Celebrations began this morning for Bastille Day, the French holiday that generates as much national pride for France as does the fourth of July for America. Commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris on July 14, 1789, which helped to spark the French Revolution, today, the holiday stands for the invaluable rights to justice and equity for all.
But unlike the usual holiday fetes, made especially feel-good by the dazzling Champs-Elysees parade, this morning in Paris, President Nicolas Sarkozy gave a somewhat controversial kick-off speech, spinning the focus toward Africa—with whom he encouraged recognition of the "blood tie" that France shares with the continent.
The president's procession included troops from 13 African nations, marking half a century of independence from France. Nevertheless, the traditional celebrations are soon to be upon France.
With the help of the Tour de France (read: 10 Picture Perfect Bike Tours) riding through their roads, a more jubilant celebration is expected to commence at dawn, when throngs of Parisians will gather for fireworks over Trocad©ro.
Plan your own celebration with WomansDay.com's delicious crop of French-inspired recipes (read: ).