What am I celebrating on tattoo Tuesday?July 14, 2015
La Fête nationale de la belle France – le quatorze juillet!
Americans have The 4th of July; the French have Bastille Day. On July 14, 1789, an outraged group of Parisians stormed the Bastille, a fortress and prison in France where prisoners of influence were held, in hopes of capturing ammunition.
Shortly thereafter, King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette took refuge in Versailles as the violent peasants pillaged and burned châteaux, and destroyed records of feudal dues—this reaction is known as the grande peur (great fear).
For the peasant class, the Bastille stood as a symbol of the hypocrisy and corruption of the aristocratic government – controlled mostly by nobility and clergy. This important event marked the entry of the popular class into the French Revolution.
The French recognize Bastille Day as the end of the monarchy and beginning of the modern republic. The lasting significance of the event was in its recognition that power could be held by ordinary citizens, not in the king or in God.