La Fête nationale

(Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)

La fête nationale (or Bastille Day in English) is an annual national holiday marking the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille on July 14th 1789. The Bastille was a prison in Paris which at the time housed political prisoners and an armory. Originally a medieval fortress, the Bastille came to represent the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy. Political prisoners were often held there under orders from the king with no chance of appeal. People were unhappy with King Louis XVI’s reign, which was dominated by food shortages and high taxes. People were so angry, there began to be outbreaks of violence and unrest.

On the 14th July, a mob captured the prison, releasing the seven prisoners and taking the weapons for their fight against the ancien régime (or the old regime). The French Revolution eventually led to the monarchy being overthrown and King Louis and his wife Queen Marie-Antoinette being executed. France became a Republic with a President and new parliament. The fall of the Bastille is considered to be the start of the French Revolution and July 14th became a national holiday in 1880.

Source: Wikipedia.

Watch this video for a summary of how and why the French Revolution got started. (Note: century is obviously not spelt centsury!)

Today’s task – after watching the video, (skim) read these two texts and create a summary of the French Revolution in English. What was it? When and where did the key events happen? Why did the Revolution take place? What were the key changes caused by the Revolution on France? This summary could be a poster, a podcast, a video, a Powerpoint/Prezi presentation or a fact file. You can share your work with your teacher and

So how is Bastille Day celebrated nowadays?

La fête nationale is celebrated with military parades, speeches and fireworks. The parade in Paris is the largest in Europe, with around 4,000 military personnel and police involved. There is a particularly spectacular fireworks show set off from the Eiffel Tower. It is a time of celebration with many parties and balls also taking place.

Epilepsy warning: there are fireworks and therefore flashing lights in this video.

Want to know more? Visit these sites:

BBC Bitesize French Revolution.

Les Blagues de la semaine

What did the bird planning a revolution say? Coup, coup! 🙂

Want to keep up with your French over the summer holidays?

Here’s some ideas for things that you could do at home to keep your French learning up-to-date ready for September:

  • Visit the AQA GCSE French section of BBC Bitesize. You can read about the grammar, complete the quizzes, watch the videos and have a go at some practice questions.
  • Read the news in French with the BBC French World Service.
  • Visit Seneca and practise the games and activities on GCSE French, GCSE French Misconceptions or another topic of your choosing.
  • Play the games if your academy subscribes to it (contact your teacher for the login details).
  • Practise your listening skills by playing Lyrics Training (start with Stromae or Louane)
  • Go back to this WordPress blog and learn the tongue twisters from the video off by heart.
  • Keep a diary in French (this is an excellent way to practise your past tenses).
  • Give a friend or family member French lessons (this is an excellent and easy way to really secure your own understanding of French).