The Bastille Day Fireworks Show on the 14th of July is a grand event that must not be missed during the French National Day celebrations (Bastille Day / La Fête Nationale) in Paris, France! After all, when the clock strikes 11 in the evening, splashes of bright colors would erupt from the foot of the picturesque Eiffel Tower and the charming gardens of Trocadéro for about 35 minutes — a seemly way of commemorating the start of the country’s French Revolution back in 1789.
Of course, a lot of other cities and towns all across France also hold a Bastille Day Fireworks Show, but I believe that it is in Paris where you should first see such a display!
All in all, given the significance of this event as well as the festivities that surround it today, a lot of French people and even non-French folks alike join this annual affair in Paris… and by ‘a lot’, I mean a LOT. So, if you want to catch the Bastille Day Fireworks, you have to be prepared for braving the crowds.
The best spot to watch would be Champ de Mars; however, everyone eyes that spot every year like a hawk! Rest assured, there are other places and spots all over Paris that you can go over in order to catch the best view of the Bastille Day Fireworks.
First off, let’s start with the best one, which is naturally…
Best Spots to Watch Bastille Day Fireworks in Paris
» Champ de Mars
(FREE) As a large public greenspace smacked right in front of the Eiffel Tower, this is the perfect spot to watch the Bastille Day Fireworks as they set it all off from behind the tower somewhere near Trocadéro.
Besides, this is also where you can watch the live concert of the Orchestre National de France and the Choir of Radio France which usually starts at 9PM, and then afterwards, hear them loud and clear as they play the French national song Le Marseillaise during the fireworks show.
It helps to note though that people start reserving their picnic spot here as early as 5PM, so it’s best that you either go here early or take turns with your friends to keep guarding your ‘territory’.
Nearby metro: Champ de Mars / Tour Eiffel on line RER C, Ecole Militaire on Line 8, or Bir-Hakeim on Line 6.
» Any cruise along the Seine river
($$) The next best thing you can do — especially if budget isn’t an issue for you — is to book a river boat cruise that goes along the Seine river. A lot of the providers there set a special dinner and tour for this day which spans for a few hours. They will glide along the Seine and then they will stop at a close distance from the Eiffel Tower when it’s time for the Bastille Day Fireworks Show, thereby giving you a prime view.
» Montparnasse Tower
This is a tall office tower that’s close to the Eiffel and it offers a great panoramic view that’s perfect for viewing the Bastille Day Fireworks.
($) Unfortunately, the viewing deck here is usually closed before the start of the fireworks display. If in case it does open in some years, you will have to fight with the crowd apart from paying an entrance fee (I thik around 13 EUR).
($$$) That’s why if you’re willing to pay a bit more while enjoying a nice dinner, you can book a table by the window at Ciel de Paris that’s located on the 56th floor of the tower (best to reserve weeks or even months in advance!)
Nearby metro: Paris Montparnasse on Line 6.
» A terrace restaurant
Same principle as with Montparnasse, it’s best that you book your spot way in advance to secure your spot.
» Boulevard Pasteur
(FREE) I read somewhere online about how someone found a nice spot over at the corner of Boulevard Vaugirard and Boulevard Pasteur in Montparnasse neighbourhood. Apparently, it’s a street that goes a bit downhill, so it gives a pretty good view of the Eiffel Tower during the Bastille Day Fireworks no matter what part of the street you ended up standing on.
Over the years though, it’s not so much of a ‘secret spot’ anymore so there will be people — BUT, probably not as much as the other areas (yet). That being said, go and give it a try!
Nearby metro: Pasteur on Line 6.
» The balcony of your Parisian friend’s house or your hotel
(FREE) If you’ve got a pal living in Paris and who has an apartment with a good view of the Eiffel Tower, then this makes it all easier of course! But if you don’t know anyone there, maybe try Couchsurfing to see if there are any hosts who are nearby that are willing to take you in?
($$ – $$$) Otherwise, if you’re going to book your own accommodation, consider these hotels that have really good rooftop views: Hotel Terrass, Hotel Plaza Atheene Paris, Hotel Raphael, and Shangri-La Paris Hotel.
» One of the bridges crossing the River Seine
(FREE) If you can’t be on Champ de Mars nor on a river cruise, then the next best thing you can do is save a spot in one of the nearby bridges that crosses over the River Seine.
These would be: Pont Alexandre III, Pont des Arts, Pont de la Concorde, Bir Hakeim, Alma, Grenelle, and Pont de l’Alma.
During Bastille Day last 2016, I went to Pont de l’Alma and even if it was not facing the official front of the tower like that of the view in Champ de Mars, it provided me nonetheless with such a great ‘side’ view (as seen in the photo above) and I can also perfectly hear the music played by the orchestra.
(FREE) This will be very near the Eiffel Tower — however, you will have a view of the wrong side since this is the area where the fireworks will be set off. This means that you won’t clearly see the tower itself and the whole art of the fireworks display since you’ll be seeing it from “behind” and not from the front.
Nearby metro: Trocadéro on Line 9.
» Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur Basilica
(FREE) Montmartre will give you great panoramic views of Paris from afar. HOWEVER, take heed of the word ‘afar’ in my sentence because even if you get a good spot here in Montmartre, the Eiffel Tower and the fireworks display will be very small in your vision.
Additionally, you won’t hear much of the accompanying music, so make this as a last resort if in case you can’t go to any of the former places that I’ve mentioned.
Nearby metro: Anvers on Line 2.
» Parc de Belleville
(FREE) This park is located on the hill of Belleville so it is also a great vantage point for overlooking the whole of Paris. BUT much like Montmartre, this is very far from the Eiffel Tower so take note of this fact.
Nearby metro: Couronnes on Line 2.
» A last alternative…
There’s a different kind of joy to be experienced when you watch the Bastille Day Fireworks up close along with the crowd or with your friends and family. However, if you really couldn’t make it on time to the show due to traffic or whatnot, there’s always the option of just watching it on television!
The fireworks display is but only one of the many great ways to celebrate the French National Day. If you want to learn more about Bastille Day and see the other things that you can do during this special day, come check out my article below:
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I am Aileen Adalid. At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to travel the world. Today, I am a digital nomad (entrepreneur & travel writer) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.
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