Jul 14, 200608:11 AMThe Life
Bastille Day/Poodle Parade
Jul 14, 2006 - 08:11 AMToday is Bastille Day, the French national holiday. It is simply called Fête nationale or quatorze juillet in France. This day commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. The Fête de la Fédération was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern French nation.
The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, formally known as Bastille Saint-Antoine, located at number 232 on the Rue Saint-Antoine. It became a prison where people were jailed by arbitrary decision of the King; most of the inmates were there for political crimes. On July 14, 1789, it contained only seven prisoners, but the attacking crowd was mostly interested in the weapons stored at the fort.
On July 15, 1789, a demolition crew was organized by flamboyant entrepreneur Pierre-François Palloy. He put great efforts into continuing the site as a paying attraction and producing a huge range of souvenirs, including much of the rubble. The actual demolition was largely completed by November of that year.
You could mark the holiday in one of our local French restaurants, or you might want to attend the French Festival this weekend in Santa Barbara. Their big draw seems to be a display of canine topiary in the Poodle Parade...