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Missing Paris on Bastille Day? Click here

July 14, 2011|By Chris Erskine | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Thursday at 2 p.m. Pacific time, the French will celebrate Bastille Day with fireworks. Follow it by website.
Thursday at 2 p.m. Pacific time, the French will celebrate Bastille Day… (Reuters )

Thursday is Bastille Day, an explosion of parades, public events, parties and, well, explosions, in honor of French culture. Like Independence Day in America, the celebration ends with the skies full of fireworks.

But you don’t need to be at the Eiffel Tower to celebrate the day. The Paris fireworks, which will take place at 2 p.m. Pacific time, can be viewed from this French website. Check it out. A digital clock on the homepage is counting down the minutes until the big event.

This time of year means late sunsets in Paris, where the fireworks won’t take place until 11 p.m. local time.

Bastille Day is one of the biggest national holidays in France. Banks and businesses are closed, and there are events throughout the day, including a parade down the Champs-Elysées.

Historically, the events mark the date in 1789 that a mob stormed the Bastille, the French prison, in response to the harsh policies of the Bourbon monarchy. That day became a trigger point in the French Revolution.

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