A military parade on the occasion of the holiday – Bastille Day-has begun in Paris.
By 10.00 (11.00), French President Emmanuel Macron arrived at the square near the Arc de Triomphe, where he was met by the head of the General Staff of the French armed Forces, General Francois Lecointre. The motorcade, accompanied by cavalry, will descend down the Champs-Elysees to the Place de la Concorde.
The parade is watched by numerous spectators.
Most of the streets adjacent to the Champs-Elysees are closed to traffic. Reinforced police squads are on duty.
People began to approach the main street of the French capital two hours before the start of the parade to take places with good visibility.
Law enforcement agencies carefully searched the bags and checked for a sanitary pass, which implies either vaccination or a fresh negative test for coronavirus. Because of this, a queue was formed, which, however, moved quite quickly.
“You know, it’s like at Disneyland, you have to stand in line,” the father replied to his son of 5 years old, who could not wait for the passage to the main avenue of Paris.
After the long-awaited passage, it turned out that the Champs-Elysees, whose length is about two kilometers – from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, are divided into sections with barriers, there is no way to move along the street together. This was an unpleasant surprise for those spectators who wanted to move closer to the stands.
“The restriction that did not exist before is that we are actually blocked and cannot freely go down to the Place de la Concorde. I would like to go down to see the entire pedestrian part of the parade,” French woman Anne-Helene, who came to the parade for the first time with two teenage children. “But it’s okay. At least there is no rain,” she added.
“I think this is such a symbolic and strong moment, that’s why we are here today,” her son added. He admitted that he is interested in aviation, so he is most attracted to the part of the parade with the flight of planes.
“I live not far from here. He often came to the parade with his children. And today I brought my grandson, who lives in Nantes. I wanted him to see with his own eyes the parade that takes place every year,” said a Parisian named Andre.
“We understand the reasons for the restrictions. But we hope that the situation will normalize soon,” he commented on the need to present a sanitary pass and wear a mask. According to the man, all the controls on the approach to the Champs-Elysees did not take much time.
Last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the parade was canceled, the solemn events were held on the Place de la Concorde in a truncated format without the public.
Bastille Day is celebrated in France on July 14. The Bastille is a fortress and state prison in the suburb Saint-Antoine in Paris, built in 1382. In the XIV-XVII centuries, the Bastille served as a fortification on the outskirts of the capital, served as a prison, mainly for political prisoners. It fell under the onslaught of the rebels on July 14, 1789. This day is considered the beginning of the Great French Revolution.