July 14 Bastille Day Fireworks Paris; photo by Rob Johnstone from a special street; write to me to find out where
Events and Trade Shows,  Transportation

Planning for July 14 (14 Juillet) in Paris

July 14 Bastille Day Fireworks Paris; photo by Rob Johnstone from a special street; write to me to find out where
Photo credit: Robert Johnstone

When planning your fireworks visit, you can be in the Fan Zone of the Champ-de-Mars or the esplanade of Trocadéro to enjoy front row seats. The bridges offer a side view as we had on Pont d’Alma. On their webpage, the magazine, Vivre Paris, has a map showing alternatives for bridges, parks and rooftops.

Videos and slideshows
Relive parts of the event in a brief 2014 video on Le Parisien newspaper’s website. More video from the news portion of the French morning breakfast show, Telematin. Push the cursor to 3:07 to view the fireworks video. It’s the first time since 2002 that the “vieille dame de fer porte une robe de lumière” (literally: the old iron lady is wearing a dress of light).

We stood on the Pont d’Alma, and I never realized how many low and high spots there were on that bridge until trying to photograph. The tall men all seemed to be in my viewfinder! For future planning, the best places to stand are either the Champ de Mars or Trocadéro. The side view did not seem to bother the crowds at the end of Avenue Montaigne.

The crowds were massive! First estimates put the number of live viewers around the Eiffel Tower and vicinity for the 11 pm spectacle at 800,000. It is estimated that 2,8 million watched the display on France 2 television and about 2 million watched the concert on television setting viewing records.

Transportation quandaries
Imagine the logistics of moving this many people, which means that numerous metro stations were closed. And entering any nearby and open metro station was impossible due to press of flesh! Our quandary: How to get home to the Bastille from Pont d’Alma after circling around thinking Line 8 Invalides would be a good answer. Everyone else must have thought the same because Ecole Militaire was closed. We waited to enter the metro thinking it would lighten up. Just as the way seemed calm after half an hour, a new wave of spectators showed up from another viewing point.

No regular or night buses are running immediately after the event. The pedicabs were popular as were bikes, Velib and private. Walking was most popular. We were finally able to find a taxi near the Louvre. It took two and a half hours to return home. It was a beautiful night for a walk along the Seine! The Assemblée Nationale was lit up in red, white and blue.

I am tempted next year to listen and watch all the festivities in the comfort of the living room on television but I know I would fall asleep. Being in the middle of the action does tend to keep one awake from beginning to end. After watching the Paris.fr slide show though, it is a spectacle not to be missed “live” if at all possible!

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Schedule of events:
The annual Fireman’s Ball (Bals des pompiers) are held July 13 and July 14 in each arrondissement. Que faire à Paris has the complete list. Que faire à Paris is the Paris mayor’s event website.

Champs-Elysées is open for pedestrians and bikes between 2 and 6 pm on Monday.
Parade schedule . If you want to know more about what aircraft are flying overhead, download the program on July 11’s Direct Matin (page 13)

Concert program on July 14. The French National Orchestra and the Paris Choir will be performing. If you can’t be there for the live concert, the musical event will be available over the airwaves beginning at 9:30 pm on France 2 and France Musique.

The fireworks start after the concert about 11 pm. Often side streets with a view of the Eiffel Tower, provide a less crowded, extraordinary view. Rob Johnstone shot this 2013 photo.
The Paris Mayor’s website for a list of What’s open/What’s closed will be updated each year.

Metro station status for the parade between metro stations Concorde and Charles de Gaulle Etoile. Metros will run one and a half hours longer than usual until 2:15 am.

Station Concorde (Line 1, 8 and 12)
Station exits are closed between 7 am and noon; but correspondence is possible.

Station Champs-Elysées Clemenceau (Lines 1 and 13)
May or may not close depending on the traffic. The Direction de l’Ordre Public et la Circulation (DOPC) makes the decision.

Station Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile (Lines 1, 2, 6 and RER A)
Only accessible at the Avenue Carnot entrance between 8 am and noon.

Station Franklin D.Roosevelt (Lines 1 and 9)
At the exit Avenue Montaigne, both sides of the street entrance/exit are closed.

The entrance/exit both sides of the the Avenue Champs-Elysées will remain open. Correspondence between lines is assured.

Station George V (Line 1)
Escalator exits closed (120, Avenue des Champs-Elysées). Pedistrian traffic can still access both sides of the Champs-Elysées. The underground passage under will remain open

Station Tuileries
Closed from 8 am to about noon

Metro status for the fireworks and concert

Les stations et accès fermés :

Station Alma-Marceau (Line 9)
Completely closed beginning at 7 pm.

Station Iéna (Line 9)
Completely closed at the end of the fireworks approximately 11:30 pm.

Station Trocadéro (Lines 6 and 9)
Completely closed beginning at 7 pm.