. The packed dance floor was a sea of smiling faces.
Children danced in front, leaning against the stage to get a good look at the musicians. Mothers stayed off to the side looking at their children from a distance, allowing them the freedom to interact. Little babies still in diapers up to the preteens swayed to the music.
The square, set up with tables and chairs from one end to the other were filled with many familiar locals and strangers alike. Some watched as others braved the dance floor. You could hear conversation along the sidelines in many different languages.
We sat with our guests from Germany only to cut the evening short from being tired from camping the night before. We stumbled home and hit the bed hard, and slept into the late morning hours.
Bastille festival in Capestang is worth the drive or ride to participate. What a lively bunch!