La Fête Nationale
Once a year, in celebration of Bastille Day, Carcassonne hosts the most spectacular fireworks display, considered by many to be the best in France.
The walls of the Cité are lit up in an explosive extravaganza that draws people from all over the world. Since 1898, the medieval city of Carcassonne has been the setting for this spectacular event, which takes place on the evening of 14 July. More than 400,000 people come together at 10:30 pm on the banks of the River Aude to admire the multi-coloured display which lights up the ramparts of the medieval walled city and the breath-taking and explosive finale.
Arguably the biggest display outside Paris, the setting is certainly unrivalled for breath-taking spectacle. The fireworks are released from the ramparts of La Cité, culminating in a stunning display, in which the whole city seems to be blazing from end to end. A fitting salute to a city which has seen more than its fair share of trial and tribulation.
The Bastille Day pyrotechnics were inaugurated in Carcassonne in 1998 and now attracts many spectators so if you want a good view get there early, very early. If you have a car be there at least three hours beforehand, and park up in one of the many laybys which overlook the city. Do as the French do - take a picnic and make a night of it. You will be in for a memorable experience.
Bastille Day is the common name given to the French National Day, which is celebrated on the same day every year. In France, it is formally called “La Fête Nationale”. The day itself is a commemoration of the storming of the Bastille in Paris on 14 July 1789, a significant event that occurred as part of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the people on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France however there is nowhere better to celebrate this event than in Carcassonne.