Monday, July 13, 2009

Bastille Day – Le 14 Juillet (tomorrow!)

image On 14 July, France will celebrate its national holiday in commemoration of the storming of the Bastille prison, which took place in 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

Whilst the Americans have 4 July, the French have 14 July or, as it is more commonly known, Bastille Day.

The French recognise Bastille Day as the end of the monarchy and beginning of the modern of the republic. The real meaning being that it was now recognised that the power could be held by the common people and no longer, by the aristocracy or monarchy.

In 1789 a group of angry Parisians stormed a prison called the Bastille marking the start of the French revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th's Ancient Regime. France faced a major financial crisis, triggered by the cost of intervening in the American War of Independence and exacerbated by an unequal system of taxation. Although the Bastille only held seven prisoners at the time of its capture, the storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty and the fight against oppression for all French citizens; like the Tricolore flag, it symbolized the Republic's three ideals: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity for all French citizens. It marked the end of absolute monarchy, the birth of the sovereign Nation, and, eventually, the creation of the (First) Republic, in 1792.

I am sure many of you will have read Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities? Remember, Madame De Farge and her knitting as she sat in court? ‘Off with their heads’ became a regular call whenever another member of the upper classes was brought in to answer for their misdeeds and misgoverning of the masses.

The national emblem/flag of France is the Tricolore which came into being at the time of the French revolution. This striking flag made up of red, white and blue stripes came to signify what the French had fought so hard for, liberté, égalité, fraternité meaning liberty, equality and fraternity or brotherhood.

Have a look at some of the following examples of French influenced pieces or items that are red, white and blue which I thought fitted this subject matter!


French Lavender Oil Landscape by Fauve Studio

This is a wonderful impressionistic view of the French countryside, idyllic!


Mystic Revolution Eye Candy - handmade soap by In A Lather

How patriotically French looking and suitable for le 14 Juillet!


Red, White and Blue Heart Pin by Artsy Clay

This tricolore heart is equally at home in America as it is in France!


Red, White and Blue Business Card Holder by Designs by Christine

Could the Revolutionaries have used this to be more businesslike?


Red, White and Blue buttons by Circle in the Sand

Madame De Farge could well have used some of these surely?


Violet Sees the Eiffel Tower by Coffee Pot People

The Eiffel Tower is as French as Big Ben is British!


Emerald Fleur de Lis earrings by Magdalene Jewels

So pretty and soooo chic and French!

And so, my BBEST friends, we raise a glass or two in honour of our French comrades to commemorate their French Revolution, Bastille Day….


Vive La France!


Sixsisters said...

Love French history Pat. Thanks for a great blog !

Attack of the Vintage said...

Thanks Pat for the French history lesson and bringing it to our attention. Great items to go with it too!

blazingneedles said...

And now I am better informed about French history! Thanks, Pat.

Fused Glass said...

Great post Pat! I didn't know any of what you explained...guess I was sleeping in class when we covered that....and thanks for including my work in this great blog!

Kary said...

excellent!! What great info ... & items! Thx for sharing them Pat!

Chauncey said...

Happy Bastile Day!! A terrific post PQ. I shall eat a Stouffer's
s French Bread Pizza in celebration.

ZudaGay said...

Thank you for a most interesting post, Pat!

Beth Anderson said...

Great finds and nothing says France like a Fleur de Lis!

joon said...

What a perfect post, Pat and such fun! I love the coordinating items you found. What a treat!

MagdaleneJewels said...

Merci Pat!
Beau trésor dans la mémoire du jour de bastille. Quels choix parfaits pour représenter notre honorer du Français. Merci également d'inclure mon Fleur de Lis Earrings !

Judy Nolan said...

Thanks for the history lesson about Bastille Day--very interesting!

Pam said...

Thanks for sharing the history of Bastille Day and expanding our knowledge of France and its revolution for liberty. The items you chose to feature in their reds, whites, and blues, are beautiful. Well done!